“We love to listen to our customers and for this reason we would be delighted to hear from you if you would like a bespoke fair trade product made especially for you.”

Six Items Challenge 2021 with Sabeena Ahmed and Labour Behind The Label

Six Items Challenge 2021 with Sabeena Ahmed and Labour Behind The Label

 

SIX ITEMS CHALLENGE 2021

WITH LABOUR BEHIND THE LABEL

I'd like to begin this blog with love and gratitude for my beloved mother

Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano who returned to her maker April 2016.

Mum encouraged me to participate in the Six Items Challenge 2012 when she was first diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Miss you Mum! 

IN MEMORIAM

Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano - Fairtrade advocate and Labour Behind The Label supporter

 My beloved mother Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano who encouraged me to participate in my very first Six Items Challenge 2012

Thank you for your unconditional love, compassion and kindness.

You taught me to live my life with dignity, honesty and compassion.

Miss you always! X

 

SIX ITEMS CHALLENGE 2020 & 21 GALLERY

 Six Items Challenge 21 with Sabeena Ahmed and Labour Behind The Label

Sabeena at the beach supporting the Six Items Challenge 2021

with Labour Behind The Label, London, UK

Items 1&2 printed cotton dress and black trousers

 

Six Items Challenge 21 with Sabeena Ahmed and Labour Behind The Label, International Women's Day 21 Poster #WomenOfFairTrade #ChooseToChallenge
 Sabeena supporting International Women's Day 21
#WomenOfFairTrade
#ChooseToChallenge 

 

 Sabeena Ahmed supporting the Six Items Challenge 2020 with Labour Behind The Label, Dubai, UAE
Sabeena on the beach near Burj Al Arab

 

 Six Items Challenge 2020 - black traditional style Pakistani dress with gold pattern purchased by my late mother

Black cotton traditional Pakistani dress purchased by my late mother

(item no 3)

 

Six Items Challenge 2020 and Labour Behind The Label with Sabeena Ahmed

My items of clothing 

 

Six Items challenge 2020 and Labour Behind The Label with Sabeena Ahmed

 Clothes for the fashion fast

 

Sabeena Ahmed - Six Items Challenge 20 (a six week fashion fast for garment workers) with Labour Behind The Label

 

SIX ITEMS CHALLENGE 2021

WITH LABOUR BEHIND THE LABEL

INTRODUCTION

Hello and Assalaam Alaikum (peace and blessings) everyone,

Thanks for dropping by.
 

So here I am for the ninth consecutive year participating in the Six Items Challenge with Labour Behind The Label.

This year the challenge commences 17th February - 31st March 2021. 

I have decided to participate and support the Six Items Challenge for the ninth year because I started to campaign for garment and factory workers while caring for my mother who had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

The six items challenge means I choose six items of clothing to wear for six weeks.

Don't worry!

This does not include under garments or exercise gear. You can wear an endless supply of these. :)

This year I hope to up-cycle some of the clothes my mother purchased for me before she passed away.

It is a long term ambition to design a fairtrade slow fashion collection in memory of my beautiful mother Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano and support fair trade certified cotton farmers, sustainable and ethical producers.

My beloved mother was a great advocate for women's empowerment and education.

I believe she would have been happy and proud of me to continue my campaigning for the millions of countless individuals producing clothes and accessories in factories and workshops around the world.

Hopefully by the end of the Six Week Challenge I would have educated a few people and raised a few pounds/dirhams.

 

WHAT IS FAST FASHION?

Fast fashion is a term the fashion industry uses to entice consumers to purchase new trends, products and accessories every six to eight weeks. Some collections can be produced within a 12 day time frame.

Most of the products are cheap, poor quality and mass produced by workers in factories, work shops around the world.

Workers are paid low salaries, endure long hours and work in poor conditions to support their families.

Fair and Sustainable Textiles - Clothing Factory Workers Salary in Bangladesh 86 Euros a living wage would be at least 282 Euros.

