Get involved this week for Fashion Revolution Week (24-29 April). What is it? Why bother? How do I do it? Answers to those questions below, plus links to resources and quick clicks to lend your voice in the socialsphere.
There are loads of ways that you can be part of the revolution to change the fashion industry to one that is fair and transparent, empowering even. You can…
- Ask your favourite brand who made their clothes – well, your clothes really – using #whomademyclothes ….Simple, really. They may respond, they may ignore you (that would be telling, don’t you think?), they may direct you to a page on their website. Whatever response you get, you have been one of many voices putting pressure on brands by asking that question. The more we ask, the more they hear.
- Get social – here is a link to tweet, instagram or direct an email to a brand with that question #whomademyclothes?
- Take a selfie showing the label of your clothing and tagging the brand with the question #whomademyclothes?
- Or maybe you know who did – in that case, share that with your followers. There are plenty of good brands out there to shower with praise.
- Try an #haulternative – Not buying new clothing for a period of time, and share your journey
- Or research – go online, use the GoodonYou app, check out the Ethical Fashion Guide and get to know who made your clothes. If you are left wanting, refer to point 1!
You can find these resources and more at https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/get-involved/
So what’s it all about?
Fashion Revolution is a global organization that works year-round across a number of platforms and via events, and with other businesses and people, to change the way we consume fashion, the way the industry supply chain works, and create a “fairer, safer, cleaner, more transparent fashion industry.”
The main calendar campaign is Fashion Revolution Week – also known as the #whomademyclothes campaign – which started a year after the Rana Plaza factory collapsed. In this horrific disaster, more than 1000 garment workers, mainly female, were killed and many more injured in unsafe factories making clothes for well-known Western brands, for example Zara.
This revolution is really growing momentum, and during Fashion Revolution Week all of us in the sustainable fashion advocacy world encourage millions of consumers to ask brands ‘Who made my clothes?’. This is an awareness-raising event of global proportions designed to put pressure on big brands that really aren’t doing enough to improve the unethical fast fashion supply chain.
When you ask that question – who made my clothes? – you’re not looking for literal names and surnames (although wouldn’t that be amazing, and actually brands like ReCreate do know the names of the people that sew their clothes), but that fashion brands are transparent about their supply chain. They should know and publish the names of the factories they use to make their clothes, so that groups like Fashion Revolution and Tearfund can share that information. As Tearfund note in the recent release of their 2018 Tearfund Ethical Fashion Report, supply chains can be huge and complicated. “A t-shirt could be made from cotton grown in India, spun and dyed in China, made into fabric in Pakistan, and sewn into a shirt in Bangladesh. Along the way, brands can easily lose track of who’s actually making their clothes and the conditions in which they are being made.”
To join the movement, support it or just find out a little more, follow Fashion Revolution on twitter, facebook and instagram or check out the New Zealand page. There are some great resources, tips and information sheets too.
Some more stats
- Increasingly, the world’s population is clothed by workers in the Asia-Pacific. Across the region, in low and middle-income countries, 43 million people work in factories to produce garments, textiles, and footwear.
- By far the majority are women between 18 and 35, earning a wage so low that they, and their families, are trapped in poverty. They often suffer physical, sexual and mental abuse, unsafe factories (read further about Rana Plaza), overtime with little to no security of consistent work and income.
- The average monthly income of a Bangladeshi garment worker, for example, is $60.
- Child labour, particularly in the production of raw materials like cotton, remains prevalent in fashion supply chains. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates 18 million victims may exist. Among the large cotton producing nations, Australia is one of only a few exceptions to this trend (and they’re just over the ditch! Woohooo!!)
(Stats provided by Ethical Fashion Guide, Fashion Revolution and other researched sources)