Did you know I had never heard of Rana Plaza before I started this whole journey into sustainability. I’m not sure if I saw it in the True Cost first or one of the hundreds of articles I was reading but regardless, about 5 years after the collapse I only first starting hearing about it. The building crumbled in about 90 seconds killing 1,134 people. More than that of the triangle shirtwaist factory which accelerated the protection of garment workers in the US. I was horrified that I hadn’t heard of this atrocity. And horrified when I read that companies such as Primark, Mango and The Children’s Place were all sourcing from the building. This systemic problem in the fashion industry could have easily been avoided through stricter laws and audits ensuring the safety of the workers and factories. Just the day before factory workers noticed large cracks in the building pleading with supervisors to look into their concerns. But keeping deadlines in mind all of the workers filed into the building the next day, many to their demise. This systemic problem I truly was unaware of until recently. Thanks to organizations such as Fashion Revolution, not only have I been educated on this horrific problem but they are creating solutions for consumers to take part in.
What is Fashion Revolution?
I have talked about Fashion Revolution in the past when I took the online class this past summer. I highly recommend taking it and learning about the importance of supply chain transparency. You can click here to read more about my take on the class. This amazing action-oriented organization is headquartered in the UK and focus on efforts to protect workers and the enviornment.
Why is Fashion Revolution Week so Important?
What makes Fashion Revolution so unique is that they provide resources and actions to help consumers be fashion activists. Instead of creating compromises in our lives we choose to hold these major companies more accountable for their actions. Fashion Revolution houses a plethora of reports on leading brands sustainability, free images to post on social media and created the infamous #whomademyclothes hashtag. This hashtag has been used on Instagram alone over 80,000 times and continues to be a tool to create dialogue. Consumers are encouraged to post a picture of a tag from a major fast fashion brand and ask the brand Who Made My Clothes? This symbolizes that consumers want more transparency in the clothes they buy and these major labels need to be more transparent in the factories that produce the clothes. The hashtag has also been a great tool for celebrating the transparency of ethical labels where workers hold up signs in the places of work explaining “I made you t-shirt” or “I made your bag” with pride.
The Impact so Far
Fashion Revolution is much more than a quote hashtag and a free media tool kit. Last year they released an impact report showing the changes that have been made in the past 5 years from their efforts and other sustainability movements and policy enforcement around the world. After last year 100,000 consumers asked brands #whomademyclothes and the responses were encouraging. 2,416 brands responded to consumers by providing their supply chain information. 150 major brands even released where their factories are. Over 1,300 factories have been audited since Rana Plaza ensuring that 1.8 million garment workers were provided information that explained that their factories were safe. There was also a 77% wage increase in Bangladesh for garment workers. So much has been accomplished just from a simple hashtag but so much still needs to be done in order to create lasting change.
Impact information from Fashion Revolution
Creating spaces to create this kind of dialogue bridges a gap between consumers and producers. In 2019 we demand action, we expect that the clothes we buy are produced ethically from start to finish. And I along with hundreds of others will work tirelessly to make that aspiration become a reality. If you want to help the cause but don’t know where to start the process of becoming a fashion activist ask your favorite brand this very simple question…