If you are part of the fashion industry or a consumer concerned about the working conditions in sweatshops and the environmental climate you must know about Fashion Revolution.
This week (19th to 25th) is 2021’s Fashion Revolution Week. The movement has been demanding transparency from brands, asking for better working conditions, environmental responsibility, and revolutionizing the fashion industry.
How Did Fashion Revolution Begin?
The search for responsibility, ethics, and transparency throughout the fashion industry has been growing over the past few years. Since 2014, the Fashion Revolution has been expanding this discussion with fashion producers, brands, and consumers. It is now in more than 90 countries.
Fashion Revolution is composed by fashion designers, teachers, students, press professionals, and consumers. The movement started in the United Kingdom after the Rana Plaza disaster. Its goal is to raise awareness about the true cost of clothing, and, also, seek sustainable solutions for the future of the fashion industry. With that, creating an index, and work in a long-term strategy to change the industry’s reality when it comes to environmental and social issues.
The Fashion Revolution Awakening: Rana Plaza Disaster
On April 24th, 2013, a building in Bangladesh, called Rana Plaza, collapsed. The disaster left 1,133 dead and another 2,500 people injured. It is considered one of the biggest tragedies in the fashion industry today.
At the time of the accident, the building housed more than 5000 employees. They were working in an illegal sweatshop responsible for supplying world-famous fast fashion brands.
In all, eight people were arrested for their direct involvement in the tragedy, including the building owner. Some brands even took responsibility and promised to provide support to victims and their families, but the help did not arrive effectively, even after so many years. The case gained international repercussion in the media and was documented in the feature The True Cost (2015).
Fast Fashion and Modern Day Slavery: Everything For The Profit
According to The New York Times, Bangladesh is among the cheapest countries to produce clothes, along with Vietnam and India. More than 4.4 million people, in which most of them are women, work in its 3,000 factories, where the minimum wage is around 32 cents an hour, or $68 a month.
Brands take advantage of this kind of situation to profit about $ 30 billion in “ready to wear clothing” without worrying about the working conditions of these people. This practice makes Bangladesh the second-largest clothing manufacturing center in the world, only after China.
But, What Is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion can be defined as cheap, trendy clothing. It takes what we see on the fashion shows and what has been used by celebrities and turns them into garments in a really fast way to meet consumers’ demands who are often focused on quantity and purchasing speed.
To sum it up, fast fashion goes along with the obscure part of the “See now, buy now” way of producing and selling. The idea is to get the newest styles on the market as fast and as cheap as possible. But how can clothing be so cheap? Well, someone is paying a tough price for it.
Therefore, Fashion Revolution was born to unmask these brands so that consumers start demanding transparency. Debates on this topic have become essential to bring about the necessary changes in the industry. That’s what Carry Somers, co-founder of Fashion Revolution, stated at the Fashinnovation Worldwide Talks 2020.
The #WhoMadeMyClothes movement was founder through Fashion Revolution. The hashtag stands up for workers’ rights. It also invites fashion consumers to demand transparency from brands when it comes to those behind the clothes making.
Around the world, people started posting photos on their social media. They show clothing labels and ask the companies who were responsible for that garment and what their workers’ conditions are like.
The #WhoMadeMyClothes emphasizes how important it is to educate consumers. With information, they can be aware of the reality and with that, ask for transparency and change their consuming practices. As we always say here at Fashinnovation, with information we will change the fashion industry.
Fashion Revolution Week
Every year, on the week surrounding April 24th – Rana Plaza’s disaster anniversary – Fashion Revolution evocates for a conscientization week.
This year’s event is a call for Human Rights, Relationships, and Revolution. “Human rights and the rights of nature are interconnected and interdependent. We are part of the wider living world and our right to a healthy environment depends on the health of our planet”, stated the event organizers.
In this edition, they are emphasizing that brands need to change their relationships with each other. By replacing competition with collaboration to solve the major challenges and issues faced by the industry. Check out their social media for more information regarding Fashion Revolution Week and how to take part in it.
“Sustainable Fashion: What It Means and Why We Should Care”
On April 20th, Fashinnovation’s co-founder, Jordana Guimarães, took part in one of Fashion Revolution Week’s online panels. Olivia Smith moderated the talk and some amazing people joined the conversation as well. Such as Marci Zaroff, founder and CEO of ECOfashion Corp, and Ian Berry, Art in Denim. But also, Julie Verdugo, director of Sustainability & Social Impact at Free People, and Stacey Anderson, founder of KENT compostable line.
The panelists discussed a lot about the importance of conscious consumption. Along with that, they talked about how educating and raising awareness among the end consumer can be a game-changer.
According to Guimarães, inspiration is what triggers the change that the fashion industry needs. By inspiring the end consumers, showing how sustainability can be transformative, the transformation will be more incisive. When planting the seed of revolution in people’s hearts, they will start demanding from brands a sustainable and socially responsible position.
Marci Zaroff, one of the inspiring voices on the panel, has already been part of two of our events. In 2020, she was part of the panel that discussed how brands need to be aware of their whole supply chain. And, in 2021’s event, Zaroff talked about how possible and essential it is to build an ethical, equal, and empowered industry.
Did you enjoy this article? Talking about sustainability is the first step to raise awareness, inspire people and make the change needed. But, why is this change so important? An example is consumers’ lack of awareness and excruciating disposal of clothing. Because of that, textile waste is an issue worldwide and in NYC the situation is critical. Check out our article about that! To sum up, that’s why we keep emphasizing that with information, we will build a better world for everyone.
By Júlia Vilaça