Fashion Revolution Week asks #whomademyclothes. Image supplied.
Fashion Revolution Week is here and from Monday 18th to Sunday 24th April fashion fans will be calling on local and international brands to demonstrate their commitment to making the fashion industry fairer and more ethical for all involved. The issues raised include the transparency of supply chains, ensuring that no workers are exploited or work in dangerous conditions from the farms to the factories where fabrics and garments are produced. The week also celebrates those labels that are committed to sustainable and ethical practices that will help make the fashion industry better going forward, among them are many of our favourite local brands too.
So why should you care? Well, every item of clothing you buy is essentially a vote for the kind of world you want to live in and as consumers we have the right to know who is making our clothes. Would you willingly support companies that are guilty of exploitation, mass pollution and human rights violations? I’m sure the answer to that is no and the thing is we have no way of really knowing whether our favourite brands are guilty of any of these things at the moment and some of them don’t necessarily know either, as their own factories may be obeying the rules but perhaps where they source fabric from isn’t. According to the Australian Fashion Report in 2015, 91% of companies surveyed did not know where their cotton comes from and 75% did not know the source of all their fabrics. Part of what Fashion Revolution Week is for is to encourage brands to investigate their own supply chains and change any practices that are unethical or exploitative so they can answer their customers questions with integrity and clear up any doubt about who has questionable ethics.
How did Fashion Revolution Week come about? It was established in 2013 after 1133 people were killed when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 24th 2013. The disaster also injured 2500 people, many who were left as amputees. However, what happened at Rana Plaza was both predictable and preventable, but never should have happened in the first place. Since 2013, Fashion Revolution has become a global movement which advocates for greater transparency, traceablility and environmental responsibility in the fashion supply chain and it’s growing in support every year.
In 2015, Fashion Revolution had support from people in over 75 countries who took part to show they cared about who made their clothes. Fashion Revolution Day on April 24 achieved an online media reach of 16.5 billion, with over 60 million unique users and 124 million impressions of #whomademyclothes. There were also over 350 events held around the world to support the movement as well. It now has a presence in 88 countries with this year set to be the biggest yet with a series of global events and online initiatives to unite fashion fans and encorage everyone to be more curious about the stories behind the clothes they wear.
“Fashion Revolution has continued to amass a groundswell of support from around the world year on year with tens of thousands of people taking part so we know consumers care about the provenance of their purchases. We hope our movement continues to provide an opportunity for genuine change in how brands view their responsibility towards the makers of their garments as well as the environments they are made in” says Melinda Tually, Fashion Revolution Australian and New Zealand Co-ordinator.
How can you get involved? The answer is by asking the important question of ‘who made my clothes?’ Between 18 – 24 April turn an item of clothing you love inside out showing the label, photograph it & share it on social media, follow and tag the brand and ask them #whomademyclothes. It may seem like a small thing but it’s an act of solidarity with all those who work in fashion, from designers to cotton farmers, and those who care about what’s going on in the garment industry and the unethical practices that have to stop. There is always power in numbers and together we can demand greater transparency from brands. Let’s not forget that Fashion Revolution Week is also to celebrate those who are doing creative, ethical and sustainable things in fashion and working to make the garment industry a fairer one. So, this week, make sure you ask your favourite brand ‘who made my clothes?’ you never know, the answer may surprise you.
Find out more on Fashion Revolution here.