Fashion Revolution is back and now in its sixth year of urging the industry to have greater transparency and take more responsibility within their supply chains.
This is my fourth year participating and borrowing from a sign I saw at the Women’s March last year, ‘I can’t believe we still have to protest this shit.’ But, I will shelve the pessimism and take the positive road because that’s what Fashion Revolution is all about and why it’s my favourite social movement.
This week is about being collaborative. Using our power as consumers, and our collective voices to raise awareness and radically change the fashion industry for the better.
“We want to unite people and organisations to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way.” – Fashion Revolution
What is Fashion Revolution?
In 2013 the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed. 1138 people died and thousands more injured and left without families, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. There were five garment factories in Rana Plaza all manufacturing clothing for big global brands. The victims were mostly young women.
Fashion Revolution is the campaign launched in the wake of this tragedy to shine a light on the lack of transparency and human rights for those working in the garment industry.
“Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, sewers and others. Approximately 75 million people work to make our clothes. 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35.
However, the majority of the people who makes clothes for the global market live in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe and dirty conditions, with very little pay.”
This is why, during Fashion Revolution Week, we need to ask brands #whomademyclothes?
How you can get involved in Fashion Revolution this year
Image via Forbes
Ask brands #whomademyclothes
Hold your favourite brands to account by asking this simple question. Take a picture wearing an outfit exposing the label, post the image on Instagram or Twitter using #whomademyclothes.
“According to social media monitoring platform Meltwater, the hashtag received 99.6 million impressions on Twitter and 170, 000 posts were shared on Twitter and Instagram containing at least one of Fashion Revolution’s hashtags, up 30% from last year.” – Forbes
Send an email
My favourite Fash Rev story comes from one of my personal favourite brands Spell. In 2016, Spell’s co-founder Lizzy received an email from a customer asking #WhoMadeMyClothes as part of Fashion Revolution. This email was the catalyst for their decision to gain independent ethical accreditation of all their partner factories, begin to measure their environmental impact and overhaul how they operate as a brand.
Never underestimate the power of a single email. YOU have the power to make a difference.
Not sure what to say? Fashion Revolution have done the hard work for you by creating a template and form you can use here.
Attend an event
Discussion panels, screenings of The True Cost, factory tours, fashion workshops, clothing swaps. The Fashion Revolution event calendar is HUGE this year! Some of my picks below.
Sydney: Eko Mindful Boss Ladies Brunch – come and enjoy a beautiful high tea in an intimate chic sustainable garden setting at Australia’s First Zero Waste Sustainable, Dress Hire & Consignment Boutique.
Melbourne: Natural Dyeing with A.BCH – The two-part workshop intensive will teach you the art of embroidery and natural dye techniques like shibori and resist stitching. You’ll go home with a custom-made, previously unreleased A.BCH tee made of hemp and organic cotton.
Newcastle: WhoMadeMyClothes Walking Trail– This walking trail takes you across Newcastle city, bringing to attention the business owner-operators, designers and craftspeople that are ‘manufacturing’ in-store and on-site.
Fashion Revolution is a non-profit run mostly by volunteers so they rely on our support to keep this vital movement going. You can support them financially by either donating here or by purchasing the fanzine. This year’s issue focuses on craft as culture, discussing why it’s so important to honour and celebrate crafts and artisans and the challenges of retaining cultural heritage in the 21st century. You can buy issue four here.
Kira Simpson is an environmentalist and sustainability expert. She started The Green Hub as a blog in 2015, which has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest education sites dedicated to helping people live a more sustainable lifestyle.