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Deadly Fashion: Norwegian Bloggers Experience Life In A Sweatshop

In the show “Sweatshop,” several Norwegian fashion bloggers flew to Cambodia, where they lived and worked in the clothing industry.

The three fashionistas – Frida, Ludwig and Anniken – not only saw, but experienced the hardships of Cambodian clothing workers, including low pay, terrible working conditions and sleeping on a cold, hard floor.

Frida Ottesen, one of the bloggers, said that she believed machines made the clothes she adored so much. When she and the other bloggers saw people, not machines, making the clothing, it didn’t have an immediate impact.

“We thought that they were kind of used to it because they had been working in a factory for 14 years,” she told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

Anne Kari Garberg, who helped create the show admitted that this initial reaction was disappointing. Her motivation to create the show came from a want to help Norwegians understand the harsh reality of the less glamorous side of fashion.

“I watch a lot of televsion,” Garberg said. “I just saw several different shows where they would take Europeans and just expose them to poverty and the realities of developing countries. And I just started thinking that this is something we could do. We could open people’s eyes to the realities of garment workers by taking someone from Norway to experience that.”

Now that Ottesen is back in Norway, she said she’s stopped buying clothes in outlet stores. “I usually go to the markets, buying used clothes and vintage,” and she tries to get her friends to do the same.



  • Frida Ottesen, Norwegian fashion blogger and participant in the show “Sweatshop.”
  • Anne Kari Garberg, researcher in the ethics department at i Framtiden i våre henders (the Future In Our Hands), and co-creator of the show “Sweatshop.” She tweets @akgarberg.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Cambodian women work at a garment factory in Phnom Penh, on August 24, 2007. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)
Cambodian women work at a garment factory in Phnom Penh, on August 24, 2007. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)

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