It was the summer of 2014. I was on a bus with a group of young students headed to Kapashera, where we hoped to meet some apparel industry workers. We were going on a Sunday because it was a weekly holiday for most workers. Halfway through the journey (more than an hour from the starting point of the bus at ISBT, Kashmiri Gate), we realized that some of our co-passengers were garment workers.
I heard my young friends squealing in delight when they realized that these workers produced garments for Abercrombie & Fitch, a high-end casual wear brand. I was tutored about the details and nuances of this brand.
Amongst those on the bus was Ramesh, a 35-year-old worker. He and the other workers were returning from Chor Bazaar (a well-known flea market in old Delhi). They had used their holiday to travel more than 30 km to the flea market to buy second-hand clothes for their children. The irony of the situation was not lost on us. Having spent their lives draping the world in some of the most famous brands, these workers could only afford old T-shirts worth Rs 35 for their children.