Skip to content

A special story to round out Fashion Revolution Week 2024

When we think of the women who make our clothes, we often think of where they are now (stationed at sewing machines, often in deplorable conditions, working for pitiful amounts of pay for big global brands), and not necessarily where they have come from. 


But for many women, entry into the fashion industry is itself liberating: this may be the first time they will have had a job in any formalised capacity.  


The garment industry has been a significant driver of women's workforce participation, especially in developing countries. The relatively low barriers to entry mean that women with few skills or education levels can attain an entry-level role and learn skills on the job. 


Jobs such as these are necessary and important: where there are few work or employment options, and education is impeded by circumstances, garment making can be a ticket out of poverty and vulnerability to exploitation in all its forms, and into freedom.


However, this only works in women's favour if these women are treated with respect and dignity, if their rights to a fair and safe workplace are upheld, and if they are able to earn decent wages. If not, the industry is another means for exploitation of a vulnerable people group.  


Malen's story is one of victory and triumph. It is a testimony to what good can be done if the fashion industry refuses to be complicit in human exploitation and instead values its workers. It is what we hope to facilitate through the Outland Denim model of doing business. We tell it in response to Fashion Revolution Week 2024...


Malen's story


Malen, or "Sea", has worked for Outland Denim for seven years. She is single and has no children, and lives on her own. She is 39 years old. She also has a significant physical disability. 


While working at Outland Denim, she has learned about human rights, labour laws, hygiene, and women's health, and has considerably improved her Khmer literacy levels. Her dream is to one day have her own business selling groceries.* 


Here she talks about what working for Outland has meant to her...

*Information taken from Outland Denim staff survey, 2023.


Start Shopping