Many are as young as 14 are the only bread winners and often forfeit the chance of a decent education and future

Many factories use hazardous chemicals to dye their fabrics and this water is discharged into rivers and the sea polluting eco systems and depleting fish stocks.

I hope to record vlogs in English and Urdu to raise awareness about garment workers over the next coming weeks.

Best regards to all the Six Items Challenge participants.

Love and regards
Sabeena X

 

WEEK ONE - Introduction to the Six Items Challenge 2021 (English)

 

 

WEEK TWO - The Six Items Challenge 2021 and What is Fast Fashion? (Urdu) 

 

WEEK THREE - The Six Items Challenge items of clothing in English

 

 

WEEK FOUR - Labour Behind The Label's Campaign (English)

 
We were under lockdown or lock in as I prefer to call it during the last two weeks of the fashion fast.

 

As the Corona Virus (Covid 19) pandemic spread around the world and we all stayed indoors for safety and support for key workers.

 

 

WEEK FIVE - Labour Behind The Labour Campaign (Urdu)



 

WEEK SIX -  Thank You! (English) TBA

 

Covid-19: Call on brands to step up and protect the people who make their clothes during the pandemic

#PAYWOURWORKERS #RESPECTYOURWORKERS

 Six Items Challenge 2021 with Sabeena Ahmed and Labour Behind The Label Campaign Pay Your Workers

Labour Behind The Label are calling on big brands to protect all workers in the supply chains and #PayYourWorkers.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO?

Tell brands: It’s time to #PayYourWorkers

The 35 million people around the world who sew our clothes make some of the lowest wages in the world.

10% of the apparel workforce may have already been laid off since the start of the pandemic. Millions more are at risk of being fired and have not received their full wages for months. The vast majority of these workers are women, in jobs with no respect for their labour rights, leading to a massive imbalance of power in the industry. Many report skipping meals, borrowing money to buy food, and struggling to afford vegetables or meat for their families as the pandemic’s economic crisis rages on.

Please sign the petition, share widely and tell the NIKE, NEXT and AMAZON  to #PayYourWorkers!

 

https://labourbehindthelabel.org/next-nike-and-amazon-pay-your-workers/

Brands and retailers must respect labour rights and pay their workers. We are calling on brands and retailers to:

  • Pay the workers who make their clothes their full wages for the duration of the pandemic;

  • Make sure workers are never again left penniless if their factory goes bankrupt, by signing onto a negotiated severance guarantee fund; and

  • Protect workers’ right to organise and bargain collectively.

 

Want to do more...

1. Write to Next

Writing a letter to your local store manager will let them know that you care. Labour Behind The Label have provided a template and some guidelines below– but don’t be afraid to personalise it!

Don’t forget to share a photograph of your letter on social media, tagging @Nextofficial and using the hashtag #PayYourWorkers. 

 

Write to Next:

Penning a letter to your local store manager will show them that their customers care. We have included a template letter to Next below, although we encourage you to make it as personalised as possible. After you have written it you can pop it in the post. Or you can call into your local store and stick the letter up on the window so that staff and passers-by can see it. Let us know how you get on and if you get a response!

 

Top tips:

  1.     Make it personal and heartfelt: If the manager/ staff team know that it is coming directly from one of their customers/ someone who lives in their community, they will be more likely to read it. 
  2.     Include facts and information: Including facts about Next’s profits or how the pandemic has impacted garment worker communities will add weight to your letter. 
  3.     Take a photo of the letter and share it on social media, tagging Next and using the hashtag #PayYourWorkers. This will help the message to amplify the campaign and reach Next online.  

 

Dear Next Team/ Store Manager, 

It has been nearly a year since the Covid-19 pandemic threw the garment industry into chaos. As a local resident/ loya customer, I am writing to urge your company to #PayYourWorkers. 

