Khmer-American Artist Sews Dollar Bills Outside NYC H&M in Protest

by , 01/27/14   filed under: Eco-Fashion News, Worker Rights


Two and two-thirds—the same amount of money a Cambodian garment worker makes in a day—is the sum that gave Eng’s “Less Than Three” campaign its name. Designed to personalize the plight of Cambodian workers, Eng’s performance was a message to the “consumer culture” that revels in purchasing cheap clothing.

Eng wants to remind people that behind every stitch is a “hand, a face, a person.”

“[Less Than Three] is not a campaign for pity or charity,” Eng explains on her website. “It is an act of solidarity with the women who labor under the boot of multinational corporations and their collapsing industrial machines, women who literally create immense value with their own callused hands yet remain in poverty.”

Eng wants to remind people that behind every stitch is a “hand, a face, a person.”

“I am not here to list the names of every corporation engaged in exploitation in Cambodia—though I will,” she says. “I am here to meet you, the consumer, and to be consumed by you and to rest in the pit of your stomach. To be explicit, to haunt you while you shop.”

Although H&M is just one of many apparel firms that source their clothing from Cambodia, it has faced scrutiny over its so-called “poverty pay” and complicity in a recent spate of mass faintings occurring across factories in the region.

Perhaps in response to the criticism, the Swedish retailer pledged in November to deliver a “living wage” to more than 850,000 textile workers, including those in Cambodia, by 2018.

Update: Jan. 5, 2015
One year later, Eng has produced a video honoring the five striking Cambodian workers who died from military-police gunfire on Jan. 3, 2014.

+ Less Than Three

+ Kat Eng

[Via The Atlantic]

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One Response to “Khmer-American Artist Sews Dollar Bills Outside NYC H&M in Protest”

  1. aleks says:

    Very often working for a private company is a modern day slavery. I think it’s OK to work for someone else’s company when you’re young and you want to learn something but then it’s time to move on. My advice for them is to quit, set up their own company and sell on the Internet first.

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