For us, Labor Day marks more than the last official day of summer (and our sale). It's a chance to honor the American workers who have fought for better conditions and greater rights in the workplace, but the fight isn't over yet.
Labor Day was created to honor and celebrate the labor movement in the United States, which fought for workers’ rights, wages, working conditions, and labor laws. When the very first Labor Day parade was held in New York City in 1882, the average American was working 12-hour days, 7-days a week to meet their basic needs. Child labor was still common practice. The labor movement has been paramount to moving us closer to a place where all workers, no matter their race or gender, are treated fairly and with dignity.
But the reality is that while we’ve made quite a bit of progress the last few hundred years, we still have a long way to go. Our industry is a prime example of that. Fashion employs over 60 million people around the world, and 98% of them are not paid wages that meet their basic needs. People are forced to work long hours for little pay, in unsafe working conditions that compromise their health and safety. And women are especially at risk because they’re concentrated in the lowest-paid and least secure jobs. Fashion is the largest industrial employer of women worldwide—75-80% of its workforce is women, totalling roughly 45-48 million people.
The world had a wakeup call in 2013 when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over 1,000 textile workers, most of whom were young women. They came face-to-face with the often dangerous conditions that women are subjected to in the workplace. And this was the first step in the public conversation about harmful work environments. But as long as corporations are able to take advantage of workers without consequence from consumers, we won’t make real progress. Change will not happen without you, so we must take it a step further.
When we became the first fashion brand to publish our wages last month, we wanted to empower you to help us put an end to all the mistreatment. The only way consumers will be able to protect and empower workers with their wallets is if they have the information necessary to make informed decisions. Anything less than concrete information about lowest wages does not have the power to protect workers, so we decided that we wanted to put it all out there. The good, bad, and ugly—our problem spots and the things we’re doing well—because we are inviting you on this journey with us.
So yes, we are having a Labor Day Sale, but it’s more than a sale. It’s the way we keep creating jobs and empowering women in fashion all over the world. When you shop ABLE during this sale, and always, you're helping us create labor and affect change in the fashion industry. We hope one day that the women who make our clothes will no longer need protection because all fashion brands give them the dignity and respect they deserve. But in the meantime, we’re committing to fight every day to ensure that the women who make our products are treated fairly, paid living wages, and have a safe work environment, because we believe that she’s worth more.
On this Labor Day, join us in celebrating the brave workers who have pushed for change and fought for the rights of American workers. We stand on their shoulders.