Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level





Molly Rapert


One of the most cherished traditions on our University of Arkansas campus is the etching of names onto Senior Walk each year. On any given day, thousands of students stroll across these beautiful sidewalks as they venture to and from class. Dressed in the latest fashions from iconic brands such as Zara, H&M, and Nike, these students are far removed from the tragedy that has befallen the Uyghur population living in the Xinjiang province, 6,914 miles away. Evidence has been mounting that the Uyghur population has been suffering through massive displacement, forced labor camps, and atrocities that we cannot even fathom – all while producing the fast fashion products we see every day on our campus (Thanhauser, 2021). In a seminar that I took two summers ago while studying abroad, I learned about the Uyghur population, the inhumane treatment of these individuals, and the complicit role that many well-known companies have taken in this exploitation (Daniaud & Alwani, 2022). Numerous crimes against humanity are reported to be taking place in the Xinjiang region against the Uyghurs, but the torment travels internationally as the ethnic group is placed at the forefront of labor fueling the rapid-growing world consumers recognize as the world of fast fashion (Gan, 2020). While many companies have press-released their concern, they continue to use the cotton as well as finished products that are produced in these labor camps (Gan, 2020).

A tale that is severely underreported yet extremely relevant. The alleged ethnic cleansing and forced labor of the Uyghur population has crossed my thoughts nearly daily since learning about the ongoing humanitarian crisis back in the summer of 2022. From social media video “hauls”, where people are sharing their mass purchases from the culprits of exploitation, to simple conversations with my fellow peers about their new pair of “sneakers I don’t care to wear out because they were so cheap,”. The lives behind the fabric consume my thoughts whilst being unbeknownst to others. For 675 days, since I first learned of this situation, this issue has stayed with me and has become the focal point for my research project, studying genocide dressed in jeans.


Fast fashion, Human Rights Violations, Uyghur Muslims, Labor Camps