The fashion industry has a global value of $1,700 trillion and employs over 75 million people. This doesn’t include the the vast majority of farmers, dyers, weavers, printers (The Fair-trade Foundation estimate 300 million people work in the cotton production sector alone).
The number of employees in this sector has trebled since the end of the twentieth century, yet less than 4% of the value of any ‘high street’ product is likely to go to people that make the products (including making the fabric), 75% of whom are female who take a lower wage than men. Men also generally take the supervisor roles or jobs considered to be more highly skilled. This data is also unlikely to include the children and female homeworkers in the industry as they are often not declared on business data.
So, if you buy a dress costing £100 it is likely that only £4 will be given to the people who make the fabric and sew the clothes, including their expenses. In reality many of the people who are involved in this part of the process are not even counted on data sheets and just from these figures exceed 90% of the workforce. The other £96 goes to the other 10% of the workforce in the West.