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Since 2014, a group of global citizens has been raising awareness of clothing factory conditions since the collapse of the Rana Plaza faculty collapse. The rise in fair trade and ethically made brands has grown significantly since this accident. Fashion Revolution calls out well-known brands on HOW their clothes are made.
What is Fashion Revolution Week?
So, what exactly is Fashion Revolution Week? FRW is the #whomademyclothes campaign in April, which falls on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1138 people and injured many more on 24th April 2013. That is the day Fashion Revolution was born. During this week, brands and producers are encouraged to respond with the hashtag #imadeyourclothes and to demonstrate transparency in their supply chain.
Greenwashing in Fast Fashion
Ahead of Fashion Revolution this year, many brands came out with “sustainable” lines; Target, H&M, and Zara. The question remains who can produce a tee shirt for $5 and be paying their workers a fair wage in safe work environment while reducing their carbon footprint? (Spoiler Alert: No one.)
Fast Fashion cannot be sustainable if the goal is to produce so much, so often. Many of these brands have 52 seasons, that means new clothes every week in their stores. You cannot be sustainable when producing that much clothing. And H&M’s “Conscious” line is a laughable joke. There are many in the fashion industry that see any step in the right direction as good, but when it is marketed as the “See we are doing our part” without giving details on how their workers are treated shows it is in fact not them doing their part but a campaign to distract from the fact that they are not changing. It is not the consumer’s responsibility to do what a corporation could easily change for the benefit of the planet & people.
Why does “Who made my clothes” matter?
When we spend money we are casting a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. Do we want cheap, fast, and now? Or do we want quality, slow, and things that take time? When I think of quality, slow, and things that take time I’m reminded of my friend, Sara, who hand makes most of her clothes. She knits and is often knitting for herself or her family. She’ll be at church knitting away on socks, a new sweater, and at the same time sewing her self a new blouse. Things that take time, she and her family wear these pieces for years to come. And as her kids get older they pass down their sweaters, socks, and clothes to the next one.
When I think of “Who makes my clothes” I think of the artisan women in Nepal that have been rescued from sex trafficking that now are seamstresses with Elegantees. And Sseko Designs employs women, who are working towards University and supporting their family working full time to send their kids to school and put food on the table. And The Root Collective that works with small artisan workshops in Guatemala to provide jobs to the artisans who make the fabric, shoes, and bags they sell. You can directly impact artisan women’s lives when you shop small and buy ethically made. It is also unfair to force artisans into the spotlight, thanks to a recent post from Rachel Faller of Tonle, read her article HERE.
And since I don’t make my own clothes, I’m not that talented, I will choose to spend my money with those who are skilled in sewing and that treat their employees with respect, safe work conditions, and a living wage. You can see a whole list of brands that I encourage you to support HERE.
You can support small business & ethical fashion brands by sharing their work and content on social media, buying from them, and talking about how the pandemic is exasperating financial disparities in the world today.