Human Rights in the Fashion Industry: Discovering the Origins of Exploitation Along the Supply Chain, Megan Simmons

In an effort to add awareness to critical issues surrounding the importance of sustainable solutions in the fashion industry, this study examines a growing concern impacting the social aspect of sustainability. Through examining human rights abuses within the industry, the question of ‘Where along the supply chain are these exploitations originating from?’ can bring additional answers needed to provide assessments on how to tackle and solve the prevalence of human rights abuses in the fashion industry.

Through a review and analysis of current research regarding exploitations throughout the supply chain, as well as defining the status of mitigation among brands at their corporate level, a study was set up in the form of surveys and interviews to gain knowledge of the occurrence of exploitations among employees that work directly with brands. This was done to examine potential root causes of exploitations originating in multinational brands by showing that a significant level of exploitation is happening at the very top of the industry and spreading from there.

Research findings indicate that due to demands communicated by top executives of multinational brands, exploitations have an origin within corporate headquarters and are also exacerbated as those demands move through the supply chain. In comparing and analyzing the results of the research collected, there is a congruence of exploitative behavior at various points of the supply chain, stemming from business demands. These findings provide us with the opportunity to better understand that the existence of human rights abuse is pervasive throughout the entire industry, and solutions can and should be implemented at the brand level to initiate change.

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