I am sure that you already know that Next was one of the major fashion brands that cancelled orders in production in March 2020. Collectively brands turned their backs on the workers who make their clothes, through cancelling orders, delaying payments and imposing huge discounts. This has had a disastrous impact on garment worker communities, who were already only just surviving on minimal salaries. 

Although many brands, including Next have since reinstated their orders, workers are still facing underpaid wages and job loss. Clean Clothes Campaign estimates that garment workers are owed up to $5.8 billion in unpaid wages from the first three months of the pandemic alone. This is causing a humanitarian crisis. A recent report from Workers Rights Consortium found that 77 percent of workers reported that they or a member of their household had gone hungry since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Even after the lockdowns this year, Next is expecting profits to return to near pre-pandemic levels in the coming year.  Central guidance issued by Next forecasts pre-tax profit of £670 million for the year ending January 2022.  That profit is generated by the goods made by workers like those who are currently facing hunger and destitution. 

I am asking Next to do the following: 

  •       Pay the workers who make their clothes their full wages for the duration of the pandemic;
  •       Make sure workers are never again left penniless if their factory goes bankrupt, by signing onto a negotiated severance guarantee fund; and
  •       Protect workers’ right to unionise and collective bargain.

You can find out more by visiting www.payyourworkers.org

I look forward to hearing your response. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Name

(If you want Next to respond, include your contact details on the copy that you send in- but don’t share any personal details on social media)

 

2. Join the phone action

Phone the Next call centre on the 17th March and try to enlist workers as allies and advocates of the #PayYourWorkers campaign. The Labour Behind The Label team have provided some talking points and guidelines below. 

Let Labour Behind The Label know how you get on!

 

Call-in Action

Call the Next helpline on 0333 777 8000, and try to enlist Next’s staff members as allies and advocates for the campaign. 

Be polite to staff: Actions are designed to support workers producing for the company. Helpline staff are workers too and are not responsible for the company’s actions. 

Be helpful: Offer information about the current situation in the garment industry and how Next can take action to provide a better safety net for workers. The more information the helpline staff have, the better chance there is that they will advocate for change from the inside. 

 

Suggested talking points

Introductions:

  • Hello, I am concerned about how garment workers have been treated during the pandemic and I’m calling to find out about what action Next is taking to ensure that garment workers are paid and protected throughout the pandemic and beyond. 
  • Hello, I am calling to talk about the Pay Your Workers campaign.  The Pay Your workers campaign is calling on brands like Next to ensure that their workers are paid throughout the pandemic and to contribute to a severance guarantee fund to ensure that garment workers never go penniless again. Will Next be signing on to a negotiated severance guarantee fund to make sure that garment workers are protected if their factory/ brand gets into financial trouble in the future? 
  • Hi there, I am a Next customer and I am very concerned about how Next is treating the garment workers in its supply chain during the pandemic.

 

Talking points about the campaign: 

  • Brands have collectively paid garment workers poverty wages for decades, leaving them no buffer to plan or save for emergencies. That’s why brands need to collectively step up and be part of the solution. 
  • Did you know that garment workers are owed between $3.2 - 5.8 billion USD in unpaid wages from the first three months of the pandemic alone? Why should they have to shoulder the brunt of the pandemic? 
  • It is not Covid-19 that has pushed garment workers beneath the poverty line, it is the behaviour of big brands,who cancelled orders at the beginning of the pandemic, demanded discounted goods or delayed payments. 
  • Big brands like Next, have made profit for decades from the labour of poorly paid garment workers in their supply chain. Now, brands are balancing their books throughout the pandemic and turning the other way, as workers in their supply chain are losing their jobs or going without wages.

 

Asking for action:

  • I would like to hear more about what Next will be doing to make sure that garment workers are paid throughout the pandemic, and that they are never again left in such a vulnerable position. Could you please ask someone to reply in writing to me about this? 
  • I would like to know that my concerns about the garment workers in Next’s supply chain have been recorded, and that Next will be taking this seriously. Could you confirm that this conversation has been noted, and will be escalated to the appropriate department? 
  • I would like to know that this problem is being properly addressed within Next. Could you please raise this in your next team meeting/ with your manager? I am not the only Next customer who is concerned about this issue. 

