How often do you think about the people who make your clothes? Anna Ginsburg’s new film prompts fresh thought
To raise 1 million EU signatures demanding a living wage across the textile industries, the animated film has one activist aim: to go viral.
- 20 July 2022
- Liz Gorny
The EU is the largest importer of clothes – with over 260 billion euros expected in sales in 2022 – and yet, most of the people who make our clothes earn poverty wages, while brands continue to make huge profits. Activist movement Fashion Revolution has been campaigning to bring this exploitative model to an end for ten years. But, it is with a new campaign from director Anna Ginsburg, Strange Beast and illustrator Viktoria Cichoń, that it hopes to cement lasting change. Good Clothes, Fair Pay is an animated film that aims to put the issue front and centre in audiences’ minds. It hopes to prompt any EU citizen to sign a petition pushing for legislation that requires companies to conduct living wage due diligence in their supply chains. As Anna puts it, “the film is a call to action”.
Good Clothes, Fair Pay is short. Running at 33 seconds, it plainly tells viewers the issue of exploitation within the industry and how to help. “You never want to try and squeeze in so much that you distract from the message,” Anna explains. The core issue is that: “The majority of the [garment industry] workforce are not paid a living wage, which is a fundamental human right,” Anna elucidates. “They cannot afford the most basic things, like healthcare, food, housing and education for their children. The EU has the power to change this through legislation, and if a million signatures are achieved [...], the EU will consider this demand.”
As Anna points out, a fundamental problem in raising awareness about garment industry exploitation is that “we are all so detached from so many processes behind the things we consume”. Animation and film, on the other hand, are excellent modes to encourage visualisation and deeper thinking about the subject. Anna uses a piece of thread as a motif in Good Clothes, Fair Pay to connect the morphing montage of “jazzy looks” to the person who made them. The designs of these “fashionistas” were provided by Viktoria Cichoń, with Anna providing animation for the film, while Viktoria worked on illustration for the campaign.
A number of sequences within Good Clothes, Fair Pay hide layers of visual narrative – like the moment when a sewing machine needle jams and fabrics unravel, all while flowers simultaneously wilt and the weather shifts drastically to stormy rain. It was a sequence that “nearly killed” the animator. “It took about five days to do that two-second rotation [in which the camera sweeps over a worker’s shoulder and through the window]. “I try to make my transitions as unexpected and satisfying as possible so I enjoyed animating the moment when the judge’s hammer shatters the wood block and splits into discs, one of which becomes a coin.”
Coinciding with the Good Clothes, Fair Pay film launch, the Fashion Revolution petition is live, calling on all EU citizens to take a quick moment to offer their signature. For those not based in the EU, Anna adds: “Everyone should send the petition out to EU mates”; at 1 million signatures, the issues raised within the film could be written into new legislation, ending textile industry exploitation in the EU.
GalleryAnna Ginsburg / Strange Beast / Viktoria Cichoń: Good Clothes, Fair Pay for Fashion Revolution (Copyright © Fashion Revolution, 2022)
Anna Ginsburg / Strange Beast / Viktoria Cichoń: Good Clothes, Fair Pay for Fashion Revolution (Copyright © Fashion Revolution, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.