Sweatshop is an award-winning Norwegian documentary-style TV Show that follows four Scandinavian fashion bloggers around Phnom Penh — the capital of Cambodia — as they expose the far from glamorous backstage of fast-fashion and seek change in the industry. Each week A Plus features a new episode from the show's latest season.
In the third episode of Sweatshop, the fashion bloggers expose a truth that many people don't know is happening behind-the-scenes of the fashion industry: not all textile workers are placed in factories.
A significant number of them work in what is known as "home-based production," a term used for all unregulated textile manufacturing. These workers are paid for each garment they sew as opposed to earning a monthly salary, meaning they are getting less than those working in factories. They also have no rights.
In the episode, the bloggers take a truck to one of these "home-based production" sites with Cambodian garment workers. They will spend the entire day sewing labels onto garments, experiencing for themselves the life of Cambodian textile workers in this type of environment.
On the way, blogger Anniken Jørgensen, suddenly falls sick.
"I'm glad Anniken was alright but wonder what would have happened," says Lisa Tellbe, a fellow fashion blogger, afterward. "If it was one of the others. And if we hadn't been filming."
It is certainly scary to think about what would happen to one of the Cambodian workers in this scenario, and how they might be treated.
The episode reminds us, as consumers, to always find out information about where our clothes come from, to check labels, research brands, and ask lots of questions to make sure those who made the garments we are buying have received fair pay and have rights.