The young Frida Ottesen is one of the teenagers, who had been sent to Cambodia to take a documentary about Fast Fashion and sweatshops. On 21st of January she held a speech at Green and Ethical Showroom Berlin about her personal experiences and the serial „Sweatshop“.
the garment workers are used to that kind of conditions
In first action she wanted to take back the sentence the teens often used in the documentary, which basically said „the garment workers are used to that kind of conditions“. To correct the questionable statement, Frida stated, that no one should ever have to get used to such horrible treatment. Frida and the two other teenagers, who went along with her, to have this shocking view behind the curtains of fast fashion industry, used the expression as a justification, she said, while pointing out, that you should never justify injustice.
never justify injustice
Then Frida Ottesen kept on talking about her experience in Cambodia, where she visited a small production site. She had to work for eight ours straight in a day, only to receive 3 Dollars of payment. To draw a strong picture, of how little money that actually is, she even told the audience, that she couldn’t afford to buy herself some tampons with that little money.
She talked deeply touched about the bad conditions for the garment workers in Cambodia, which include no insurance, long working hours, no food or drinks during working times, often no contracts or the right to be in an union and so on. She said that a garment worker is literally kept „like a slave“.
As a beginning of a positive change, she passionately requested the big brands like H&M and Primark, but also the luxurious brands to take over responsibility and treat their workers better and fair. She said, that she couldn’t take that rich brands and wealthy people take advantage of the poorest people and exploit them to make millions for their own assets.
But also the consumer could do something to improve the situation. As a fundamental problem Frida questioned shopping as a hobby and further on requested everyone to ask the shops and stores to give informations about their products.
How are the garments produced? Where do they come from?
Instead of going to Primark or H&M she suggested mending, recycling, swapping or buying ethical and fair trade fashion.