1138 people died and thousands more injured and left without families.
There were five garment factories in Rana Plaza all manufacturing clothing for big global brands. The victims were mostly young women.
Fashion Revolution is campaign launched in the wake of this tragedy to shine a light on the serious lack of ethics in the fashion industry and change the way our clothes are produced.
It’s is about collective consumer power to make brands become accountable for their supply chains and the people who work within them.
"People from all over the world have come together to use the power of fashion to change the world."
Have you ever wondered who made 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, 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 needs to change
Image: The Guardian
Image: Ethical Consumer
What you can do
1. Get educated
The first step to creating change is to know what you are fighting for. Read the stories of the lives of garment workers and learn about the conditions under which they work.
2. Ask brands #whomademyclothes
Turn your clothes inside out to show the label, upload a photo of yourself to social media, tag the brand then use the hashtags #whomademyclothes and #fashionrevolution. By asking brands publicly and directly this shows them consumers care about the how their clothes are being made.
3. Attend an event
There are some fantastic Fashion Revolution events happening around Australia and the world this next week. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the issues and meet likeminded people. You can find the list here.
4. Send an email
Social media is a great place to get a brand’s attention but writing a letter is another way to show brands that you want answers and shady business practices are not ok. Demand transparency from the brands you wear. As a consumer you have the right to know how your purchases are made. Voting with your dollar is the most powerful way you can make an impact. Fashion Revolution have awesome templates you can use. All you have to is add your name and send the email.
While we should be mindful of what we are buying all year round, this is one week where brands will be inundated with people like you and me asking the tough questions and demanding they do better.
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.