How You Can Join The Fashion Revolution

by Elizabeth Flading

On April 24, 2013, the world got a wake-up call. 1,138 people had their lives taken from being trapped in a collapsing garment factory. The now infamous Rana Plaza in Bangladesh suffered from serious structural complications from the start; it was built without permits and was designed for shops and offices, not factories. Although cracks were noticed the day prior, factory workers were still made to come in and even threatened to have a month’s pay withheld if not.

a glimpse into the devastation of the Rana Plaza collapse. Images from Rijans via flickr & The Economist

a glimpse into the devastation of the Rana Plaza collapse. Images from Rijans via flickr & The Economist

How did we get here?

To simplify things, there is a very high demand for clothing that costs next to nothing. Blouses for $10, jeans for $20- this isn’t surprising to see at any given shopping mall. What is surprising, and easy to lose touch of, are the working conditions garment workers must endure on a daily basis. Often times, brands choose factories based solely on price and have no idea of the enforced regulations. Modern day slavery exists because of this lack of accountability, and it is tolerated so brands can meet their bottom line.

The silver lining

In response to the Rana Plaza tragedy, the Fashion Revolution was born. This movement is dedicated to raising awareness of the true cost of fashion, increasing industry transparency levels, and creating lasting change. It is an opportunity for consumers and companies to have an open dialog about the people making their clothes, including the worker’s rights, working conditions, and quality of life. Now, over 92 countries worldwide are involved, and Fashion Revolution Day has changed to Fashion Revolution Week. When discussing the four year Rana Plaza anniversary, Refinery29 states, “Companies are increasingly publishing their factory lists, customers are more discerning than ever and recently introduced legislation means that businesses are finding themselves with nowhere to hide.” This progress proves that conscious consumers and companies are gaining momentum against the harmful nature of fast fashion.

So, how can you be a part of the Fashion Revolution all year long?

  • Always ask, who made my clothes

Simple and effective, this question allows you to have a more humane outlook when shopping. So often we are just looking at a price tag, not where it is made or what the company’s ethics are. To be a year-round revolutionary, take time to do research on how your clothes are made by contacting brands and asking, #whomademyclothes. This week, you’ll be seeing thousands of posts with people wearing their clothes with tags exposed in hopes of finding out more about the people and processes behind their represented brands. Post one yourself and share in our comment section what information you find out!

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  • Shop ethically

Once you’ve heard back from brands and researched their supply chain and policies, apply your new knowledge by supporting sustainable companies. Sometimes it seems like this complex issue is out of reach, but you as an individual can make a difference. Shop from brands that share your values and boycott ones that don’t. And when you do shop, make sure the garments you purchase are functional pieces you can wear over and over again. This can be a hard lifestyle shift, but every step in the right direction is impactful.

  • Swap your old clothes or get creative

Instead of throwing clothes out, try having a clothing swap with friends. It’s a fun and sustainable way to revamp your wardrobe and saves your garments from a landfill. The average american throws out a staggering amount of clothing each year, estimated at 70 pounds per person. Instead of adding to that statistic, try making something new out of your unwanted clothing like these cool DIY produce bags or pillows.

  • Be involved

There are so many amazing resources available in order to keep up with the progression of the fashion industry. Bloggers like Eco Warrior Princess and the Ethical Writers Coalition provide relevant, useful, and aesthetically pleasing content pertaining to ethical fashion and sustainable living. There is also a great list provided on Fashion Revolution’s site that provides resources for you to take action, including a #Haulternative to revive your wardrobe. Lastly, we recommend talking about sustainable fashion with your friends and family to increase awareness within your personal circle.

We are proud to be a part of an amazing, inspiring ethical community. The Rana Plaza tragedy was not the first of its kind, but it is the worst our world has seen. We join with the Fashion Revolution so that no one may suffer from fashion. Let us know in our comment section below if you’ll be joining with us!

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images & words of wisdom via the Fashion Revolution

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