On April 24, 2013
1,138 young women died at the expense of negligence while another 2,500 were injured. Despite much concern about the unsafe working conditions of the Rana Plaza, a building harboring 5 major garment factories, nothing was done to prevent this catasrophe. Its collapse on this fateful day marked the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. Our obsession with fast fashion & the latest trends suscept impoverished communities to hazardous work conditions, contributing to a populations erasure. The transparency of brands, big or small, is imperative to ensuring the safety of garment workers, begging the question, “who made my clothes?”
With this catastrophe and so many eager for the answer to the same burning question, a movement was born. For the past 5 years, hashtags like #lovedclotheslast and #haulternative have broken into the mainstream thanks to the Fashion Revolution; it occurs annually between April 23-April 28th, pressuring global chains to modify their method of production. This is also known as slow fashion, which is the ethical counterpart to our current system, advocating for a fair system in which the producer, consumer and environment aren’t negatively impacted.
The organization Fashion Revolution calls consumers to action, empowering them with the resources to get involved. Effective ways to do so are by sending an email to your brand of choice, writing a letter to your local policy maker or by posting a picture with the label of your favorite shirt/skirt/or dress showing, tagging the brand mentioned in the label and asking “who made my clothes?” Brands will often refer you to their policy page on their site or sometimes won’t even respond. However, in 2018 almost 4,000 brands, including Zara, answered with the specifics of their production process setting the standard for other major distributors and doubling the number of responses from 2017.
No pressure here but, with textile waste standing at 62 million tonnes in 2015 and expected to jump to 149 million tonnes by 2030, we don’t have time to maybe consider slow fashion. Clothing production accounts for 1.2 million tonnes of global greenhouse emissions every year, more than that of international flights & maritime emissions combined. Yet this Earth Day, the Fashion Revolution team joined UNFCCC’s Fashion for Global Climate Action initiative as a signatory to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which contains the objective of reaching net-zero emissions within the fashion industry by 2050. And with thrifting and upcycling clothes gaining popularity, as well as consumers being more conscious with who they're investing in, it’s absolutely a step in the right direction for the public too.
By continuing to demand for ethical clothes where garment workers are properly compensated and textiles aren’t being produced and disposed of on such a massive scale, we are fighting for a more just world.
“The people who make the biggest difference are the ones who do little things consistently.”
For more details on the fashion revolution as well as access to compelling blog posts and informative zines, visit www.fashionrevolution.org.