A Living Wage
Credit: Better Work, ILO/ IFC.


In the fast fashion industry


The Fast Fashion Industry

Fast fashion generates vast revenues, with recent sums of USD 3 trillion being quoted, using a business model that turns around enormous quantities of cheap clothing produced with very short lead times by globally-sourced cheap labour.

It depends on mass consumption at low prices: “pile it high, sell it cheap”. In short, fashion as a disposable product.

Multinational fast fashion companies are able to quickly move their production to countries with lower wages. The risk of losing this investment acts as a disincentive for countries to improve their labour laws and provide fair minimum wage rules. The result is labour protection is kept to a minimum and essential rights to freedom of association are not guaranteed. In some countries women make up 80% of garment workers.

The Fundamental Right to a Living Wage

The Lawyers Circle, in partnership with TrustLaw and the Clean Clothes Campaign, launched a report at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit on Thursday May 11th 2017. The report sets out the legal argument that a living wage is a fundamental human right, and that companies and governments have a responsibility to uphold this right. It has been developed with the assistance of lawyers based in fourteen countries where large-scale retailers source garment production, including India, Bangladesh, Turkey and Mexico. It examines the relevant labour laws and regulations in these countries, as well as their implementation and control mechanisms.

Read the full report here: Fashion Focus – The Fundamental Right to a Living Wage
You can also use the link below:

Since then, we’ve continued working to progress a new legal framework for a living wage to ultimately ensure that workers in the garment industry – who are predominantly women – receive a living wage. In February 2018 we took our first report to the European parliament where it was debated. We have also been working on a second report to make a proposal for a new legislation framework to stop the “race to the bottom” and ensure a living wage.

Read the full report here: Fashion Focus: Towards a Legal Framework for a Living Wage , or you can also use the link below:

We launched this report at The Circle’s Living Wage Symposium on Friday 8 November Where we were joined by panellists from the legal, investment, corporate and NGO sectors as well as academics and policy makers.

We are incredibly proud of the collaborative effort that goes into our publications and welcome any third party to use our research and findings to inform and progress their own work in protecting human rights. However, as a huge amount of resource have gone into this research, we kindly ask those who do use our findings to appropriately reference and acknowledge our organisation. For any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Be part of the change

You can be part of the change by donating to this project and helping create a “race to the top” to protect the right of millions of workers to receive a living wage. Every contribution will make a difference. To donate, click on the button below. Thank you.


Global Goals

The Circle strives to support projects that are working towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Global Goal 5, Gender Equality.

The Lawyers Circle’s work targets Goal 5’s Target 5.C, to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.