Fashion Revolution Week happens every year during the week of the 24th of April to commemorate the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse. Rana Plaza, a building in Bangladesh, housed a number of garment factories, employing around 5,000 people. The people in this building were manufacturing clothing for many of the biggest global fashion brands. Over 1,100 people died in the collapse and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. The victims were mostly young women.
The global fashion industry has an enormous social impact and ecological footprint. Many of us don’t understand how the clothes we wear every day affect the world around us.
Last year, a major UK fashion brand launched a bikini that cost just £l, (which is approx. €1 .12or $1 .26 USD). When clothes cost less than the price of a coffee, it encourages us to buy more things than we actually need, without stopping to consider whether we will value these garments in the long-term. In fact, an MIT study estimated that some 150 billion items of clothing are produced every year. This volume of production has doubled in just the past fifteen years. As a society, we buy more clothing than ever before.
Meanwhile, a 2018 report from Onepoll found that 83% of UK consumers are buying clothes they never wear. Plus, in the UK we send around 350,000 tonnes of clothing (£140 million worth) to landfill every year, according to WRAP.
While we can all agree that price is not always an accurate measure of working conditions and wages for workers in the supply chain, £l sends a dangerous message about the value we place on clothing, the rate at which we consume it and the disregard for the wellbeing and livelihoods of the people who work so hard to make our clothes.
How can you help
Choosing to shop for pre-loved clothes, renting or buying from ethical brands instead of high street fashion, can make a difference on how the retail giants will operate in the future.
Since Fashion Revolution started, people from all over the world have used their voice and their power to tell brands that things must change. And it’s working. The industry is starting to change. More brands are being open about where their clothes are made. More manufacturers are making their factories safer. More producers are being seen and heard.
You can participate in the #WHOMADEMYCLOTHES campaign this #FashionRevolution Week. Tweet to your favourite brand, write them an email, or share your label on Instagram – and if they don’t answer right away, ask again. You can find templates and materials to use for free in their website: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/get-involved/
Have a look at the ethical fashion directory if you are looking to buy alternative more eco-friendly clothing.