John Oliver Calls Out Fast Fashion Brands For Unethical Labour Laws

Posted: Updated:

Buying cheap clothing is ridiculously easy these days, especially thanks to fast fashion labels like Joe Fresh and Forever 21, but at what cost do these garments really come?

John Oliver is here to tell you.

In a recent segment on his new show, "Last Week Tonight," the host examines the labour practices implemented by the fast fashion brands we so love, and shines a light just how unethical they really are. The host takes aim at the industry's "supply chain management" problems, using stats, facts, and just the right amount of humour.

To open the segment, Oliver explains, "Trendy clothing is cheaper than ever, and cheap clothing is trendier than ever," and it's all because fast fashion companies (who rely on high-volume sales to make profit). Their business model is simple: in order to sell clothes for low prices and still make profit, you have to sell a lot, which means the clothing needs to be made quickly and cost-effectively.

Of course, the easiest way to do that is to produce overseas. And that's where the issues happen.

As he continues to break down the problem, Oliver cites various reports showing the horrifying use of international child labour by brands like Gap and Walmart, before joking, "Sweatshops aren't one of those '90s problems we got rid of, like Donnie Wahlberg. They're one of those '90s problems we're still dealing with, like Mark Wahlberg."

Oliver also points out the problem of child labour has been publicized since the '90s, but thanks to clever and frilly ad campaigns and cover-ups, we as consumers, become blinded (and perhaps sometimes ignorant). That is, until we see something like the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which happened almost exactly two years ago, flash all over our screens.

To close off the segment, Oliver calls out the owners of Gap, Walmart, Joe Fresh, H&M and The Children's Place and argues that ignorance of child labour is no excuse. And just make make his point extra clear, the former "Daily Show" correspondent offers to send suspicious, dirt-cheap lunches to their offices -- because if you don't care about where your clothing comes from, why should you care where your food originates?

And yes, those deliveries actually happened.

You can watch the entire video above. To learn more about what you can do, check out Fashion Revolution.

Follow Huffington Post Canada Style on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter!

Also on HuffPost:

Tips For Ethical Shopping
Share this
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fashion (HBO) - YouTube

Watch John Oliver Use Free Lunch to Remind Fashion CEOs That ...

We Buy an Insane Amount of Cheap Fashion. John Oliver Reminds ...

John Oliver vs. cheap clothing (and the labor conditions it requires ...

John Oliver obliterates fashion industry: Your skinny jeans are made ...

John Oliver Slams Fashion Industry's Child Labor Practices | Rolling ...

John Oliver to Exploitative Fashion-Retail CEOs: 'Eat This Wagon of ...

John Oliver Slams Fashion Industry's Child Labor Practices | Rolling ...

Video: John Oliver gives fast fashion companies—and bargain ...

John Oliver Turned 'Last Week Tonight' Into A Fashion Show, But These Styles ...