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Do we love a bargain when made aware of the sweatshop laborers behind it?

A social experiment conducted by Fashion Revolution went completely viral and for good reason. If you haven’t seen it already, you must.


Everyone loves a bargain, but at what cost?

There’s no secret about it, there’s nothing better than finding a great deal on something you absolutely love. What if your bargain came with a price? No, not the actual price tag, but rather a moral price? This is just what Fashion Revolution experimented with and the results may surprise you.

Fashion Revolution created a t-shirt vending machine and the shirt were only 2 Euros (about $2.19), but no one wanted to buy them. Why you ask? There was a little catch: buyers were asked to watch a video about the exploited sweatshop workers who make the cheap garments possible.

Excited t-shirt enthusiasts walked up to the vending machine, put their money in, and were then asked to watch the video before their shirt was vended. After they saw the video, they were asked if they still wanted the shirt, or if they’d prefer to donate the money. 90% of individual donated their money to a charity that helps workers in these situations, rather than take the cheap t-shirt.

Watch the moving video:

The larger point: Most of us are unaware

Fashion Revolution’s social experiment proved a larger point though, people do care, some are just unaware. This experiment encouraged people to ask questions about who made their clothing and under what conditions it was made.

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Their experiment went viral, sparking online discussion with several major manufacturers. People wanted to know how their items were made and if people were being paid enough, because many times, when something seems too good to be true it is. And even more unfortunate, especially in the fashion industry it is women and children who are exploited.

Once you know someone only made $0.13 an hour, working 16 hours straight (which comes to a grand total of $2.08 per day) it makes it impossible to be proud of your purchase, or at least it does in my opinion.

Find out more about the Fashion Revolution

The Revolution started after 1133 people were killed and over 2500 injured when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, making it the worst ever industrial disaster in the fashion industry. Haven’t heard about it? I hadn’t either and this is the problem. If you want to know more about the project, or find out who makes your clothes, I encourage you to check out Fashion Revolution. Information is power and we could all use a little bit more.


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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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