This week is Fashion Revolution Week for 2020, a global movement advocating for a safer, fairer and more-transparent fashion industry. Here’s how you can help to spread the message.
TEXT: BEA TAYLOR
From the 20 to 26 April, Fashion Revolution Week is in full force. This movement fights for a safer, fairer and more-transparent fashion industry through conversation and education. It’s something increasingly being brought to the fore, and in a time where the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are impacting all parts of the industry chain, it seems more relevant than ever.
Fashion Revolution is the world’s largest fashion activism movement and founded seven years ago, following the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh on 24 April 2013. On this day, a building in Bangladesh, which housed a number of garment factories caved in killing more than 1,100 workers and injuring 2,500, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. In the following days after the collapse, it came out that multiple workers had told their supervisors they were afraid to enter the building due to its hazardous conditions. In short, this tragedy was preventable.
The ever-alarming economic impact of Covid-19 has led major brands and retailers to shut up shop and cancel supplier payments and orders, without taking responsibility for the workers in their supply chains who mostly lack sick pay, paid leave, adequate health care nor have savings to fall back on. Thus far, more than one million garment workers in Bangladesh have already lost their jobs due to order cancellations and the failure of buyers to pay for cancelled shipments related to Covid-19.
This year’s campaign focuses on four key pillars: Consumption (our habits), Composition (what our clothes are made of), Conditions (where are how are clothes are made) and Collective Action (what consumers, the industry and the government can do).
What can you do?
This movement relies on conversation and education, so the best thing you can do is make some noise around it; your voice can change everything.
This is the time to ask your favourite brands #WhoMadeMyClothes? It’s a demand for greater transparency and will hopefully inspire those brands to join the conversation and share stories of their workers and makers through the hashtag #IMadeYourClothes.
This year, #WhoMadeMyClothes and #IMadeYourClothes are joined by another hashtag; #WhatsInMyClothes? This thought-starter shines a light on the nasty, hidden substances in our clothing and asks brands to consider eliminating virgin plastics and help prevent microplastic pollution to protect our earth and oceans.
Whilst we are in isolation, we are more able and willing than ever to join the online community of fashion revolutionaries and amplify our voices by speaking up together. It’s time to take a look at our own wardrobes and understand what our clothes are made of, and more importantly, understand what our favourite brands are making our clothes with.
Did you know, buying one new white cotton shirt produces the same emissions as driving a car 56km?
The final hashtag to be employed during this week is #LovedClothesLast. This is a chance to share a clothing love story and start a conversation on how to care for and mend garments in order to keep them in your wardrobe and out of the landfill.
In addition to spreading the conversation across social media, visit the Fashion Revolution website to read the fifth edition of their Fashion Transparency Index. It covers 250 of the world’s biggest fashion brands and retailers to show which ones are leading the way on transparency, which ones have seen the greatest improvement in their scores, and where there is more work to be done.
Whilst you’re on the website, use their platform to send an email to a brand or donate to the cause.
But above all, make your voice heard. This pro-fashion movement is action-orientated and solution focused, they favour education and discussion to help people recognise they have the power to make positive change. Let’s help spread the message.