Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Devel wears Primark

Thanks to John Barlow for sending an advance preview of this programme, which is due to be broadcast on Sunday on Channel 4.

Channel 4 Sunday 1 June 2008 9pm

Sales of cheap High Street fashion are booming, but is there a terrible price to be paid for £2 t-shirts and £8 dresses?

Presenter and former fashion model Alexa Chung sets out to uncover what conditions are really like in some of the Indian factories that supply the UK’s leading budget clothes retailer, Primark.

And to find out what life is really like for those making our bargain clothes, Alexa sets up her own fashion ‘sweat shop’ in London’s West End staffed by 15 volunteer members of the public, all budget fashion-lovers.

Using undercover filming, and talking to current and former factory workers, The Devil Wears Primark discovers a number of breaches of Primark’s own ethical Code of Conduct at some of its Indian suppliers and their sub-contractors, including unsafe and unhygienic conditions, workers forced to work overtime for no pay, verbal abuse and even possible child labour.

The investigation questions Primark’s claims to enforce their own code. And in the UK, the programme shows that staff are giving customers inaccurate information about the provenance of Primark clothes and conditions in factories supplying the retailer.

Conditions in Alexa’s fashion ‘sweatshop’ are based on those uncovered in India; in uncomfortably hot and humid conditions, the volunteers work up to 70 hours each in five days, earning on average only 15p per hour.

But after their experiences, how will the budget fashion-lovers feel about buying bargain clothes on the High Street?

Looks like Year 10 pupils should set their videos for this one.

If you haven't already done so, have a go at the TEACHER INVADERS game.

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