Cotton’s hidden voices: Stories from the makers of your clothes

This exhibition is located in Space at Design, Clothworkers Central building. It is curated by Dr Mark Sumner and Dr Bethan Bide.

We don’t often think about the people who make our clothes. But even a simple cotton t-shirt can tell an extraordinary story about the millions of workers who grow the cotton, spin the yarns, knit and dyeing the fabrics, and sew garments together. Your clothes connect you to the workers who made them, but these connections are often hidden from view due to the complex and opaque nature of fashion supply chains. As a result, discussions about sustainability and fashion often exclude the perspectives of the people who made your clothes and their communities.

Cotton’s Hidden Stories is a project that places these workers’ voices at the centre of debates about our clothes, the fashion industry and what sustainability means. The voices in these stories come from India, a place with a long history of producing textiles and fashion that are consumed in the UK.

The project invited workers in India to talk about what working in fashion supply chains means to them and their families and how working in fashion has influenced their lives. The project also asked them to reflect on what they thought of the people who bought the clothes they had made.

These interviews have been translated and edited to create the seven short thematic videos shown in this exhibition.

Will these stories change the way you think about your clothes and the fashion industry?