Instituto Alinha -my organization- was born out of outrage after discovering that the fashion industry employs thousands of workers under slave-like conditions.
There’s an estimated 12,000 small sewing workshops in São Paulo alone. The owners of such workshops and their employees - often family members- work an average of 90 hours per week, and they earn around USD0.70 per finished clothing item. This is the reality of many of Brazil’s small workshops.
The dire conditions and the general unsafety of these spaces are a consequence of the lack of access to resources and information. Moreover, if workshop owners opt to formalize their businesses and comply with working conditions and safety measures, they have no guarantee that brands will be ready to pay a fair price for products.
A significant amount of the victims involved in this problem are Bolivian migrants who work as seamstresses and workshop owners. The number of Bolivian migrants in Brazil is estimated to be about 500,000. Most of them have very challenging life stories, but those remain invisible for Brazilian society.
We work by counselling sewing workshops through formalization processes, so that they become legal and safe, and we connect them with stylists and brands who are interested in making fair and sustainable fashion. Through the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator, we will create a campaign telling the stories of seamstresses, so that both brands and consumers can engage in behavioral change and reevaluate the sustainability of the fashion industry as it is right now.