Consumers want to pay more for their clothes?

clothesWhen times are hard most of us have been looking at ways to cut costs to keep pace with falling real incomes. Environmentally-motivated costs are often first to go- it’s harder being green when you’re in the red. However, a new survey by You Gov for the See Through Fashion campaign found that 74% of people would willingly spend more on their clothes.

The survey comes off the back of a new campaign challenging some of the UK’s largest clothes retailers to commit to ensuring workers’ safety and conditions in Bangladesh. A factory collapse in April, which killed over 1000 workers, resulted in a new Fire and Safety Accord to protect workers' safety going forwards. Most UK  clothing retailers have signed up, but some are still refusing.

But they may need to think again. Most (78%) survey respondents said they thought UK companies were not transparent about conditions of factories in their supply chain and 76% think companies should be transparent. With almost three quarters of people saying they would willingly pay 5% more for clothing for a guarantee on fair pay and safe working conditions, do clothing companies need to start taking notice of our collective conscience?

Recent revelations about tax avoidance have resulting in some groups boycotting the likes of Amazon as consumer protest. You can be sure that Starbucks' offer to pay additional tax only came about because of the sharp drop in consumer approval, and the resulting hit on shareholders’ profits. Having said that, consumers are a fickle bunch, and it would be interesting to see how many people are still boycotting Starbucks, now the scandal has blown over. Still if the profits of River Island, Matalan, Peacocks and, ironic champion of (UK) workers, Sports Direct take a tumble, perhaps we’ll know why.

Alternatively you now know where to go to buy cheap clothes. Unless you are River Island in which case there’s no excuse.

If you are so inclined, you can email the CEOs of the four companies, or tweet about their unethical practice, here.


  • Celebrity S.
    This isn`t just an overseas problem as there are also many people in this country who are working for a lot less than the official minimum wage, who should they email or tweet? Also, it`s all well and good saying people are willing to pay 5% more for their clothing, but in reality we all know that any price increase would most likely not be handed to those people doing the work but will instead go into the coffers of the clothes companies themselves.
  • jokester
    @ Celebrity Stalker "there are also many people in this country who are working for a lot less than the official minimum wage" - Do you mean illegal workers who don't pay tax or national insurance???
  • Darthblingbling
    OK so people are prepared to pay more? I wouldn't, I'd want a fairer share of the current profits to go these sweatshops if that's where my overpriced garment came from.
  • A M.
    [...] transparent fashion for consumers, decent pay and safety for workers. They heard our voices, and spread the message that 78% of us don’t think clothes retailers are transparent enough, that 76% of us think they [...]
  • Celebrity S.
    @jokester - We all know that there are people here who work for less than the legal minimum wage , so in answer to your question the answer has to be yes they would be classed as illegal workers . The point i was trying to make is that there are employers here , just as there are abroad who are more than willing to exploit workers ....illegal or not make a profit.
  • jokester
    @ Celebrity Stalker Do you actually have sympathy for these criminals that illegally come into our country? Let's face it, England is one of the easiest places in the world to get into so they either haven't bothered trying, or were refused entry for a very good reason. They have absolutely no right to be here so they should consider themselves lucky not to have been kicked back home already! Plus, once you have factored in the fact that these people don't pay tax or NI, their wage won't actually be much less than minimum wage. They will also pay a very low amount of council tax, if any.

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