The coronavirus pandemic has struck just about every industry and its workers, and while some brands and retailers have seen an uptick in online fashion orders, generally, fashion industry workers around the world have seen devastating impacts to their own livelihoods.
When the global pandemic hit, leading fashion brands begun cancelling their own orders for more than US $2 billion worth of clothes that had already been produced in factories, leaving millions of workers in countries like Bangladesh unpaid, and at risk of starvation for themselves and their families.
According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturing and Exporters Association, over 400 factories have already shut down and further job cuts are expected in July. An estimated 1 million factory workers in Bangladesh no longer have jobs. “If coronavirus doesn’t kill my workers, then starvation will,” one factory worker in Bangladesh told the BBC.
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It was found that 58% of factories surveyed by CGWR reported having to shut down most or all of their operations due to brands cancelling orders. The impact of this means that over a million workers have lost their job in the middle of a global pandemic. Not only have workers lost their wage that allows them to feed their families, they will also be met with healthcare expenses due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. Buy a box, support a worker for a week. #LostStock
Lost Stock was conceptualised by UK clothing app makers, Mallzee, in a move to support the livelihoods of these workers while simultaneously saving an estimated 136,516 tons of clothing from landfill, which is where the clothes likely would have ended up if the company hadn’t stepped in.
Their innovative business model works like so. You choose between a men’s box, women’s box, or children’s box, and fill out a short questionnaire around your fashion style and tastes.
Lost Stock will then curate a minimum of three garments matched to your preferences, many of which are from known labels like Topshop and Gap. You pay $64 plus shipping, and wait patiently as your box is delivered to your door. The savings (50% off the RRP) are well worth the six to eight-week wait, plus, you know you’re doing something really good in your purchase.
Every box sold supports a worker and their family for one week. So far, the Lost Box initiative has supported over 98,700 families and counting. The company had a goal to support 100,000 by the end of 2020, but with so much media attention, they’ll soon have to readjust their goals having smashed the target. It’s a good problem to have.
Lost Stock currently ships to UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and you can order yours now. The fashion industry and its workers needs support now and in the long-term, and beyond COVID, a more viable solution will need to be met to prevent a reoccurrence of the of tragic circumstances upon which Lost Stock was founded. For now, we’re tipping our hat to this genius initiative, and telling all our friends about it too.