Can fashion be a force for good?
In Brazil, slavery is still very much a reality and the fashion industry is one of the main culprits. Artigo 149 is Brazil’s law that determines the concept of work versus slavery, covering exhaustive working hours, debt bondage, degrading conditions and forced labor. Since 1995, the Brazilian state has rescued more than 53,000 workers from these conditions.
To promote the topic’s debate in an election year, we developed the #SomosLivres campaign for the Brazilian Ministry of Public Labor. Using fashion as a platform, the government raised awareness and invited its population to defend the concept of the law. Assuming a fake brand name @artigo149, we produced branded t-shirts in partnership with a local foundation that works to guarantee workforce dignity. Through this initiative, we shed light on the difficult and greatly neglected subject.
In addition to the t-shirt collection, an event involving leading fashion journalists and trendsetters in Brazil was held during Sao Paulo Fashion Week. These combined efforts encouraged people to visit the campaign’s website and issue a letter of commitment to state and federal government candidates.
mentions of “slave labor,” on social media in 45 days, a 216% increase from the previous period
were sent to political candidates’ inboxes via a tool on the #somoslivres website
likes on social media, from just three posts