Editor-in-chief of the Ethical Fashion Forum, Sarah Ditty, says it’s up to all of us to make the changes that can help lead to a fashion revolution.
It has been more than two years since the Rana Plaza factory collapsed killed and injured thousands of garment workers. The people crushed under those eight storeys made clothing for familiar international fashion brands. The victims were mostly young women.
That was the day Fashion Revolution was born. Since then, people across the world from all walks of life have come together to change the industry. We have grown into a truly global movement with groups in more than 80 countries.
We are designers, academics, writers, business leaders, policymakers, NGOs, brands, retailers, designers, marketers, producers, makers, workers, consumers, activists and normal everyday people. We are fashion lovers, and we want to tell a different story about the clothes we wear. We want to see fashion become a force for good.
Though the Rana Plaza disaster is no longer on the front pages of the news or at the forefront of our minds, millions of the people who make our clothes still work in perilous, exploitative conditions – in Bangladesh and other developing countries, but also right here in the UK too. According to a recent study from
the Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability, 36 leading brands in the UK believe there is a likelihood of modern slavery occurring at some stage of their supply chains.
Millions of people work in the fashion industry. The industry can and should work better for all of them.
From human rights abuses and poverty level wages, to water, waste, energy, overconsumption and many other exploitative practices, the fashion industry is in desperate need of transformational, systemic change.
Our big aspiration is to ignite a global revolution to radically change the way fashion is sourced, produced and purchased.We believe that three key things need to be addressed:
1. THE BUSINESS MODEL
Fashion is now one of the most globalised industries. A single product may span multiple continents before reaching the shop floor. Hidden behind that complexity is exploitation and a lack of accountability. We need to rethink how the industry works. We need to rethink the model.
2. MATERIAL USE
Fashion has a huge, and often negative, social and environmental impact. The production of clothing and the way we take care of our clothes after we buy them uses up a lot of land, water, energy, chemicals, and produces too much waste. We consume and throw away clothes at faster rates than ever before. We need to be smarter about our resources; they will not last forever.
If we want to see a better future for fashion, we are going to have to change the way we think about what we wear and why we wear it. We need to love our clothes more. We need to know the stories about how our clothes have been made and by whom.We need to look at them as precious heirlooms and as trusted friends.
Knowledge, information, honesty. These three things have the power to transform the industry, and it starts with one simple question: who made my clothes?
We believe this simple question has the power to push the industry to be more transparent. If brands and retailers are encouraged to answer this question, they must take a closer look at their supply chains.
We believe that greater transparency will help to uncover human and environmental abuses and that these exploitative practices will diminish as a result. Fashion Revolution wants to see an industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure. We believe it is everyone’s responsibility to make this future a reality. Whether you are someone who buys and wears fashion (that’s pretty much everyone) or you work in the industry along the supply chain somewhere, or if you’re a policymaker who can have an impact on legal requirements, you are accountable for the impact fashion has on people’s lives and on nature. It is up to you to make a change.We invite you to become a Fashion Revolutionary.
Calling all fashion revolutionaries!
As part of the European Year for Development and launched for the Fashion Revolution Arts & Speaker tour, we have published a booklet full of inspiration and ideas about how you can use your voice and your power to transform the fashion industry as we know it. From playing the Fashion Revolution Trump Card game, to a list of films you should watch, to making, mending, swapping and renting clothing, the activities you will find in the “How To Be a Fashion Revolutionary” booklet are designed to get you thinking, to get you asking questions and to change the way you shop.
Download the “How To Be A Fashion Revolutionary” booklet for free: www.fashionrevolution.org
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Photo Credit: Farrukh from Flickr.