How Covid-19 has changed the fashion industry

The good news is that a significant number of companies assessed in the Report could demonstrate that they had taken at least some deliberate positive actions to support vulnerable garment workers through the global pandemic.   

“More than 80 per cent of New Zealand companies could provide some evidence of upholding the Covid Fashion Commitments and more than 50 per cent were in the top tier of companies,” says Annie Newton-Jones, Tearfund’s Corporate Advocacy Specialist. New Zealand brands in the top tier were AS Colour, Freeset, Hallensteins and Glassons, Icebreaker, Kathmandu and Macpac.

Tearfund Corporate Advocacy Specialist, Annie Newton-Jones

Claire Gray, Tearfund’s Education and Advocacy Manager sees Covid-19 as a moment of reckoning for the fashion industry.  

“The pandemic and the disruption it has brought is a chance for the global fashion system to hit the reset button and be encouraged to build back better. The fashion industry was broken long before Covid-19 and garment workers were paying the price.”    

Now the industry has the chance to address the problems to improve wages and conditions and reduce the impacts on the environment caused by the global fashion system, says Claire.   

“Our research this year suggests this change is already happening, which is encouraging, but there is much work still to do.”  

Tearfund Education and Advocacy Manager, Claire Gray

Becoming a mindful shopper  

So, what can consumers do to help protect the people behind the clothes during these unprecedented times? It starts with becoming more mindful of our shopping habits and their impact on people and the planet.   

Most of us don’t give much thought to the faces of the people behind our purchases but getting to know the brands we love and how they treat their garment workers can lead to better choices. Tearfund’s Brand Fast Finder allows you to search for your favourite brands and discover how they compare to other brands in looking after the workers in their supply chains.  

If you want to learn how to shop more ethically, this year’s special edition, The Covid Fashion Guide, is a great place to start. It empowers consumers to become conscious ethical fashion consumers without having to know a brand’s grade. It contains stories, tips and ideas to help consumers take their next steps toward being more thoughtful and intentional shoppers. 


To learn more about Tearfund, visit their website and join their communities on Facebook and Instagram.

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