Asking H&M #whomademyclothes
Fashion Revolution is the biggest global movement campaigning for a safer, fairer, more transparent fashion industry. Here are four reasons why I think the movement is so important:
1. It's about curiosity and asking the right questions
Contrary to popular belief curiosity didn't kill the cat. Heck, curiosity made it stronger and even smarter about how to navigate the world. I remember when I discovered fashion revolution: I stumbled upon the hashtag #whomademyclothes on social media and thought it was an extremely relevant question. It's not like I didn't know about sweat shops but the question further awakened my curiosity and made me realise how much of a grey area the practices behind mass garment making was for me. It was a trigger, suddenly by clicking on the hashtag and being led to the fashion revolution page, then onto their website and then to the movie The True Cost, I had made my way to a deeper understanding of how the fashion world I so loved really worked. This simple question placed on the powerful platform of social media is the start of an adventure, the start of a movement that can make important change happen on a individual and global scale.
2. It's about choosing your battles and discovering your power
O yes, the world is a messed-up place and sometimes as much as we want to do better, we do not necessarily know where to start. When I became a “fashion revolutionary”, I was obsessed with converting people to the movement. Sometimes it worked but I was frustrated when it didn't. With time, it hit me: we cannot all fight the same battles in this big messed up world and I would finally just tell people to choose their battle. It doesn't have to be fashion revolution but find something you are passionate about and can use to better the lives of people and help our planet.
What is unique about the fashion revolution movement is that it empowers the consumer. We are too easily influenced by the corporations we buy from and they have done a great job making us believe they have what we want. There is something powerful in discovering that what you want comes at the cost of a human life or at the cost of destroying the planet. You suddenly start to rethink what you really want and realise that as a consumer your choice is your vote and your vote is your power. Revolutionizing our broken fashion system is a matter of using our purchasing power differently and once we all do that I believe great change can happen and is even already happening thanks to Fashion Revolution.
Asking Zara #whomademyclothes
3. It's about people like you
The Fashion revolution movement began because of the Rana Plaza disaster in Dacca, Bangladesh in 2013 when thousands of garment workers lost their lives as their factory collapsed. The movement has always been about people. With the amount of choice and cheap prices that fast fashion offers, it almost seems as if it must be a machine behind all these clothes but it's not. It’s people like us being treated like machines. Watch the True Cost movie and see the face of Shima, the 23-year-old girl who is sacrificing her life just to provide for her family by making cheap clothes for tiny pay, putting her life in danger in factories and barely getting anytime off. All so you can buy that cute dress for that party for as cheap as possible. Worth it? You decide. The Fashion Revolution movement shines light on the real people who make our clothes by drawing our attention to their working conditions and how our choices impacts them (check out the hashtag #Imadeyourclothes).
4. It's about bettering our planet
Fashion is the second most polluting industry after oil but for some reason when we think oil, we think big bad corporations destroying the planet but when we think fashion no such thing crosses our minds. Truthfully it should. The negative environmental impact of fast fashion is devastating: from landfills of clothing waste to the pollution of waters due to dyes and other chemicals (to mention a few). This fast-paced industry is depleting our resources faster and faster. There are more and more environmental initiatives created by fashion brands but they are quite minimal and most of the time these giant fast fashion houses can do much better. Fashion revolution allows us to unify our efforts in demanding for companies to do better. Together we are louder and stronger.
Join the Fashion Revolution movement this week on social media.
A big thank you to Carry Somers, founder of Fashion Revolution, whom I had the chance to meet two years ago. Her vision is inspiring.