Magazine interviews PayUp Fashion coalition member and Remake founder Ayesha Barenblat about the #PayUp campaign and our Seven Action. Writer Julie O’Driscoll writes, “When the pandemic hit and fast fashion factories shut down, thousands of garment workers were left unpaid and out of work. The now viral campaign, #PayUp was launched by nonprofit organization Remake [as well as Clean Clothes Campaign, and others] in an effort to hold brands accountable. Remake founder Ayesha Barenblat shares the how campaign continues to put the onus on the fast fashion industry.”

Eco-Age: Congratulations on launching It’s exciting to see the next step in the journey of the #PayUp campaign, which went viral on social media earlier this year. Why did you decide to create a dedicated digital hub for the campaign?

Barenblat: “We were heartened when citizens paid enough attention to make our #PayUp demands viral and get urgently needed money in the hands of fashion’s most essential workers during a time when the women who make our clothes are increasingly vulnerable given a global pandemic and economic slowdown. COVID-19 has cracked wide open the fragile nature of supply chains and how inequitable and unjust the fashion industry is. Many of the brands who shored up their own balance sheets and paid their executives and shareholders during the 2020 crisis, did so at the cost of delaying payment to factories and essentially stealing wages from workers who already live paycheck to paycheck. We launched this next phase of PayUp Fashion in order to make sure that garment makers are never again forgotten by the fashion industry.”

Among the other questions that Barenblat answers for Eco-Age are:

How do you verify whether a brand has paid up or not? Is this a quite straight forward process, or more difficult to navigate?

Why did you feel these seven actions in particular were so important, and which do you consider the most urgent?

How do we keep up the momentum that’s been behind the #PayUp so far, and amplify it further?

Time and again, it seems to fall on individuals rather than governing bodies or regulators to push retailers and brands towards a fairer fashion system. Are you hopeful that this will change in the near future?

“Having worked on the inside of the industry for a long time, I made the business case for brands  to invest in the lives of garment makers. When Rana Plaza fell down, it became clear to me that it would take a groundswell of consumer demand to truly move the needle. What we needed was a people’s movement to say no more deaths, human rights abuses and environmental degradation in my quest for cheap clothes.”

Ayesha Barenblat, PayUp Fashion Co-Author and Founder or Remake

You can read the full Q&A here.