Wow. Fashion Revolution Day was big! It was amazing to see the world united in action for a more sustainable garment industry. Australia and New Zealand kicked off the day’s activities with a bang, and then as each continent woke up the movement gained more and more strength, with the official hashtag #whomademyclothes becoming the number one trending topic on Twitter. Huge numbers of people shared selfies with their labels out, asking the brands about the artisans behind their outfits. The movement was featured in major publications such as Forbes, the Independent, BBC Newsbeat and Elle South Africa. There were organised events the world over including film screenings, photoshoots in city centres and workshops where people could ‘upcycle’ clothing to extend its wear. Particularly effective was this vending machine experiment set up by the Fashion Revolution Germany team to educate consumers on the true cost of cheap t-shirts. Would you still be able to buy that $2 t-shirt after watching the video?
It was wonderful to see photos and stories from our fellow ‘makers’ in India and the ethical brands they work hard for. Indian artisans contribute so much talent to the international fashion industry! We also learned a lot about other sustainable producers all around the world. Four of our ladies had their photos shared in an official album of ‘makers’ from many different countries.
From the side of the major clothing brands, it was heartening to see some recognition of Fashion Revolution Day from such household names as Marks & Spencer and American Apparel, though there was notable silence from the majority of the brands questioned. Clearly there is still a very long way to go in this industry before companies are willing to open up about their practices, but the growing strength of consumer feeling cannot be ignored.
Thank you to everyone who supported Fashion Revolution Day 2015. Let’s keep the momentum going and always ask fashion brands about their production chains and the people who make their clothes. Let us not forget the victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy, and those who continue to work under unspeakable conditions in the garment industry worldwide. It’s high time for a revolution.
A revolution is not one day. We believe knowing who made our clothes is the first step in transforming the fashion industry. Knowing who made our clothes requires transparency, and this implies openness, honesty, communication and accountability. It’s about re-connecting broken links and celebrating the relationship between shoppers and the people who make our clothes, shoes, accessories and jewellery – all the things we call fashion.
So, remember to keep asking #whomademyclothes and to hold brands accountable for the people and environment on which their business depends on. We all want a better, fairer, safer, more transparent fashion industry. Let’s use our power to make it happen!