Photo credit: Fashion Revolution
When faced with complexity, we have a tendency to bury our heads in the sand - an ancient survival mechanism perhaps? Creating a better, fairer world is hard. Fashion Revolution Week is a great way to begin.
The threads that bind us
The older I get, the more connections I see in the world around me. We live in a vast interconnected universe where seemingly disparate topics are in fact intimately linked on some level. Social justice, the multi-billion dollar fashion industry, environmental conservation and animal welfare - all of these things come into play every time we decide to purchase an item of clothing. It's kind of overwhelming isn't it? We can unwittingly impact on the world around us on a daily basis, without ever fully comprehending the consequences of our actions.
I can't tell you that if you do x y and z everything will be fine and all fashion supply chains will become transparent and equitable tomorrow. But the good news is that we are not powerless. We can create positive change, which will lead to a socially and environmentally bright future. I know that we can do this. I also know that it won't be easy...but it will be worth it!
Join the global revolution
About 75 million people work directly in the fashion and textiles industry. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe conditions, with very little pay. On April 24 2013, 1138 garment workers were killed when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. People all around the world are still suffering as a direct result of our fashion supply chain.
Fashion Revolution is a non-profit organisation which is saying, enough is enough! All year round Fashion Revolution campaigns for systemic reform of the industry with a special focus on the need for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain.
Photo: Fashion Revolution 2016 in San Fransisco. Credit - Bryan Berry
Fashion Revolution Co-founder Orsola de Castro said:
"Have you ever wondered who makes your clothes? How much they're paid and what their lives are like? Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, and sewers. Eighty percent of them are women between the ages of 18 and 24. Many of the people who make our clothes live in poverty. This needs to change."
Fashion Revolution Week (24 - 30 April) will bring people from all over the world together to ask brands #whomademyclothes, and to demand greater transparency to help improve the working conditions and wages of the people who make our clothes.
How to get involved
A simple but powerful step you can take during Fashion Revolution Week (and beyond) is to take a selfie showing your clothing label, tag the brand on social media and ask them #whomademyclothes? The important thing is to be persistent! Keep asking until you receive a satisfactory answer.
Photo: Amber Valetta asks @stellamcartney #whomademyclothes?
We want as many people as possible to question who made their clothes, from the thread linking the garment to the machinists who sewed it, all the way down to the farmer who grew the cotton.
Here are some other ways to get involved:
- Attend a Fashion Revolution event in your community;
- Write to your local politicians and tell them you want better conditions for workers and the reduction of environmental impacts in the fashion industry everywhere in the world;
- Try a #Haulternative: mend, reuse, recycle, customise or swap your clothing with a friend (get the guide);
- Buy something better: choose something from a brand with a positive social or environmental impact. You can use the Good On You app to check labour, environment and animal ratings for over 1,000 fashion brands. Or buy something from a charity or vintage shop;
- Check out the Fashion Transparency Index, which ranks some of the biggest global fashion companies according to their level of transparency; and
- Write a love story about an item of clothing that means a lot to you.
Get amongst amazing ethical fashion events
With over 90 countries taking part in 2017, there are stacks of events happening around the globe. Here's just a taster of what's going on in the UK:
A discussion about what fashion has done to us! Enjoy free delicious comfort food together with inspiring conversations.
This event will showcase recent collaborative research into fashion and ageing carried out by academics from the Fashion, Knitwear and Textile department in the School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University.
West London Waste Authority will host a live twitter chat on 26th April from 1-2 pm on textile waste with fashion industry experts. Twitter use #textilechat
Chaired by Fashion Angel founder Alison Lewy MBE, the panel will be discussing the recent ground breaking textile innovations and how these are likely to influence the future of fashion.
This is a night to showcase the real looks and styles of the fairtrade fashion industry, our fashion show will be complete with workshops set up around the venue on the night of the event to promote fairtrade in all aspects of life from fashion to your everyday groceries.
Looking at the parallels between the ethical fashion movement and feminism, we'll explore whether they champion each other's causes or go against them, whether they can join forces to be more powerful and whether fairly made fashion needs to brand itself as feminist.
Stylist and co-founder of conscious style agency Novel Beings, Alice Wilby, chats to journalist and fashion editor, Bel Jacobs about how to curate a sustainable wardrobe and introduces you to brands that are making a difference in the fashion world.
Bourgeois Boheme founder Alicia will share her experiences of running a brand independently, the challenges faced and driving forces keeping her going and why staying independent matters.
TCL Sewing Café Lancaster has invited different representatives from Lancaster and Morecambe district to discuss their projects and points of views around clothes, research and community engagement.