New book reveals shocking modern slavery in fashion chains

Cover of Slave to Fashion by Safia Minney

Slave to Fashion, a new book by ethical business pioneer Safia Minney, has been released, revealing the seriously shocking levels of modern slavery in today's fashion supply chain.

Released to coincide with Fashion Revolution Week, Slave to Fashion (£13.99, New Internationalist) was crowdfunded via Kickstarter last year. It brings together interviews with the very people – men, women and children – in developing countries who make the clothes that end up in our high street fashion stores.

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Speaking to Clearly at the launch of Po-Zu's Star Wars collection last month, Safia Minney, now the footwear brand's managing director, explained that slavery and human trafficking still very much exist – despite 2015's Modern Slavery Act requiring medium and companies to report how they're tackling it.

"We've taken the brands out [of the book], but the sad truth is that most of mainstream fashion is using one form of modern slavery or another, whether it's sexual harassment, or child labour, or women that have been forced through human trafficking," she said.

Those people who appear in the book – including a girl who was working at a cotton mill at the age of twelve – had their names changed and photos blanked out to avoid further suffering.

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"All of the workers are incredibly vulnerable," says Minney. "Now social media means that they can be blacklisted; they couldn't get a job if they were featured in a book like this."

However, Slave to Fashion looks for ways to break the chain and profiles best practice of those within the industry who are producing stylish, affordable fashion without slavery.

"It's a shocking, disgusting situation, but how can we be part of the solution?" said the author.

The book was launched on April 24th at an event in London with guests including fashion commentators and activists Livia Firth and Caryn Franklin.

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