Fashion Revolution was founded in the wake of the disastrous Rana Plaza collapse on April 24th, 2013 and has since become one of the world’s largest fashion activism movements. The Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh housed a number of garment factories, employing a total of around 5,000 people working for some of the biggest global fashion brands. The building collapsed and killed 1,134 people and left thousands more injured, with the victims being mostly young women. The Rana Plaza collapse is the fourth largest industrial disaster in the world.
This event is made even more devastating by the fact that on April 23, 2013 large structural cracks were discovered in the Rana Plaza building - shops on the lower floors immediately closed, but the warning to avoid using the building after the cracks appeared were ignored by garment factory owners on the upper floors. The next day, thousands of workers returned to their garment factories at Rana Plaza and only hours later, the building collapsed. During Fashion Revolution week, those lives lost are remembered and advocate that no one should ever die for fashion.
“Demand quality, not just in the products you buy, but in the life of the person who made it" - Orsola de Castro, Designer and Co-founder of Fashion Revolution
All about Fashion Revolution
The Rana Plaza incident ignited the Fashion Revolution movement whose vision is “a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.” Do you recall ever hearing big brand names like Nike or GAP being called out for their unethical labour practices? Or wondered why some of the world's most popular brands like ASOS, Levi’s and H&M began taking the steps to become more transparent by publishing their supplier list? Well, we have Fashion Revolution to thank for that.
The aims of the movement are to:
- An end to human and environmental exploitation in the global fashion industry
- Safe, dignified working conditions and living wages for all people in the supply chain
- Redistributed and more equal balance of power across the global fashion industry
- A bigger and stronger labour movement in the global fashion industry
- A global fashion industry that works to conserve precious resources and regenerate ecosystems
- A culture of transparency and accountability across the value chain
- An end to throwaway culture and shift to a system where materials are used for much longer and nothing goes to waste
- Heritage, craftsmanship and local wisdoms are recognised and valued
Working to achieve these aims, isn’t a one size fits all solution - change needs to happen in the areas of culture, industry and policy, but even simpler, change needs to start with us as individuals. It can be as simple as making the connection between the clothes we wear and the hands they come from, doing some research and ask ourselves #whomademyclothes?
With an approach that’s action oriented and solution focused, they stray away from making consumers feel guilty about their purchasing habits, but rather to help them recognize they have the power to make positive change, based on the companies they choose to support. They’re all about that empowerment people, and so are we. Fashion can be equally celebrated and scrutinized for their industry practices, so it’s all about raising awareness and encouraging change in consumers and companies alike. There’s no shaming with Fashion Revolution - which is why we’re so fond of their approach to activism in the fashion industry - it’s about the educational journey towards creating a more ethical, sustainable and transparent future for fashion, and everyone involved. On that note, every year Fashion Revolution publishes a Transparency Index which rates and ranks 250 of the world’s largest global fashion brands and retailers based on their supply chain and their disclosure of human rights and environmental responsibility - we highly recommend checking this out for yourself!
8 ways to get virtually involved
Happening every year in the week coinciding with April 24th, the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, the Fashion Revolution Week movement is only as strong as all its participants. So why not take part this year and advocate for change from wherever you’re most comfortable!? The possibilities to get involved are endless!
- Join the movement by researching and asking your favourite brands #whomademyclothes by tagging them on your socials!
- Snap a selfie, tag your favourite brand, family member or friend and use the Fashion Revolution hashtags #WhoMadeMyFabric, #WhoMadeMyClothes and #WhatsInMyClothes and get a conversation going.
- Donate!! All Fashion Revolution resources are free, but even a small donation will help them continue to provide up-to-date, educational and inspiring resources!
- Take advantage of Fashion Revolutions free downloads! From event to educational resources, there’s something for everyone.
- Find your country team - Fashion Revolution is a global movement, find your local team and participate in events (virtually, of course)
- Attend an event or host your own - everything from a virtual clothing swap meet to a protest and human rights panel!
- Educate yourself by watching an informative docu-series on fast fashion like the True Cost, RiverBlue and Catwalk to Creation.
- Support brands who value human and labour rights just as much as you, set your values and discover them today using Arbor.
If you’ve participated in Fashion Revolution Week before OR are newly learning about the movement, we’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation started below ❤️