Lost Stock: You can now buy £70 worth of clothes for £35 to help Bangladeshi workers

But should you?

(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Fashion lovers can now snap up £70 worth of clothes for just £35, in a bid to help Bangladeshi factory workers.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of damage, and not just to people’s health and wellbeing – the economic devastation is also heartbreaking.

One of the badly affected industries has been fast fashion, after companies cancelled mass orders from factories abroad, leaving workers unprotected and with their livelihoods at stake.

What is Lost Stock?

To help the thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers hit by cancelled orders, a businessman from Edinburgh has arranged to sell the unwanted clothes in the UK.

Cally Russell told the BBC that he was moved after hearing about the story of many factory workers losing their jobs because of the pandemic, and thought of the idea.

He said, "When I read on the BBC news website a factory worker saying 'If coronavirus doesn't kill my workers then starvation will' instead of getting angry I thought let's do something through the connections we have.

"After using all our connections to speak to the Bangladeshi factories we now have access to £20m worth of the clothes.

(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

"We want to help 5,000 workers by the end of the month and 100,000 by the end of the year.

"This is spring/summer 2020 collection stock. Retailers don't know when their stores will be reopening again so they just cancelled their orders.”

The contracts brands have with factories allow them to cancel their contracts under exceptional circumstances and often pay on delivery, which left suppliers with the unwanted stocks after already paying for the materials and labour.

"We are now going to stop some of this stock from being lost and in doing so we will be helping the factory workers and customers will be getting a great deal as well”, Cally added.

How do Lost Stock clothes boxes work?

All you have to is head to Lost Stock, answer a few questions about your preferences (including size and preferred colours) and pay £35 for your box.

It will include at least three items of clothing (worth £70). One box supports a worker for one week.

Should you buy a Lost Stock clothes box?

Lost Box is a great solution to help factory workers right now and grab a few SS20 bargains at the same time.

But while the idea has been met with enthusiasm from fashion lovers, some have argued that it should be the brands honouring their commitment to their suppliers - not the consumers - and that this should come as a wake-up call for the fashion industry to become more responsible and sustainable.

Remake, a non-profit organisation that sheds light on the human rights violations and climate injustice being caused by the fashion industry, started a petition to ask brands to 'pay up' following the mass cancellations.

The petition, signed by over 40,000 people, reads, ‘Unless fashion brands like Gap, Primark, C&A, and others #PayUp, millions of garment makers will go hungry and be forced onto the streets. Many have already been sent home with no severance, savings, or access to healthcare.’

Grace Beverley, founder of sustainable activewear brand TALA, is one of the people speaking up in the fashion industry asking for change.

Her products include sports bras and gym leggings that are made from 92% reused materials, including plastic bottles and factory offcuts.

She says, "Remake Our World have a fantastic pay up petition and initiative to get brands to pay up for the work that has already been done. COVID-19 has just highlighted more and more results of unethical business practices within the fashion industry, and this should be a real wake-up call to those still buying fast fashion - it is not ethical, it is a human rights issue, and we must vote with our money buy not supporting it - that is the only way it will change."

Mariana Cerqueira

Mariana is the managing editor of woman&home. She has previously worked for lifestyle titles including GoodtoKnow covering all aspects of women’s lifestyle - from the Royal Family, beauty and fashion to wellness and travel. She was nominated for AOP Digital Journalist of the Year in 2020, and for New Digital Talent of the Year at the 2016 PPA Digital Awards. She’s mildly obsessed with TV (reality TV shows included) and spends far too much time planning her next trip away.