This month we’ve been working on some programming that explores the often complicated relationship between fashion and protest. We’ve got an exciting new pop-up exhibition in the foyer and The Left Bank cafe bar from Labour Behind the Label called Made in Cambodia and you can sample life as a garment worker at their Race for a Living Wage: educational exploitation for all the family! event this Sunday. The exhibition details the lives of Cambodian garment workers producing sportswear goods in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics. The photography exhibition follows one day in the lives of a group of women garment workers who work in the Shen Zhou garment factory in Phnom Penh, making products for Adidas’s 2012 Olympics range. Their stories speak of poverty pay, excessive working hours, job insecurity and lack of union rights. Many work 11 hour days and survive on a basic wage of £39 a month, forced to share small rooms in factory-owned apartment blocks. The photos are taken by Will Baxter.
I was given the protest clothing ticket by a friend during the summer of 2012. She was distributing these to ask people to get involved in a protest against the poor wages paid to people involved in making adidas goods in other countries.
Adidas was one company receiving a lot of coverage for the Olympics that summer. The protest involved putting the protest tickets in stores that sold adidas goods. I really liked how the protest was a simple idea, but also quite effective in raising awareness of the issue with people who may be buying adidas goods. I keep this pinned by my desk to remind me of the creative and inventive ways that people can protest and how methods of protest can comes in many different forms.