The fashion industry is one of the largest employment sectors is the world. Whether it be the cotton farmer, the children making your new dress or the designers in their cushy offices in the big cities, the fashion industry spans the globe.

However, the gorgeous bargain dress you bought for your night out and the new boots you bought last week didn’t just magically arrive in Primark, H&M, All Saints or River Island like that. They involved blood, sweat and tears. From humans and animals alike.

The chances are very likely that your clothes have been produced by a young girlĀ or a mother who is paid around $2 per day for a thirteen-hour shift. 85% of workers in the garment industry factories in countries like Bangladesh, China and Nepal are female. They don’t get the education that men do and so cannot grow to be doctors, educators, pilots and all of the other jobs available to men from their countries. The young girl (or her mother) will have no other choice than to work in the factory conditions that are often harsh and unsafe, with owners disregarding basic human rights. They put their life at risk because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t survive.

So why do factory owners and bosses in the garment industry exploit their workers? For a profit.

Despite this, it’s not just young girls and women in the factories and sweat shops that are exploited just to provide your favourite shops with new clothing lines; it is also the cotton farmers. The cotton farmers who are in so much debt that – on average – thirty-eight farmers a day commit suicide in India, working out at around 13,754 per year.

They commit suicide because of the shame they have placed upon them. The big businesses who own the cotton plants sell them to the farmers at extortionate prices that they can’t afford, resulting in exceptional levels of debt. Then, the farmers have to purchase the crop fertiliser to make the cotton grow better, again from the same company and again at an extortionate price. So the farmers are in even more debt. Of course, the companies are well aware that the farmers can never repay them, so they take over their land.

Perhaps the most disheartening thing is that the farmers commit suicide by standing in their field and drinking the fertiliser.

So, next time you buy your new outfit or some new shoes, remember how it was made. Spare a thought for the exploited women and young girls, for the farmer who committed suicide and for the next generation who will go through it all gain.

Spare a thought for the reality of the garment industry and the horrific and detrimental effects it’s having on those thousands of miles away from you.