Ajder Spotlights Working Conditions of Garment Workers in Europe

May 11, 2016

Corina Ajder (MPA '16) recently travelled to Austria and Germany to speak about the situation of garment workers in Eastern Europe producing for western fashion brands. As a researcher for the Dutch NGO Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), she met with workers at over 15 factories in Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine to find out about their working conditions over the past three years.

Ajder was a keynote discussant on a panel entitled "Talking about a Fashion Revolution" at the TAKE Festival in Vienna in April. The discussion, which was organized by the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and the Austrian Fashion Association, highlighted the many problems facing the global garment industry. Co-panelist Shamsad Hasine, who teaches fashion in Bangladesh, spoke about efforts in his country to improve working conditions in the industry three years after the Rana Plaza collapse. Although garment production in Asia deservedly receives a lot of attention, one-third of the garments on the western market are made in Europe by workers who work in poor and often unsafe conditions. Many European workers producing for western fashion brands struggle to make ends meet due to poverty-level wages and a high workload. Ajder spoke about these and other findings that she has uncovered in her work for the CCC, and encouraged consumers to support garment workers demanding better wages.

Ajder also gave a talk on the same topic at Paderborn University in Germany before an audience of fashion design students, and to audiences in Witten, Dortmund, and Halle Westfallen. Ajder was joined at Halle Westfallen by CCC's Global East coordinator Bettina Musiolek.