Labour Behind the Label has released its 5th edition of The Let's Clean up Fashion 2011: The state of pay behind the UK high street. I remember reading the 1st edition (some years ago now) when I was studying for my BA Fashion degee. The report opened my eyes to the workings of the fashion industry and triggered something in me to research more.
The report focuses on the living wage and grades many UK fashion retailers from 0-5m for example 0=does not accept the principle of living wage and 5=sustained implementation of an effective living wage policy across entire supply base.
It's safe to say that no retailers researched for this study achieved a grade 5. M&S, Monsoon Accessorize and Next lead with a grade of 3.5, while reatailers such as French Connection, Gap, H&M and Levis Straus staddle behind with a grade 1. The most shocking results of the study are the reatilers graded 0: Hobbs, Paul Smith, Reiss and White Stuff all of which cover a higher price point within the market. However the flaw within this grading is obvious when looking at the Data collected for these retailers; all except one (I will let you read to discover who) states that the retailer 'did not respond to our request for information and makes no information available on their website'. I do not think this is sufficient evidence to tar these companies with a grade 0, but the argument for this could be they must be hiding something. However, hiding something does not mean they have to be hiding something bad. What do you think?