A gritty new exhibit promises to peel back the unvarnished reality behind one of the world’s most glamorous industries. Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, which runs till September 15 as part of London’s E17 Art Trail, pools together photographs from the likes of Greenpeace, ActionAid, Anti-Slavery International, and Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development to paint a disquieting portrait of the human-rights abuses, poverty wages, and wanton environmental destruction that occur behind the scenes.
“Too often we are disengaged from who and how our clothes are made,” says Esther Freeman, founder of Fashion Mob, a “people-powered movement” that seeks to incite change in the fashion industry, and the show’s curator. “This exhibition is an attempt to visually represent the real story behind them, away from the glamourous catwalks and shiny magazine covers. The aim is to inspire people in to action to start making a positive difference to the impact of the fashion industry.”
“Too often we are disengaged from who and how our clothes are made,” says Esther Freeman, who curated the exhibit.
Every image, Freeman says, tells a story, whether it’s the slave-like conditions of workers who produce garments for Tesco, Marks & Spencer, and Mothercare or rivers that run red, blue, or green with pollution from dye houses that work with Adidas and Nike. “[Fashion is] a complicated process that involves suppliers from around the world,” she adds. “And behind it all there are people and places, many of whom become victims of abuse.”