Have You Ever Contemplated Where Your Clothes Come From?
Do you know who made your clothes? Who grew the cotton, spun the threads, dyed the fabric and who sewed them together? Chances are that you have at least one item on that you wouldn’t know the origins of (if you don’t then you deserve a gold star for being an extremely conscious consumer). The current state of the fashion industry makes it pretty difficult to know exactly where every element of your clothing came from. Sadly, many of the designers responsible for our items wouldn’t even know who grew the cotton they used for their t-shirts! As long as we continue to consume blindly the fashion industry has no reason to provide details of where fibre is sourced, spun, dyed or sewn. An ignorance that allows for the degradation of land, excessive use of dangerous chemicals, a seed giant monopoly, genetically engineered cross pollination, exploitation of workers and forced labour, and landfill and waste disposal issues (just to name a few of the multi layered environmental and social issues). Which is why the folks at Fashion Revolution have asked us to ask the tough question of our favourite labels. On the 18-24th of April they want you to turn your clothing inside out and ask the labels for a more transparent supply chain.
In the lead up to the event you are likely to see a whole lot of your fave social media accounts posting info about the impact of the fashion industry along with inspirational quotes, event notifications, and some pretty unique selfies. These selfies are the key driver of the ‘revolution’. You can get involved by turning your fave fashion items inside out, taking a selfie, tagging the brand who made your item and captioning the photo:
and I want to thank the people who made my …(clothes)……
Hi …..@insert brand here…….
Signed ….email here……..country here…..
By taking time out of your day to be a conscious consumer then you are a small part of a large change. If enough people demand transparency from their fave fashion labels then these companies will have to oblige or risk loosing customers (which we all know equal profit). Fashion Revolution day was created in response to the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh where 1133 people were killed and 2500 were injured. The people employed at Rana Plaza in the garment industry were ordered to work despite the fact that cracks had appeared in the building structure and that shops and banks on the lower floors had been closed due to safety concerns. The building collapsed during the morning rush hour on the 24th of April 2013. The documentary Clothes To Die is a heartbreaking account of the lead up to the collapse, accounts of the disaster from the survivors, and the clean up action and national mourning that followed the disaster on the 24th. You can read some of the statistics and facts from the documentary in this post.
My Fashion Revolution Campaign
Last year I targeted three labels. One of which provided me with a traceable answer to ‘who made my clothes’, another replied and suggested they are working on a document to share their production process and the other one missed (or ignored) my question. This year I plan to follow up with Tigerlily Swimwear as last year they:
“got back to me via Instagram when I asked them about the origins of my cardigan. They stated that they were in the process of developing some information on manufacturing for their website and that they use manufacturers that they have long standing relationships with. The lovely Amelia continued to on to explain that they factories used by Tigerlily have been visited personally by the design team and are accredited to Tigerlily’s accreditation processes and meet their high ethical standards. I look forward to hearing more about the way my garments are made when the information goes live on the website so I can do some research into their accreditation process and see if the brand is one that I feel comfortable purchasing from in the future. In the mean time I will lovingly wear my current Tigerlily items with pride knowing that my questions were answered in a fast and friendly manner”.
I hope to find out if they have created this document and if/when they will be providing it for their customers as I can’t seem to find anything on their website at the moment. Fingers and toes crossed that they have developed it as I love their designs and it would be nice to have the official word that their clothes are made fairly. As I had zero response from Arnhem Clothing last year (after social media contact and an email) I’m trying again this year to see if they will provide me with an answer. I’m also adding Spell Designs to my ‘brands to investigate’ list as last year my lovely insta-pal Kristy Robinson of @greenerliving somehow managed to wear her Spell designs playsuit inside out (I have no idea how she managed to do the buttons up) and got no response from the Spell team as to who made her gorgeous outfit! I would love to know if the people who make Spell Designs ‘with love’ are paid fairly and given safe working conditions.
Have you participated in the Fashion Revolution? Share your experiences below! If you are thinking about joining in this year let us know what brands you plan to investigate!