A Letter to Aadya: Uncovering Social Injustices in Fast Fashion
This activity introduces students to social issues in the fast-fashion industry and engages them in deep reflections by having them see fast fashion through the eyes of Aadya, a factory worker of their age.
By: Samira Iran (TU Berlin) and Anja Lisa Hirscher (Ulm University & K-Punkt Ländliche Entwicklung)
Session type: Single session, Undergraduate level, Medium size
Introduction to the teaching example:
The purpose of "A letter to Aadya" is to raise awareness about where, how, and who manufactures the garments we wear. It is a real-world illustration of social difficulties in the fast-fashion sector that aims to change consumer behavior to better production methods.
There are three phases to this practice. First, students are exposed to theoretical information on problems in the fast fashion sector, with a focus on social issues. For instance, they explore how employees are forced to work overtime, while receiving low wages and an absence of health insurance and daycare options for themselves and their families, as well as the restrictions to form a labor union. Second, the students are given a paragraph that describes a young (fictitious) worker in the field. The paragraph describes their age, the length of their workdays, how much money they make, who their family is, and the challenges they face in their job. The participants then compose a letter to this person. Students may also create drawings or a collage to help them better express themselves. The activity ought to promote empathy and self-reflective learning. Therefore, it might also be easier to assign it as homework, with the experience being discussed in the consequent lecture. For example, after the teacher gathers the materials, students are urged to reflect on the experience and share what they learned in smaller groups.