The Or Foundation
Today [22 April 2020] marks 50 years of Earth Day. The theme for this year is Climate Action. Many people continue to ignore this but "climate change represents the biggest challenge for the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable." - Earth Day Organisation
Protecting the environment is everyone's duty (yes, it starts with you) but fashion as an industry should pay even more attention to this. With the rise of fast fashion, clothes have become more disposable over the years, making fashion the second most polluting industry in the world (second only to oil).
At THE FASHION BLUEPRINT we seek to explore ways in which we can create and wear the beautiful clothes we love so much, whilst still looking after the environment as much as possible. So we are very much excited to take part in the Fashion Revolution and push for a more sustainable future.
Who, What, Where is Fashion Revolution?
Fashion Revolution is a not-for-profit global movement which campaigns for systemic reform of the fashion industry, with a focus on the need for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain. The organisation celebrates fashion as a positive influence while also scrutinising industry practices and raising awareness of the fashion industry's most pressing issues. So basically what this means is that they hold brands accountable for their garment production and overall fashion footprint. Their aim is to show that change is possible and to encourage those who are on a journey to create a more ethical and sustainable future. They call themselves ‘pro-fashion protesters’ as their love for fashion is the whole reason why they want to see it become a force for good, not evil.
“We believe in a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure.” – Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution Week is their #whomademyclothes campaign in April, with the purpose of encouraging brands and producers to respond with the hashtag and demonstrate transparency in their supply chain. In 2014-2018, millions of people around the world called on brands to answer the question ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ with the hashtag #whomademyclothes becoming the no.1 global trend on Twitter. The campaign falls on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse.
Fashion's sustainability problem
The Rana Plaza was a factory complex in Savar, Bangladesh which housed 5 garment factories, making clothes for some of the biggest global fashion brands (e.g. Primark, Matalan, Mango, Benetton, Bonmarche and others). When it collapsed on 24th April 2013, it killed more than 1100 people and injured another 2500, becoming the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. In the aftermath, survivors said that the event was preventable. They had been complaining to their supervisors that they were afraid to enter the building and continue working as it was hazardous and it was showing cracks. In the days leading up to the collapse, the retail shops and banks on the ground floor shut down their operations – the garment workers however were ignored. The majority of the 5,000 workers inside of the factory were women.
No one should die for fashion. This unfortunate event highlighted an ongoing sustainability issue within the fashion industry – that of overconsumption in the Western world, which led to overproduction and exploitation of human labour in the Far East, where the majority of our clothes are made. Around the world, the people who make our clothes predominantly live in poverty, lacking a living wage or the freedom to negotiate for their pay and working conditions. According to the Global Slavery Index (2018), the garment industry is the second most predominant sector driving modern slavery. Since the Rana Plaza disaster, Fashion Revolution began to campaign with citizens, brands and policymakers to demand a fairer and safer fashion industry. People from around the world have since been using their voice and their power to make these demands. Brands are becoming more open about where their clothes are made and the impact their materials are having on the environment. Manufacturers have been attempting to make their factories safer and give their employees a voice. Designers are considering both people and the planet when creating new garments. It seems like the industry is listening and taking action, but the campaign continues until the Manifesto for a Fashion Revolution has been accomplished.
During Fashion Revolution Week (and thereafter), we want to challenge everyone to post outfit pictures and tag the brands they're wearing with the hashtag #whomademyclothes. We're in this together, transparency is the future.
Find out more at www.fashionrevolution.org Written by Giovanna Vieira Co, 2020