A vending machine in Berlin offering up 2 euro t-shirts turned out to not be exactly what shoppers bargained for. The machine, set in place in busy Alexanderplatz to mark Fashion Revolution Day, asked shoppers to deposit just 2 euros (around $2.23 USD) for its wares. Before the t-shirts popped out, shoppers were shown images of the shirt’s production at sweatshops around the world, before being offered the chance to donate their 2 euros to help incite change.
As part of an experiment for Fashion Revolution Day, the vending machine was painted with an alluring turquoise and black pattern, and set in the center of Berlin’s main shopping district, Alexanderplatz. After depositing a 2 euro coin and choosing their size, the t-shirt was not dispensed. Instead, the machine showed shoppers images of sweat shops around the world, featuring the women and children who could have made the t-shirt in question. Paired with the imagery were facts about the women’s working conditions, like overworked 16 hour days, or unlivable wages of 13 cents an hour.
After the story behind cheap clothing was revealed, shoppers were asked “Do you still want this t-shirt?” and then given a chance to instead donate the 2 euros to a charity that helps these women.
The incredible experiment proved that knowledge is power. Armed with the transparency of how their cheap clothes were made, nine out of ten shoppers chose to donate their 2 euros, proving that provided with the facts, most people will make ethical choices for ethical fashion.