 

Closing:

  • Thank you very much for your time today. I appreciate you listening to my concerns. 
  • Thank you very much for your time today. We are standing in solidarity with all the workers in Next’s supply chain and that includes workers like you, who are working throughout the pandemic. 

 

3. Take to social media

Take to social media and let @Nextofficial know that you want them to commit to paying the workers in their supply chain, using the hashtag #PayYourWorkers.

Get creative and post a selfie of yourself holding a protest sign, or write a poem. Let’s get the pressure on Next to pay their workers. 

Source and Credit Labour Behind The Label

 

Feeling Inspired, participate in

the Six Items Challenge 2022

If you feel inspired, sign up and take the challenge with me next year. 

 

 Helen Barlow Scott (One Line Studio) and Sabeena Ahmed (The Little Fair Trade Shop) during fairtrade fortnight 2017 Dubai UAE
Helen Barlow Scott and Sabeena Ahmed

 

WHEN YOU'RE OUT AND ABOUT BEING ETHICAL IS SO EASY
video here

 

With the help of my creative director Helen we've created a little reminder of how easy it is to support fairtrade producers and be ethical at the same time.

 

We hope you will find it useful.
WHEN YOU'RE OUT AND ABOUT BEING ETHICAL IS SO EASY POSTER - The Little Fair Trade Shop
 
TOP 10 TIPS TO FAIR TRADE AND ETHICAL SHOPPING

 

1. Seek Fairtrade, organic, slave free and eco friendly labels.

 

 2. Support socially conscious brands.

 

3. Buy only what you love and be selective
and ask 'Who made my clothes?'
'Do I really need to buy it?'

 

4. Do your research if you can't see where the product is made the company does not want to know.

 

5. Think beyond the end result where did the sourcing happen and what is product made of?

 

6. Reduce waste by avoiding disposable products.

 

7. Shop locally and support independent designers and boutiques.

 

8. Shop vintage and upcycled for truly unique products.

 

9. Speak up - ask designers and shops where their products are made.

 

10. Make it yourself and impress your friends with your new found skills.

 

HAPPY SHOPPING, SEWING AND CRAFTING! :)

 

More Questions we all need to ask ourselves...

 

Think twice when out and about conducting that much needed retail therapy.
Do you really need that skirt, blouse, dress, shoes, bags?

 

Could you purchase an ethical alternative that supports artisans, doesn't exploit animals and protects the environment?

 

IF the answers are yes than find out where the shops are in your local area.
Do you have a creative streak?
Why not upcycle that old blouse, dress or jacket you just can't throw away. Take up sewing or enrol on a fashion design course at your local college maybe even invite a friend or two.

 

Alternatively, if like me you like a good bargain, how about walking down to your local charity shop, visit your local car boot sale or donate your clothing to organisations who support millions without adequate clothing.

 

A recent survey indicated that American consumers throw away 68 pounds of clothing in their lifetime. Clothes and accessories that take years to decompose in landfills.

 

Why not host ''The True Cost'' a documentary showcasing fast fashion and the treatment of garment workers around the world and organise a clothes swap.

 

Why wait?
Start today...inspire others and be an ethical conscious consumer, support garment workers, fairtrade and ethical producers receive a decent living wage and good working conditions.

 

Thank you for reading and Congratulations to the Sixer's who participated in the Six Items Challenge 2021.

 

I look forward to participating in the challenge next year health prevailing.
Love and regards
Sabeena

 

Further Reading and Links

 Tell Next To Respect Garment Workers

Labour Behind The Label

Clean Clothes Campaign

  
Six Items Challenge 2019

 

Six Items Challenge 2018

 

Six Items Challenge 2017

 

Six Items Challenge 2016

 

Six Items Challenge 2012 - 2015

 

Blogging With A Purpose - Cause A Chatter

 





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