April 22nd, 2018 is Earth Day! So it is fitting that I post about Fashion Revolution week. What is Fashion Revolution Week you ask?
Fashion Revolution is now a global movement of people like you.
It’s a time to reflect, brought to you by the Fashion Revolution organization that is trying to get everyone to become a conscious consumer. Have you ever wondered who made your clothes? How much they’re paid, and what their lives are like?
Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, sewers and others. Approximately 75 million people work to make our clothes. 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35.
However, the majority of the people who makes clothes for the global market live in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe and dirty conditions, with very little pay.
This needs to change.
At the moment, most of the world lives in a capitalist economy. This means companies must increase sales growth and make profits in order to succeed — but crucially, not at the expense of peoples’ working conditions, health, livelihoods, dignity and creativity and not at the expense of our natural environment.
Whether you are someone who buys and wears fashion (that’s pretty much everyone) or you work in the industry along the supply chain somewhere or if you’re a policymaker who can have an impact on legal requirements, you are accountable for the impact fashion has on people’s lives and on nature.
I too, just like the folks running this organization, felt a wave of shock in 2013 after the Rana Plaza building collapse where over 1,000 people died making clothes for pennies. I decided then and there that as a person with a blog and platform, I could no longer turn a blind eye to an industry that IS literally killing people. Here are the changes I personally made –
1. I would use this blog as a bigger platform to bring awareness to the sustainability of fashion and in conjunction, support brands that were paying employees fair wages, conscious about the environment, and proponents of slow fashion. In particular, the Made in USA clothing movement.
2. I did not shop at all for several months. And when I finally did again, I decided that I would almost exclusively buy second hand. And if I had to buy new clothing, it would be Made in the USA. And in 3 years, I have been about 95% successful in achieving this goal.
3. I rid my wardrobe of the highest offenders. No more Forever 21, Zara, H&M, etc. I kept very few things, but most of it was donated to a thrift store. I am no longer supporting these brands nor their trendy consumerism.
I think the biggest thing this Fashion Revolution is attempting to do, is to highlight that real people are the ones sewing all these clothes. Not robots or machines. Humans are working really long hours, in blighted conditions, for very little pay all over the world. It doesn’t mean you have to make the changes I make. But ask more questions, ask who is making your clothes, and ask where your clothes come from. Click HERE for a guide to getting involved.