“When crisis strikes, the most poor and vulnerable are disproportionately affected and we know the fashion industry is a huge employer and the majority of those employed are women.”
Mary, who has been a patron of the Global Fashion Agenda since 2009, went on to say that in her travels she has witnessed the “supply chain” at its worst.
“I travelled to Bangladesh and I had the opportunity to visit a factory and talk to some of the workers there,” the Crown Princess said.
“If we take Bangladesh, for example, it’s a country that’s very dependent on the textile industry – 80 per cent of their export is through textile and fashion.”
With four million people – 85 per cent of whom are women – working in the Bangladesh fashion and textile industry, Mary said it’s devastating one million have been laid off amid the pandemic.
“We know that a job and financial independence gives enormous security and hope for the future… the contrast of having a job to not having a job is stark indeed," she added.
After stressing the importance of supporting industry workers, Mary urged people consider changing the way they interact with “fast fashion”.
"Companies and brands… they need to change the way they are doing business, because of consumer demand but also of that collective commitment of the industry to create a sustainable future and a sustainable industry,” she said
Mary said in order to move forward, businesses should change their focus to creating products with purpose, though innovation and technology, which are transparent and responsible.
"Behavioural change is a long-term event," she said.