With less than two weeks to go until Fashion Revolution Day, I thought it time to reflect on the upcoming global event and what it means to ethical fashion advocates (like myself) and those looking to clean up the fashion industry.
Why do we have a Fashion Revolution Day ?
It all began on April 24 2013. The worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh would play out on our TV screens with 24/7 coverage on social media platforms. There was a global outcry as the Rana Plaza building in collapsed and in its wake, 1134 deaths along with 2500 people injured.
Most who died were garment workers. And then day by day, reports came out that made us sick with rage. That the management teams so hell bent on making profits and achieving production commitments, would disregard structural concerns raised by building engineers. That rather than facing loss of productivity and profit, they would lock the garment workers in the building so they had no choice but to work as they had no way of escaping.
That this grim event would occur in Bangladesh, a city with more than 5000 garment factories seemed pre-destined. For a too brief moment, Rana Plaza showed the world all that is wrong with fast fashion. The Western world finally came face-to-face with the Frankenstein monster it had created - an insatiable desire for cheap clothes on the back of low wages and the exploitation of our world's poorest.
But ethical fashion advocates Co-founders Orsola De Castro and Carry Somers did not want the Rana Plaza collapse to go down in history as just another tragic event. They wanted to use this event as a catalyst for lasting change.
Now that the world was finally paying attention, these two women were determined for the world not to forget what they'd just witnessed.
And so it was that Fashion Revolution Day was born.
Fashion Revolution Day is not just a day to commemorate the many lives lost at the Rana Plaza factory collapse. It's also a day where we speak up for the many voiceless garment victims who continue to work in inhumane and unsafe conditions.
It's a day where we fight for the rights of our environment.
It's a day where we not only demand transparency and accountability, but seek reforms to improve the fashion industry as a whole.
Related Post: Why Gen Z Will Lead the Ethical Fashion Revolution
Want to get involved?
Over the last couple of years, it's been people like you and I who've helped this campaign go viral. And you can be certain that's what I'm aiming for again this year.
Whether you're a fashion blogger, a fair trade advocate, a concerned parent or a compassionate earth citizen - we're encouraging you to take part in Fashion Revolution Day on April 24 2016.
There's just 3 simple things you need to do:
- Show the label of the garment you're wearing. You can wear it inside out, back to front whatever tickles your fancy, so long as the label is showing.
- Take a photo of you showing your label. By all means do a selfie if you need to.
- Then publish your pic on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter - the social media platforms of your choosing - and tag the brand as well as @Fash_Rev with the hashtag #whomademyclothes?
We know that Fashion Revolution Day ignites open and frank dialogue about who makes our clothes. Having been involved in events over the last several years, its wonderful to see so many people take part on the day, go to the trouble of wearing something inside out, taking a photo (or selfie) and then tagging the fashion brand asking who made the clothes.
It is the collective demand for transparency which is the point of the whole exercise, and in fact, the point of the entire day.
Related Post: Why Sustainability Matters: Back to Basics
Public displays of aversion.
Here's something else you may want to consider: Why not tell brands why you DON'T purchase their clothes?
Choosing an ethical brand over a socially irresponsible one is the right course of action, but I still think it's just as important to explain to a fast fashion brand why you don't purchase their clothing. It's important they know what influenced you to purchase something other than their brand.
Because if you don't, the brand may think that their poor sales is due to a lack of interest in their designs and collections. You see, most brands can only guess at why sales are plummeting. For them to have qualitative data, you need to tell them the truth: You don't purchase their brand because they use sweatshops/contract dodgy garment factories known for exploitation/use fabrics that contribute to environmental damage/or all of the above.
Believe it or not, fashion brands actually like feedback. Positive or negative, it gives them an idea of what they’re doing right or wrong. I've worked with many fashion labels over the years and I know this to be true. They will listen.
And what if they listen but don't take any action to address your concerns?
Well that's an entirely different matter. In that case, you can always come to me and I'll be happy to write an expose on the matter and share it far and wide 🙂
Anyway, if you'd like to join in on this year's Fashion Revolution Day, or want to be a part of the Fashion Revolution Week April 18-24, head to www.fashionrevolution.org. You'll find plenty of information on events and other ways you can help to spread awareness on the website. There's also free resources including branded images and e-books that you can use to help promote the cause.
So with all that said, are you ready for the Fashion Revoution?