Last week we celebrated Fashion Revolution Week and what a week it was! Over 90 countries participated in the campaign worldwide, demanding for greater transparency within the fashion industry by asking the question #whomademyclothes? The week acknowledged the faces behind our fashion, it celebrated the amazing changes already happening in the fashion world, it educated designers and consumers on how to be more ethically and sustainably conscious and it encouraged us all to simply slow down.
Fashion Revolution Week was born just 5 years ago after the disastrous collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh on the 24th of April 2013. The tragedy was responsible for 1,138 deaths, the worst in garment factory history and enough to finally bring the ethical issues of the fashion industry to headlines worldwide. Since that day we continue to learn about some of the horrific conditions that workers are being forced to work under, for less than a living wage all so that we, in the Western world, can have the luxury of purchasing a $5 t-shirt that we may never wear.
Throughout the week industry professionals gathered us all together to give talks and share informative, panel discussions around the issues that the fashion industry face and how these issues can and are being combatted. They provided audiences with the opportunity to not only be exposed to the reality of the fashion industry but also to be able to ask questions and get involved in a movement that requires participation from all of us.
The week showcased a perfect example of how as individuals we all have the power to make a difference with just a few simple steps:
1. Slow down - buy less and buy smarter. Invest in pieces that you know you will wear at least 30 times, that are trans seasonal and that have quality that will last.
2. Buy second hand - every piece of fashion has a story; from the hands that wove the fabric to the people who wear it. Buying second hand from vintage stores or op shops gives
garments a new chapter to tell a story as well as diverting some of the 500,000 tonnes of textiles from landfill in Australia alone.
3. Repair – forget the idea that fashion can be disposable. If something breaks, fix it. Find value and sentiment in the garments you own.
4. Research - know where your clothes come from and the stories of the faces behind your fashion.
Luckily for us the movement toward a fashion revolution is now in full swing which means we have an ever-growing archive of resources to support and assist us with our shift towards future of more conscious fashion. We now have access to ethical shopping apps like Good On You which can give you companies ethical ratings at a touch of a button, countless bloggers and influencers also tackle the issues and promote brands that they love and trust. Transparency within a company is the easiest way for us as consumers to assess the social responsibility behind what we are purchasing; this includes having access to supply chain and production records within a company such as factory locations. Unfortunately, in today’s society it’s nearly impossible for the fashion industry to be perfect meaning 100% ethical, sustainable and still affordable which is why we have to be smart about what we do consume. Start by picking the things most important to you. For example, if you’re vegan, start with that - find brands that provide vegan alternatives and go from there.
For anyone wanting to learn more about the Fashion Revolution movement head to their website to see some of the amazing things happening around the world in the link below and be sure to check out the eye-opening documentary ‘The True Cost’ (available on Netflix) to discover more about the Rana Plaza tragedy and just how your clothes are being made.
With Love, Sarah xxx