Every day, much of the world wakes up and puts on clothes. (Even freelance writers with no need to leave the confines of their home will likely still have some kind of material on their bodies, even if only pyjamas.) From hidden garments like undies, to ones that make a statement like pants, shirts or coats, clothes are an integral part of human life. And yet, so rarely do we think about the very real person behind the fabric.
Fashion Revolution wants to change that. The UK-based charity is fueling a global movement that is shedding light on the fashion industry’s creators — real humans beings! — and the often deplorable conditions under which they work.
“We want to unite people and organisations to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way,” the website reads. “We believe that collaborating across the whole value chain — from farmer to consumer — is the only way to transform the industry. Our mission is to bring everyone together to make that happen.”
Fashion Revolution also put together a two-minute video that illustrates the issue within the industry in an artful and moving way.
Text overlaying the video reads: “Millions of people make our clothes. Too many live in poverty, exploitation or danger. With one question we can change that. Who made my clothes? Join the fashion revolution. Demand a fair, safe and more transparent industry. Ask brands #whomademyclothes.”
The movement started on April 24, 2013 when Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory building collapsed, leaving 1,138 people dead and 2,500 injured. It was the fourth largest industrial disaster in history and the final straw (paper, not plastic) for the founders behind Fashion Revolution.
According to the charity’s website, nearly 75 million people around the world have jobs working in factories or ateliers making clothes, and of that, 80 per cent are young women between the ages of 18 and 35, and yet the majority are not paid fair wages, let alone offered safe, clean and comfortable working conditions.
Fashion Revolution is advocating for more transparency in the fashion industry, and its campaign #whomademyclothes is taking off in the digital sphere. There are nearly 250,000 posts under the hashtag on Instagram.
It showcases real workers and their stories, like Ganga, a mom of three who crafts colourful tassels for British jewellery line Ashiana.
As it’s fashion revolution week we wanted to show our support for the strong women that work behind the scenes for Ashiana & make our products. This is Ganga, she is a mother of 3 and by working for Ashiana she is able to educate and take care of her family. She giggles a lot and thought this photo was quite funny! #ethicalfashion #fashionrevolution #whomademyclothes #fashionrevolutionweek #whomadeyourclothes #sustainablelife #sustainablefashion #sustainableliving #fashrev #sustainable #handmade #timeforafashionrevolution
Or Magdareni who is a weaver for the housewares brand QÄSA QÄSA.
It’s Fashion Revolution week and we would like you to meet one of our makers. Have you ever wondered who made your clothes, shoes, bags or baskets? The list is endless. Meet Magdareni, one of our talented weavers @womencraft in Tanzania. She weaves our Ugwafu Lustre Tablemats and each one takes her 5 days to make. We are honoured to work with artisans like Magdareni and value every part of the supply chain, especially our people. Let’s all be curious and make a difference. @fash_rev #fashionrevolution #meetthemaker
And Julie, a pattern-cutter for the clothing line Palava.
“As citizens and consumers — our questions, our voices, our shopping habits can have the power to help change things for the better. We are the driver of trends. Every time we buy something, we’re voting with our wallet. When we speak, brands and governments listen,” the site writes. Want to get involved? Ask your favourite retailer where your clothes are coming from.
Every purchase you make sends a message to a larger brand that has the influence and power to affect change. Let’s set the movement in motion.