By Chere Di Boscio
Friday April 24 2015, will be a big day on the fashion calendar.
It’s not Fashion Week, with its call to buy, nor is it Couture Week, with its call to admire. It is Fashion Revolution Day, with a call to take action.
On this day, people in over 65 countries will challenge global fashion brands to demonstrate commitment to transparency across the length of the value chain, from farmers to factory workers, brands to buyers and consumers. A series of global events and initiatives will highlight the fashion industry‘s most pressing issues – from exploitation to pollution – and engage local communities to demand greater transparency throughout.
Why is all of this happening? Surely you’ll recall the tragedy of April 24 2013, when 1133 people were killed when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A further 2500 were injured, and countless other lives–of the children of the dead, the families and friends caring for the injured–were affected. Sadly, the accident was, according to Fashion Revolution organisers, “both predictable and preventable”.
Now, Fashion Revolution Day marks the anniversary of this disaster but represents much more than that–it demonstrates a change of mentality, a refusal to accept cheap clothing constructed from the suffering of others. And this is only the beginning.
The textile industry is widely regarded as a major contributor to global pollution. However, according to research by Deloitte, two in three fashion companies are not focused on engaging consumers with regard to sustainability. According to the Australian Fashion Report in, 61% of companies surveyed didn’t even know where their garments were made.
Fashion Revolution Day firmly says “enough is enough–let’s turn fashion into a force for good”. For the first ever Fashion Revolution Day in 2014, citizens in over 55 countries took part to show they cared about who made their clothes. With over 6.6 million hits on Google, it quickly became the #1 trend on Twitter, and extensive coverage in international press followed, reaching over 80 million people through an extensive media campaign. There can be no doubt that the world’s biggest brands took note of the growing desire for responsibly made clothing, and many, such as Kering, have taken further action.
The campaign is backed by some heavy hitters: icon Akira Isogawa, Supermodels Amber Valletta and Christy Turlington, Oxfam Global Ambassador Livia Firth, author Marion von Adlerstein, artist and designer Liane Rossler, 1 Million Women founder Natalie Isaacs, eco model Amanda Rootsey, and retail expert Mary Portas amongst others, have lent their support to the campaign. This year, model Lily Cole, designers Kit Willow and Ginger and Smart are just some of the names taking part in a mass global action asking brands #whomademyclothes. Organisations Made in Australia and Ethical Clothing Australia are supporting the campaign.
But you can show your support too! Just wear an item of clothing inside out showing the label, photograph it, share it on social media, tag the brand and ask them #whomademyclothes That way, people all over the world – designers and icons, high street shops and high couture, cotton farmers and factory workers, campaigners, academics, the media and any individual who cares about what they wear – can come together to demand greater transparency. After all, isn’t it time for a Fashion Revolution?
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