VISCOSE_1

The Revolution that asks #whomademyclothes

Yay! It’s that time of year. What time I hear you ask? Fashion Revolution time! The Fashion Revolution was founded in response to the tragic Bangladeshi Rana Plaza building collapse where 1133 people died and over 2500 were injured on the 24th of April. Founders Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro believed that this horrendous and avoidable disaster could act as a catalyst for change in the fashion industry.

As a result they founded the Fashion Revolution. Starting at just a consumer call to action to ask brands ‘#whomademyclothes’ via social media on the 24th of April, the moment now spans a week and has been adopted as a World-wide movement. The Fashion Revolution website is full of resources and tools you can use to help you becoming a Fashion Revolutionary.

arnhem_Fashion_revolution_17

My Fashion Revolution Journey

I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Fashion Revolution in it’s first year. My blogging was in it’s infancy then so my reach wasn’t far, but the act of turning my clothing inside out, checking out the labels and asking the brand #whomademyclothes (because I wanted to thank them) was a liberating act. The following years questioning had an amazing reach and to-date I’ve had an excellent success rate at getting answers from the brands I have spoken to. Successes that have lead me to a long term line of communication with three labels who I have got in early with this year for a 2017 follow up.

One of the labels I’ve targeted in the past is Arnhem– a Byron Bay based boho darling. I emailed a Fashion Revolution catch up to the brand a few days ago to find out how they are travelling sustainability and ethics wise since last years campaign. Arnhem Bickley, the lovely designer and founder followed up with me right away to give me an overview of their plans (a fully solar warehouse, 1% for the Planet, a paper free office, changes in fabrics including an organic cotton range, and an in-house factory investigations). She also put me in contact with Felix their operations manager who sent back this:

Here at Arnhem we recognise the detrimental effect that the clothing and textiles industry has on our natural environment. Refusing to be complicit in this unnecessary harm to mother earth we made a commitment to reduce the environmental impact of our business practices wherever possible. Our roadmap to becoming a truly sustainable business is a long one, but we’re taking great strides in the right direction. Implementing changes within our product design and supply chain takes time and is a resource intensive process.

To do nothing in the interim was not an option for us, and so in early 2017 we made the pledge to donate 1% of our annual sales to help protect the environment through the 1% for the Planet platform.

We spent a lot of time researching potential beneficiaries of our donation and we’re proud to announce partnerships with the following amazing causes.

Greenfleet

Greenfleet is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to connecting people with real climate action. They are Australia and New Zealand’s most respected source of biodiverse carbon offsets. Since 1997, they have planted more than 8.7 million native trees across 425 biodiverse forests in Australia and New Zealand to offset carbon emissions on behalf of thousands of leading brands, businesses, councils, universities, NGOs and individuals. Greenfleet exists to make a difference, not a profit. Greenfleet is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)

Take 3 for the sea

The Take 3 message is simple: Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or…anywhere and you’ve made a difference. Take 3 are a not-for- profit organisation established in 2009 based in Sydney, Australia. They deliver education programs to inspire our global community to help create a cleaner planet for wildlife and future generations. Pick it up. Bin it. #TAKE3FORTHESEA

Rainforest Rescue

Rainforest Rescue has been protecting and restoring rainforests in Australia and internationally since 1998by providing opportunities for individuals and businesses to Protect Rainforests Forever. They do this by purchasing and protecting the biodiversity of high conservation value rainforest, and by re-establishing rainforest through planting, maintenance and restoration. Based in nearby Mullumbimby, Rainforest Rescue is Arnhem’s local donation recipient.

We are proud of these three unique causes and look forward to supporting their efforts into the future.

While we work towards sustainable production we are taking steps to improve other aspects of our business wherever possible. Our office and warehouse are 100% solar powered and thanks to Byron’s constant sunshine we are able to feed our excess power back into the grid and allow other businesses to purchase green power.

We are now using Forest Stewardship Certified paper wherever possible and opt for recycled, biodegradable or compostable packaging where practical. Our office and warehouse are also 95% paperless – saving around 30,000 sheets of paper per year.

Implementing all of these changes is a costly and time consuming task and to lighten the load on our team and to ensure we’re making true progress we have brought on board a Sustainability Officer for our production team who is solely focused on improvements in our fabric mills, printing and dyes, packaging and after purchase care options / directions (where we’ve found that up to 90% of the garments environmental impact is actually caused).

We have a strong action plan in place to guide us towards becoming a sustainable fashion business and we look forward to updating you on our progress over the coming months and years.

fashion_revoultion_16_3

How to participate and chat to the brands you love

Getting involved in the Fashion Revolution is as easy as posting a snap to your fave social media channels. Pick an item of clothing that you are curious about and turn it inside out. Check out the brand that made it and see if you can work out what country it was made in. Photograph yourself with the item and post the following caption with it:

I’m [put your name here]
and I want to thank the people who made my [put the item of clothing here]
Hi @ [social media handle of the brand] , #whomademyclothes?

Then add your name, country (if you want) and then a way for them to get in contact with you (the Fash Rev team suggest email but you could just ask the brand to Direct Message you)

My campaign photo for Arnhem from last year is above! I feel so fortunate to have had such a great response from Arnhem and I really look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength with sustainability, ethics and transparency in production in the years to come. I’ve emailed Felix to see if I can get further info on their action plan and to see if they have a little more info on the in-house factory investigations.

Do you love Arnhem clothing? Perhaps you have some more questions for the label? Let me know and I will ask Felix for you :-). Share any other thoughts, suggestions, or Fash Rev stories you might have below!