Who Made My Clothes? Fashion Revolution Week
With our world becoming increasingly conscious of our global impact, the question of sustainable fashion often comes into play. We vote with our dollars, and unfortunately for most of us who love a good steal, our purchases often endorse child labor and other unfavorable supply channels and working conditions.
In the spirit of conscious fashion, UK based Fashion Revolution promotes transparency of brands in the fashion industry and conscious shopping, with events throughout April. Established after the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse (which killed 1134 people in Bangladesh), Fashion Revolution is making it their mission to change the fashion industry at large.
Fashion Revolution is one of the most well researched and well put together groups I have honestly ever come across. The current issue they are tackling is transparency between brands and shoppers, championing the simple question of "Who Made My Clothes?" in their mission to increase transparency over the next five years. For a bunch of eye-opening information the organization has compiled, check out their Fashion Transparency Index for 2017.
With 80% of the approximately 75 million people who work to make our clothes being women between the ages of 18 and 35 and the majority of these workers being subject to poverty, exploitation, and unsafe conditions, the way we produce and source clothes needs to stop. Fashion Revolution has broken this change down into three steps:
Model - The Business of Fashion
Due to the capitalistic economy in which the fashion industry thrives, rapid scale ups over the past couple decades have led to more frequent and deadlier factory conditions and disasters. Despite cost raises for energy and labor, our clothes have become cheaper than ever before, indicative of a flawed system. Fashion Revolution "believes that the whole fashion industry needs a radical paradigm shift and that the way that we produce and consume clothes needs to be transformed."
Material - People & Planet
Fashion Revolution points out that "Human rights abuses and environmental degradation remains rife. The harsh reality is that basic health and safety measures do not exist for many of the people working in fashion’s supply chains. The legal minimum wage in most garment-producing countries is rarely enough for workers to live on." In order to make a change in this industry, we need to start valuing those who make our clothes and fight for their basic rights.
Likewise, the clothing industry generates a huge impact on the environment, and we need to revolutionize the industry in hopes for a sustainable future. "The chemicals used to grow, dye, launder and treat our clothes end up polluting rivers. A huge amount of water is used to produce garments through growing cotton and through wet processing, such as dyeing and laundering. And finally, clothing accounts for around 3% of global production of CO2 emissions, according to The Carbon Trust."
Mindset - Shifting the Way We Think About Fashion
The final point Fashion Revolution makes deals with the consumer mindset around much of the fast fashion industry. They state that:
"The way we consume clothing has changed a lot over the past 20-30 years too. We buy more clothes than we used to and spend less on them. A century ago, we spent more than half our money on food and clothes, today we spend less than a fifth. As a society we purchase 400% more clothing today than we did just 20 years ago. Every time we buy something that costs less than we think it should, we are implicit in the impacts of that transaction.
We need to break our addiction to the need for speed and volume. We need to realise the true cost of our cheap bargains. Ultimately, we need to buy less, buy better and keep asking questions about the realities behind what we’re purchasing. We need to love the clothes we already own more and work harder to make them last."
In the spirit of making a change, here is a link of ways you can do something to help change the global fashion scheme! Show your labels, ask your brands, and start the change towards a more transparent and fair fashion industry.
All quotes and images via Fashion Revolution.