KO ENTERPRISES: ROAD MAP TO A LIVING WAGE
H&M is one of America’s most popular fast fashion brands with hundreds of stores located all over the country. In proximity to the Craft in America Research Center, the Beverly Center is home to one such store. In this urban fashion geography Frau Fiber challenged H&M to provide evidence to back up it’s “fair living wage.” H&M claims, “It has always been our vision that all textile workers should be able to live on their wage. We are focusing on our strategic suppliers to start with. Our goal is that all of them should have improved pay structures for fair living wages in place by 2018. This will affect around 850,000 textile workers.”
However, Frau’s sources say the reality on the ground looks more like indentured service, with workers living on three dollars a day, which isn’t enough to cover rent and food. Frau Fiber wants H&M to show proof of shifts towards providing garment workers with living wages. To performatively draw attention to this, Frau knocked off garments from H&M’s 2015 Conscious Exclusion Collection. At the Craft in America Research Center she produced seven knock-off garments in five hours, using a hand crank sewing machine, with the intention to encourage viewers to consider H&M’s working practices and stop making purchases until the company manifests their “fair living wages” statement.