BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 26 April '17

Who’s reaping fashion’s rewards, and who’s getting a bad deal?

People all round the world are being asked to challenge brands #whomademyclothes for Fashion Revolution Week (24-30 April), and demand greater transparency to help improve the working conditions and wages of the people who work to make our clothes.

About 75 million people work directly in the fashion and textiles industry. Many are subject to exploitation – from verbal and physical abuse to unsafe working conditions – with very little pay.

Remembering Rana Plaza

On 24 April 2013, 1138 people were killed and 2500 injured when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This tragic incident has ignited an ongoing global call for revolutionary change in the fashion industry.

Despite some steps forward since the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in 2013 killing 1,138 people, not enough has changed.

Fashion Revolution brings people around the world together to campaign for a fairer, safer, cleaner fashion industry, and to celebrate those who are on a journey to make it happen.

The week-long campaign, which will will run in over 90 countries, carries the theme ‘Money, Fashion, Power’. It will explore the flows of money and the structures of power across fashion’s supply chains, centring on garment worker wages and the price we pay for our clothes. The aim is to help the public understand exactly what it is they are paying for.

‘As consumers, we have power. We are the driver of trends, and every time we buy something, we’re voting with our wallet. When we speak, brands listen. As consumers, we need to know who makes our clothes and under what conditions. We need to be able to scrutinise what it is we’re really paying for. We need to know that the people who clothe us are being paid enough to live with dignity. Otherwise, we’re effectively and unwittingly contributing to the exploitation of others’.

CARRY SOMERS
Fashion Revolution co-founder

Money and power

The recently published first issue of Fashion Revolution’s fanzine highlights the monetary flows and power structures across the fashion supply chain. It will help younger audiences understand where their money is going, and encourage them to understand the effect of their purchases and how they can push for positive change.

The list of the 20 richest people in the world includes six who run fashion brands. On the other hand, millions of people are employed in the process of making clothes, often not earning enough to pay for life’s basic necessities.

‘Have you ever wondered who makes your clothes? How much they’re paid and what their lives are like? Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, and sewers. Eighty percent of them are women between the ages of 18 and 24. Many of the people who make our clothes live in poverty. This needs to change.’

ORSOLA DE CASTRO
Fashion Revolution co-founder

Garment Worker Diaries

Fashion Revolution Week 2017 will feature events and activities worldwide to encourage people to think differently about the clothes they buy and wear and inspire them to make a positive difference.

Garment Worker Diaries, a project created in partnership with Microfinance Opportunities, will document the daily lives of 540 garment workers in Cambodia, Bangladesh and India, to explore what they are paid, how they spend their money and what their daily life is really like.

Fashion Revolution will use the research findings to advocate for changes in consumer and corporate behaviour and policy changes that improve the living and working conditions of garment workers everywhere.

Open Studios

This year Fashion Revolution will launch Open Studios, asking established international designers to open their studios to the public and share their inspiration.

The goal is to celebrate the invisible process behind designers’ finished collections, as well as revealing the intimacy of a studio and the reality of the team of people who make our clothes.

The #haulternative initiative

Following the success of the #haulternative launch with Youtube vloggers Noodlerella, CutiePieMarzia, Shameless Maya and Graveyard Girl, celebrity fashion influencers and consumers around the world will be invited to create their own #haulternative video online, sharing ideas for refreshing your wardrobe without buying new clothes.

This year, supported by Avery Dennison, three hackfilms were added to the haulternative initiative, encouraging viewers to embroider and repair their clothes. Avery Dennison has donated Fashion Revolution-branded patches made from 95% recycled yarn, which will be distributed to influencers worldwide.

As the UK looks to renegotiate more than 50 international trade deals, it is more crucial and timely than ever to campaign for a fashion revolution in order to raise awareness of the potential impact on producers and makers in developing countries.

Click here for more on why we need a fashion revolution.