Clothes are an indispensable element of our functioning in society. Apart from practical functions, such as protection against cold or covering the naked body, our dress symbolically communicates our status or aesthetic taste, among others. Although this has not changed for centuries, never before have we enjoyed such easy access to clothes. The speed of changes imposed on us by trends is accompanied by a relatively low cost of garments. However, the real cost of cheap production is very high. Sometimes human life is at stake, as we found out all too clearly in 2013, when almost 1,200 workers died under the ruins of Rana Plaza. The scale of the tragedy moved the public and led to questions about the possible alternatives to unethical ways of making clothes. Emphasised in numerous publications, the social and global harm caused by fast fashion poses a challenge not just to the clothing industry, but also to our individual choices as consumers.

During the meeting with Marek Rabij we are going to talk about the conditions of producing clothes under Polish and international brands and the changes in this area in the last few years. We will try to find out whether ethical fashion is possible and what role we can play in the process of changes.

Marek Rabij has graduated from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. He has worked as a journalist since 1996, first, even before the Internet era, in the Cracow branch of Gazeta Wyborcza daily. He witnessed the onset of the e-revolution from the inside, as a member of the team in charge of the portal. In 2001 he joined the editorial team of the Polish edition of Newsweek, where he worked for 15 years before moving to Forbes. He loves the mountains, ancient history and contemporary Asia. His professional interests focus on the mechanisms of today’s globalisation and its impact on consumers all over the world. In 2016 his book “Życie na miarę” was published – an investigation into the functioning of the clothing industry and the everyday life of seamstresses in Bangladesh.

Anna Małecka is a PhD student at the Institute of Cultural Studies of Wrocław University. She is interested in contemporary art, fashion and their mutual influences. She is writing a thesis on the critical potential of contemporary art with respect to the fashion industry.