10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
First things first, how did Fashion Revolution start? Do you know about the Rana Plaza factory disaster? The Fashion Revolution movement began in the wake of Rana Plaza, which is considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history. When the 8 story factory collapsed, it killed 1138 people and injured another 2500 injured – most of whom young women. The factory was manufacturing clothing for many the global brands that we all know, and sometimes love.
1. No One Should Die For Fashion. The Rana Plaza tragedy revealed to the world the reality of human exploitation involved in the fashion industry. Just a day before the disaster, workers had complained about huge cracks in the building but were told they would not be paid if they didn’t turn up to work in the morning.
2. The Human Side of Fashion. Inhumane hours and dollar-a-day wages are pervasive across the garment-manufacturing industry. In Guangdong, China, for instance, young women work more than 150 hours each month, with no contract and no access to social insurance. Read Garment Worker Diaries here.
3. Kids at work: It is estimated that 168 million child labourers are involved in the garment manufacturing industry. This means that millions of children are both exploited and denied a childhood because of the West’s appetite for fast fashion.
4. Fast fashion costs the Earth: The fashion industry is grossly polluting. We have seen rivers stripped of fish and filled with microfibres, harmful chemicals, dyes and toxic waste. While on land much of the cotton produced to make our shirts have been grown with pesticides that poison both the earth and the farmers who grow it.
5. How much water is in our clothes? Water consumption is part of what makes the production of fast fashion so unsustainable. It takes 6000 litres to make a single pair of jeans and a T-shirt. It is estimated that the average American owns 8.3 pair of jeans alone. Think of the water consumption involved. And that’s not even taking into account the water we use to wash them over and over again.
6. Carbon Footprint: Our clothes account for around 3% of global CO2 emissions. A single product can travel across two or even three continents before arriving at your local high street.
7. What does Fashion Revolution stand for? Fashion Revolution is a global resistance movement calling for a safer, fairer, cleaner fashion industry. Fashion Revolution asks the big players in the fashion industry to take responsibility, to conserve and restore our environment as well as giving people, especially women, a voice. It demands the fashion industry to provide dignity in work is the standard and not an exception.
8. Who is Fashion Revolution? First and foremost they are pro-fashion protesters. If you want your clothes to make you feel proud in express who you are, rather than guilty about the cost of the planet and people involved, then you are a Fashion Revolutionary too! In the aftermath of Rana Plaza, Fashion Revolution asked a huge question: “Who made my clothes?” Now it’s a question being asked far and wide, and you can ask it too.
9. Brands are beginning to listen. Since the movement exploded in 2013, thousands of brands have published factory lists. More than 1,3000 factories have been inspected and 1.8 million garment workers have received factory safety information. Working conditions are improving and some wages are increasing too. The Bangladesh government has delivered a 77% increase in the minimum wage to $68 per month for garment workers (still far from the living wage).
10. There is still so much to be done. While brands may sign up to every accord going, set up recycling initiatives and pledge to use better cotton when it comes to the crunch, they still want to make more clothes – and cheaper.
EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
5 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
1. Write to your MP. Did you know that 235 million items get thrown away every year in the UK? Ask your government or local authority for more ways to recycle & repair old clothes and shoes!
2. Join other campaigns. There are a lot of organisations focused on raising awareness about the true costs of fast fashion, you can help by following their campaigns, joining the discussion and heading to events with friends!
4. Demand transparency! Ask your favourite brands “Who made my clothes?” Get to know where your clothes come from, who made them and how. If you have doubts about particular aspects of their supply chain be sure to ask about it. Email your fav brand here.
5. Look at the label – it will tell you more than you might expect. Get knowledgable about your clothes – what materials they are made from? By whom? How far has your garment travelled to be with you here, now?
5. Support your local. Buy from local brands that are passionate about sustainability. You can bet those guys are working hard to make a change, even if it’s just at a local level! #smallisbeautiful
5 WAYS TO SHOP THAT DON’T COST THE EARTH.
1. Buy Sustainably: As a small lingerie business committed to ethical production, we know that clothes can be made with great care for people & the environment. We’re delighted to be featured on Revival Collective’s Ethical Map of Brighton. You can download the map right here!
2. Swap it & Love it! Ever tried a clothes swap? This is literally the best way to spend a free afternoon with your friends. It’s the fashion lover’s ultimate feel-good activity allowing you to get rid of unwanted items (often for me it’s the things that I love, but let’s-get-real rarely wear) and in exchange, you get to pick up a whole new wardrobe! We love the seasonal Brighton Clothes Swaps hosted by @revivalcollective and the London ‘Switches’ by @storiesbehindthings
3. Rent: If you can’t afford the latest trends but love the idea of Designer – this (relatively new) option is for you! You can rent your fav item, wear it and love it, and return it once you’re done. Fancy renting? Check these guys out: oprent.com / wearthewalk.co.uk / higher.studio
4. Go charity shopping: We all love a bargain right?! Shopping at a charity shops does good on many levels – it won’t hurt your wallet, the money you do spend goes to charity, plus you get to find a bit of treasure that might otherwise end up in landfill!
5. Buy vintage: Vintage fashion – it’s all the rage, and for good reason. Often vintage finds come with exquisite tailoring and stunning detail, and you’ll probably notice the quality of the fabric is way better than the stuff in your high street too!