Doha fashion Fridays: migrant workers show off their style – a photo essay

Blue boilersuits symbolise their low-wage jobs, but an Instagram account celebrates the culture and individuality of Qatar’s workers in their leisure time

Every day Bisho Sahani would start his work shift at 5am, constructing roads for hours in Qatar’s ferocious summer heat. And every night when he returned to his labour camp, he would get out his phone and make TikTok videos for his 60,000 followers.

Most of his videos are songs and poems about love, romance and the trials of life, but among them are stories of the hardships he faced in Qatar. “I wanted to show that foreign land is the land of trouble … Nepal is always better for us,” says Sahani, who is now back in his home country.

Images from Bisho Sahani’s TikTok account, where he posts videos about his life in Qatar. Photos: Bisho Sahani

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Myanmar model who criticised junta says Canada has granted her asylum

Thaw Nandar Aung, AKA Han Lay, feared being sent home after she was stopped at Thai border last week

A Myanmar fashion model who was denied entry to Thailand and feared arrest by the military government in Yangon if she was forced back home from exile has flown to Canada, which she says has granted her asylum.

Thaw Nandar Aung, also known as Han Lay, left on a flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport early on Wednesday, according to Archayon Kraithong, a deputy commissioner of Thailand’s Immigration Bureau. He said he was not authorised to reveal her destination.

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From Suva runways to the pages of Vogue: the rising star of Fiji’s fledgling fashion scene

Laisiasa Raibevu Davetawalu, who designs under the label Elaradi, carries the hope of his local fashion community, which fundraised to send him to design school in Australia

The hopes of Fiji’s fledgling fashion industry sit on the slim shoulders of a 25-year-old from Muaninuku Village named Laisiasa Raibevu Davetawalu.

The young designer has done what so many in the Pacific country have dreamed of but not had the opportunity to do.

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Hanae Mori, renowned Japanese fashion designer, dies at 96

Nicknamed ‘Madame Butterfly’, Mori was the first Japanese designer to make it in the world of French haute couture

Hanae Mori, the Japanese fashion designer who broke into the world of French haute couture almost half a century ago, has died aged 96, her office said on Thursday.

Mori, who earned the nickname “Madame Butterfly” for her signature motif, was regarded as a symbol of Japan’s growing status as a modern, fashionable nation, and as a pioneer for the country’s women.

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Pakistani garment workers left destitute and starving after Missguided collapse

Fashion retailer’s suppliers in Pakistan have sacked hundreds without pay, as invoices for completed orders remain unpaid

Hundreds of garment workers in Pakistan making clothing for collapsed fast fashion brand Missguided say they have been left destitute and starving after not receiving salaries for more than four months.

The workers, who typically earn between £100 and £160 a month, say that despite not being paid they have continued working even as the Manchester-based retailer went into administration, with suppliers claiming the company owes them millions of pounds for clothing already completed and shipped.

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‘To survive, I must appear fearless’: the former nun helping India’s garment workers fight sexual violence

Sexual harassment and assault are rife in the factories that supply some of the world’s leading fashion brands. In Tamil Nadu, union leader Thiyva Rakini is trying to change that

Many years ago, when Thivya Rakini was working as a domestic violence activist helping women to escape abusive husbands across the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, she took a pair of scissors and cut her long black hair back to the nape of her neck.

“Without my hair, I suddenly looked very frightening to a lot of people who couldn’t believe a woman would cut away her femininity like that,” she says. “I was sending a signal that that those men shouldn’t try to mess with me. Inside, I am really a very tender-hearted person but to survive I have learned that I must appear fearless.”

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‘Fashion has no age’: the stylish senior citizens of Seoul

Kim Dong-hyun spends his days documenting the city’s vibrant senior street style to provide a new perspective on ageing

Pots and pans, piles of shirts and shoes, jewellery-laden tables, and boxes brimming with bric-a-brac. In the tangle of streets near exit 3 of Seoul’s Dongmyo station, hundreds of vendors sell everything from old Instamatic cameras to books, bags and vinyl records.

Located in the South Korean capital’s historic district of Dongdaemun, Dongmyo’s bustling flea market is scattered around a shrine built in honour of an ancient Chinese military commander. But there is more to the neighbourhood than bargains, vintage clothes, and retro treasures. It also serves as a cultural hub for the city’s senior citizens to shop, socialise and show off their unique style.

