Why do we wear clean clothes

"Clean clothes" or "Who actually sews my clothes?"

Being beautiful, attractive and in fashion has a lot to do with clothing these days. Those who wear the right thing at the right moment enjoy social recognition. And since there are many occasions, we need clothes en masse: we need something different for the office than for on the go, something different for the evening than for the morning. Free time alone makes various demands on our clothes, we constantly change, we are constantly washing and constantly buying clothes. Our wardrobes are overflowing, thank God Caritas manages a bloodletting once a year. We need and own more clothes than any generation before us. And we're doing that at the expense of the rest of the world.

Because even if we buy expensive, so-called branded clothing, these items of clothing - with a few exceptions - come from sewing factories in poor countries around the world. There women and children sew together everything we wrap ourselves in for starvation wages and under sometimes unimaginable conditions.

With a Europe-wide campaign, women's associations and Catholic action groups are trying to point out these abuses, create publicity and use this public to put pressure on the multinational companies.

In South Tyrol, the Catholic women's movement supports the Clean Clothes campaign in cooperation with the OEW.

So that the multinational companies do not have to adhere to any laws, they have created a back door together with the rulers of the states concerned, who draw their personal profits from the business: the so-called free trade zones. In these there is de facto lawlessness, a lawlessness that can be used unscrupulously by companies to increase their profits. "The girls and young women in the sewing factories are at the mercy of their employers," says Dr. Christine Baumgartner, the South Tyrolean coordinator of the "Clean clothes" campaign.

The wages women get for their work bears no relation to what we end consumers pay for clothing.

Things will only change in the factories once the Western public becomes aware. Clean Clothes Germany reports the following about the Adidas factory in Hermosa / San Salvador:

“Despite some successes that the Clean Clothes Campaign, supported by thousands of consumers, was able to achieve in negotiations with Adidas, there are still massive labor law violations. For example, there is a de facto trade union ban in the Salvadoran factory Hermosa, which produces for Adidas. Union sympathizers have been fired and workers who previously worked in a factory where there was a company union are not allowed to be hired on the instructions of the HR manager - so that they do not bring these ideas to Hermosa. "

You can support the concerns of women by contacting Adidas and asking the company to ensure that workers are free to organize themselves without fear of reprisals (see www.oneworld.at).

After more than ten years of work, the activists of the "Clean Clothes" campaign are slowly starting to achieve success at other companies as well. In addition to Adidas, large companies such as Calida, Nike, Levis, or Triumph are slowly reacting to consumer pressure.
The "Clean Clothes" campaign of the Catholic women's movement is also looking for female supporters in South Tyrol. The South Tyrolean merchants are to be sensitized with a postcard campaign. Information material and postcards are available from the office of the Catholic women's movement in Bozen, Südtirolerstraße 28, Tel. 0471/972397, homepage www.kfb.it, and from the OEW in Bressanone. Lectures and information evenings on the topic are also offered on request.

The website at: www.oneworld.at provides detailed information on projects, current campaigns, dates, materials, etc.