What is Fashion Revolution week?
Seven years ago on the 24th of April, the garment-manufacturing building Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1134 people and injuring another 2,500. Since the deadliest garment factory accident in history, consumers around the globe have demanded a greater level of transparency about the steps the fashion industry is taking to protect the rights of garment makers around the globe.
Each year around the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, Fashion Revolution week shines a light on the steps needed to bring revolutionary change within the fashion industry. Fashion Revolution campaigns for a clean, safe, fair, transparent and accountable fashion industry â€“ a fashion industry that is able to lift people out of poverty, provide them with dignified livelihoods and conserve our planet. In other words, a fashion industry that values people and the planet over profit.
What will Fashion Revolution week 2020 focus on?
Fashion Revolution week 2020 comes amidst the COVID-19 crisis which has already led to many major brands and retailers shutting up shop and cancelling supplier orders and payments.
The trickle-down effect has been enormous, and more often than not, it is the workers within the supply chain that already live in poverty that are taking the brunt of the blow.
While the global pandemic is taking its own devastating toll, human rights abuses, modern slavery and environmental degradation email rife within the industry.
â€śIn the midst of this global pandemic, the need for citizens to hold brands and retailers to account is more pressing than ever before. Over the past weeks, we have seen the devastating impact of brandsâ€™ buying practices on some of the most vulnerable workers overseas. Now, more than ever, we need to keep asking #whomademyclothes and hold these brands, many of whom have made immense profits in recent years, to account for their actions,” says Carry Somers, Co-Founder and Global Operations Director of Fashion Revolution.
This year Fashion Revolution week will focus on four key areas:
According to Fashion Revolution, current estimates suggest that 150 billion new garments are produced annually. The rise of fast fashion has meant that now produce more clothing than what we need and many consumers are guilty of throwing garments away having worn them just once.
Fashion Revolution is calling on fashion lovers around the globe to change the way we think about fashionÂ â€“ to adopt new ways of engaging with and consuming fashion and engage with the brands that we love to encourage them brands to rethink linear business models in favour of more circular, environmentally friendly models.
While many of the fabrics that we wear on a day-to-day basis are made from precious natural resources, the ways in which these textiles are produced tend to have a massive environmental impact. From clothing that sheds plastic microbeads to harmful chemical dyeing processes, the way that we create and produce textiles and fashion need to change to ensure the safety of workers, wearers and generations to come.
According to the Hult Research & Ethical Trading Initiative, 77% of UK retailers believe there is a likelihood of modern slavery in their supply chain. Thie year, Fashion Revolution is calling for deeper transparency to help end modern slavery and uphold the human rights of everyone in the fashion supply chain.
From poor working conditions, gender equality and the devastating impact that the current fashion industry model has on the planet, the fashion industry continues to exploit people and resources. We have a stronger voice when we unite which is why Fashion Revolution wants everyone to join together this week and advocate for change within the industry.
How can I get involved?
It’s easy to get involved with Fashion Revolution week. The first thing you can do is start a dialogue with friends, family and the brands that you buy.
Post a selfie on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag the brand that you’re wearing and ask them#WhoMadeMyClothes #WhatsInMyClothes.
Let Fashion Revolution know how brands respond by tagging them @fash_rev.
Not into posting selfies? Fair enough. Why not write your favourite brands an email asking them the same questions? If the brand responds, consider asking them some specific questions about gender equality, fair pay, safe working conditions and C02 emissions.
For the fashion industry to change, policymakers need to shift their thinking too. Write a letter to your local government â€“ you can use the Fashion Revolution postcard for policymakers template here.
Main image: Siblings Army.Â