How Sewing Bras For Victoria's Secret Is Helping Rural Women In India
Victoria's Secret has taken some criticism over the past year for using cotton picked by child laborers in terrible conditions to produce some of their merchandise. But in southern India, rural women are reaping major economic and lifestyle benefits from sewing such lingerie.
The women who work at the Intimate Fashions factory, which produces bras for Victoria's Secret and others, come mostly from poor rural areas in India. In these neighborhoods, they're forced into marriages young and left with few opportunities for economic or social independence. The World Bank and the local Indian government teamed up to train and bring women from rural areas to work in factories like Intimate Fashions, which can greatly elevate their socioeconomic status.
Eighteen-year-old Vithya, one of the girls who works at Intimate Fashions, tells Reuters: "It was hard at first. My parents did not want me to come and I was scared. But I am getting used to it and send home money now to pay for construction of my parents' home."
Girls working at Intimate Fashions can make around $130 a month – not much by Western standards, but more than twice as much as the majority of men in their villages who make just $2 a day working on farms.
The conditions at Intimate Fashions is a major improvement for Victoria's Secret following Bloomberg's revelations December that the company used cotton that had been picked by teenage girls under grueling conditions in Burkina Faso.
Here are more photos from inside the Intimate Fashions factory: