Left in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, disruption to global supply chains caused delayed delivery of foreign-made goods. Over 114 million people worldwide lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Despite an increase in vaccinations, and a general decrease in COVID-19 cases, the global supply chain is still bruised by the pandemic.
Factories and sweatshops around the world experienced temporary shutdowns, and hence affected the working class the most. The world’s dependence on unethical, exploitative labor in Asia for inexpensive products, combined with a pandemic that caused millions of people to be financially unstable, resulted in a higher demand for inexpensive products, but a decrease in labor to produce said products and deliver them. It is important to note that it took a global pandemic for Westerners to pay attention to Asian factories and sweatshops, when this entire time Westerners have been wearing clothing made by exploited workers. Even now, Americans are more concerned about why their Zara package will not arrive on time, and not about the child that made their shirt.
The world’s dependence on Asian sweatshops for fast fashion is ironic, considering many Americans turn a blind eye to the exploitative creation of the garments they wear. However, it should be noted that the option to avoid purchasing fast fashion clothing items is a privilege of the wealthy. Being able to afford ethical clothing is a luxury most do not have, therefore, it is the responsibility of the wealthy to support ethical clothing brands. Wealthy westerners should take this time to rethink their dependence on unethical manufacturing of garments, rather than solely be concerned about the delayed delivery of their packages.