Across much of Asia, Europe, and the US, Covid-19 has brought shopping for anything but necessities practically to a standstill. Among the industries most at risk is clothing. Fashion retailers have shut stores as part of social-distancing measures and watched sales plunge as home-bound shoppers pause spending on non-essential items.
The impact is rippling through fashion’s supply chain, putting at risk the livelihoods of garment workers, who are already some of the most vulnerable workers in the global economy.
To keep costs down, mass-market fashion companies do much of their manufacturing in low-wage countries across Southeast Asia, on the peripheries of Europe, and in locations such as Ethiopia. The pay can be barely enough for workers and their families to survive on, providing just the thinnest of protections from poverty.