Fashion Revolution Week is on April 23rd – 29th 2018 and asks everyone to use their voices to demand change from the fashion industry. Image supplied.
Have you ever given much thought to who makes the clothes you wear every day, how much they’re paid or what their lives are like? This week is Fashion Revolution Week and from April 23rd – 29th people around the globe are encouraged to ask fashion brands the seemingly simple but very important question ‘Who made my clothes?’. The aim is to raise awareness and create change in the fashion industry for the millions of workers who live in poverty. Fashion Revolution is about greater transparency, sustainability and ethics throughout the fashion business ensuring each step of the supply chain is fair and brands are held accountable for their actions.
April 24th marks five years since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh where 1,138 garment factory workers were killed when the building they were working in collapsed because it was unsafe. This horrific tragedy made headline news worldwide and shone a spotlight on the awful conditions that millions of workers are subjected to in order to make clothes for many big fashion brands.
Fashion Revolution was created as a response to the tragedy and quickly grew into a global movement with more and more consumers asking #whomademyclothes? Now, in 2018 those voices are continuing to grow and demand change and the fashion industry is listening. The #imadeyourclothes responses to that question are showing that there are many brands who are making garments ethically and do care about the workers who are making their products but there are still many brands, especially big brands that aren’t doing enough. We need a fashion revolution because the current system is inherently flawed and there are approximately 75 million people working to make our clothes that are greatly affected by it. 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35.
The intense global demand for new clothing has put huge stress on a system that was never designed to cope with such massive volumes of clothing and an earth that is being destroyed by the effects of it. We now buy far more clothing than we need or wear and the amount that goes to landfill each year continues to increase exponentially. As a society we purchase 400% more clothing today than we did just twenty years ago. With every purchase of a ‘cheap’ piece of clothing that costs less than it should we are contributing to the problem and the human and environmental costs are higher than we realise.
Fashion is the number two polluter in the world behind the oil industry and the documentary The True Cost explores the human and environmental costs behind consumers seemingly insatiable desire for constant newness. It’s highly recommended viewing for anyone interested in finding out more about how clothing is really made and brings up important issues around major fast fashion brands like H&M who are generating gross profits at a huge cost to people and the environment.
This movement is all about change and it’s something that every single one of us can do something about. Asking your favourite brand #whomademyclothes is a great place to start. The more of us that use our voices to ask, the more fashion brands have to listen and provide answers. We can also do our research and find out more about the brands we love buying from, many brands have ethical policies on their websites and have created blog posts and info showing who makes your clothes and how they are produced. Cutting down our consumption is also important and yes, I know that sounds ironic coming from a fashion website but we are not suggesting you buy everything we write about. We see it as providing inspiration for how you can dress and we support many local brands who do produce their garments ethically which is part of our core values here at FashioNZ. We work with many local brands like Sabatini, Désirée Clothing, Caroline Sills and Optimum Knitwear to name just a few who all produce garments ethically and there are many more who do too. There are lots of ways to enjoy the experience of new clothes like upcycling, clothes swapping, op-shopping or renting something special instead of buying it.
During this week there are lots of events going on NZ that you can get involved in like panel discussions, film screenings, clothing swap sessions, upcycling workshops and more. You can find a list of local events here. We will be checking out a Join the Fashion Revolution event hosted by ethical brand Outliv that local brands Luu Studio, The Heartspeak Collective, Oki For All, Selector Clothing, The Loyal Workshop and Maggie Marilyn are participating in which includes a screening of The True Cost.
However you choose to support the Fashion Revolution don’t be afraid to make your voice heard, as together we have power and can create a fairer, more ethical fashion industry. As much as we love fashion, our clothes shouldn’t come at the cost of people or the environment. Every purchase we make is essentially a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.