The end result of the social experiment was that nine out of 10 shoppers donated money instead of buying the cheap white t-shirt.
The move was part of Fashion Revolution Day last week, which aims to raise the safety standards of the workers behind the production of clothing.
The images highlighted the condition people producing fast fashion work in.
When shoppers inserted money, a movie started playing. It showed images from textile factories mainly based in Bangladesh, where 2011’s horrific Rana Plaza factory collapse happened.
“People want fashion at a bargain but would they still buy it if they knew how it was made?” the video asks.
“Meet Manisha, one of millions making our cheap clothing for as little as 13 cents an hour each day for 16 hours.”
The video highlighted how women and children work long days without breaks for very little pay.
After viewers had seen the true cost of the cheap t-shirt, they were asked if they still want to buy it or donate it instead.
Seeing as nine out of 10 people donated, the experiments shows people do care about the way their clothes are made, the process just needs to be more transparent.
Another initiative that gained traction worldwide for Fashion Revolution Day was wearing your clothes inside out to show what brand is on the label.
Gimmicky vending machines aside, here are some cold, hard facts about fast fashion:
- Workers that speak up about their conditions are silenced. Workers at the Dhaka, Bangladesh factory that collapsed and killed more than 1000 people had warned their managers previously about cracks in the building’s concrete structure. They were told their wages would be docked for a month if they refused to enter the building.
- The environment suffers. Fast fashion has been found to be the second-highest polluting industry, behind only oil. A main river in the leather-production zone in Bangladesh has been officially declared ‘ecologically dead’. As a result of the “smorgasbord of lethal chemicals and toxic fumes” in the area, a World Health Organisation says most workers living there will die before they reach 50 years of age.
- Children suffer. Over 250 million children in Asia are forced into child labour to keep up with factory demands and to bring income to their families. The pay is a pittance – they can also earn as low as US 1 cent an hour and work up to 100 hours a week.