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Xinjiang cotton found in Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss tops, researchers say

Traces in shirts and T-shirts appear to contradict German firms’ promises to revise supply chains

Researchers say they have found traces of Xinjiang cotton in shirts and T-shirts made by Adidas, Puma and Hugo Boss, appearing to contradict the German clothing companies’ promises to revise their supply chains after allegations of widespread forced labour in the Chinese region.

Recent reports have suggested more than half a million people from minority ethnic groups such as the Uyghurs have been coerced into picking cotton in Xinjiang, which provides more than 80% of China’s and a fifth of the global production of cotton.

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How south Asia’s bridal industry built a WhatsApp empire

Diaspora families typically travel to the region each year for wedding shopping. But the pandemic has changed everything

Once a year, between December and February, brides-to-be and their families from all over the the US and Europe flock to India and Pakistan to escape the cold, wintry weather, visit family and, perhaps most importantly, shop for wedding outfits.

Designers and retailers prepare for the influx of non-residential Indians, or NRIs, by setting up sales, pop-up events or previews of their upcoming lines of lehenga cholis, anarkali and saris.

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H&M pledges to end shopfloor sexual violence in India after worker killed

Landmark agreement to protect garment workers from violence follows last year’s murder of Jeyasre Kathiravel, a Dalit woman

H&M has signed a legally binding agreement with one of its largest Indian clothing suppliers that pledges to end sexual violence and harassment against women on the factory floor after the murder of a young garment worker by her supervisor last year.

In January 2021, Jeyasre Kathiravel, a 20-year-old Dalit woman, was found dead on farmland near her family home after finishing a shift at Natchi Apparel, a factory making clothes for H&M in Kaithian Kottai, Tamil Nadu.

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Indian supplier to UK fashion brands agrees to pay £3m in unpaid wages

Shahi Exports, which makes clothes for the UK high street, has agreed to pay staff minimum wage and arrears

India’s largest garment company has paid out an estimated £3m in unpaid wages to tens of thousands of workers, after two years of refusing to pay the legal minimum wage.

Last month Shahi Exports, which supplies dozens of international brands, agreed to pay nine months of back pay to about 80,000 workers, with further payments expected in the coming months that will increase the total paid back to workers to £7m.

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‘Worst fashion wage theft’: workers go hungry as Indian suppliers to top UK brands refuse to pay minimum wage

Shortfall of 16p a day leaves children living on just rice as suppliers to Nike, Zara and H&M in Karnataka underpay by estimated £41m

Garment workers making clothes for international brands in Karnataka, a major clothing production hub in India, say their children are going hungry as factories refuse to pay the legal minimum wage in what is claimed to be the biggest wage theft to ever hit the fashion industry.

More than 400,000 garment workers in Karnataka have not been paid the state’s legal minimum wage since April 2020, according to an international labour rights organisation that monitors working conditions in factories.

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New Chanel chief could signal end of ‘colonialist approach’ to fashion

Leena Nair joins brand from Unilever where she was first Asian, first female and youngest HR chief

The announcement of Chanel’s new chief executive this week marks a departure for the French luxury brand, one that is being praised as a landmark for diversity within the industry.

Leena Nair makes moves from being the global head of human resources at the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever, where she had worked for 30 years, to taking the reins at the 112-year-old fashion house founded by Coco Chanel.

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Workers return to Bangladesh’s garment factories despite record Covid deaths

Hundreds of thousands flock to cities as government allows manufacturers to reopen, with exporters citing fears Western brands would divert orders

Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers have returned to major cities, besieging train and bus stations after the government said export factories could reopen despite the deadly coronavirus wave.

Authorities had ordered factories, offices, transport and shops to close from 23 July to 5 August and confined people to their homes for a week, as coronavirus infections and deaths hit record levels.

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Top fashion brands face legal challenge over garment workers’ rights in Asia

Pan-Asian labour rights group launches groundbreaking attempt to hold global labels accountable for alleged rights violations during pandemic

Legal complaints are being filed against some of the world’s largest fashion brands in major garment-producing countries across Asia in a groundbreaking attempt to hold the global fashion industry legally accountable for human rights violations in the countries where their clothing is made.

The Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA), a pan-Asian labour rights group, says it is using legal challenges to argue that global clothing brands should be considered joint employers, along with their suppliers, under national laws and be held accountable for alleged wage violations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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