Fashion revolution week is celebrated every year between April 23-29 to mark the anniversary of the devastating Rana Plaza factory collapse, a clothing factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The incident that took place 5 years ago, killed over 1100 garment factory workers and injured more than 2200 others.
Families were broken, children were orphaned and many others were left disabled for life- this is the price they paid for our fashion demands- let’s not even look away from that fact. I cannot keep reiterating this enough because the kind of impact this has left on the victims and several families is immeasurable.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?
The factories operating in Rana Plaza were under a lot of pressure to complete their large deliveries with short deadlines. Several pleas made by the workers regarding structural cracks in the building were blatantly dismissed. They were sent back and forced to continue working under the building that was overworking too, for years. Next day, the eight story building gave up, collapsed and took many innocent lives. Big global brands that were found to be sourcing from these factories were Zara, Mango, Benetton, Walmart, J.C. Penny and many others.
That day people all over the world came together to change the way fashion operates and to remember the lives that were lost- Fashion Revolution was thus born, because no one should die for fashion.
5 years into the Rana Plaza incident, the campaign #whomademyclothes has come a long way. FR has been successful in getting several big brands to trace/name their factories and be transparent about their supply chains. Even though just being ‘transparent’ about their processes and naming factories, doesn’t come close to ensuring ethical practices, this is still a decent start for big fashion houses.
Fashion Revolution is a big positive movement towards ensuring safer, fairer, cleaner and a more transparent fashion industry. Read more about their impact in the year 2017.
WHY YOU SHOULD ASK #whomademyclothes?
– Most of these garment factory workers are exploited, underpaid, physically/verbally abused and work under unsafe conditions for long hours. Would you feel happy about wearing clothes that were made out of desperation and fear?
– Big global brands like H&M, GAP, Zara, F21, and many more don’t actually know where their clothes are made- yes, they just don’t. They outsource it to third world countries like Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, China etc for cheap labour (also where labour laws are non-existent) and don’t have the slightest clue if the workers are being treated/paid fairly.
– The factories have large deliveries with tight deadlines, because fast fashion is all about fast changing trends. This burden is then transferred onto the workers, who overwork to finish these deliveries and are still not paid basic wages- outright disregard for their time and work.
– #whomademyclothes aims at making brands accountable about their factories by pushing them to learn more about the people who actually make their clothes and take up responsibility to ensure they’re being treated fairly.
– This campaign compels us (consumers) and brands to look beyond fashion- it teaches us that this is about human rights and the exploitation needs to stop.
– Apart from basic human rights violation, the fast fashion trend is doing a lot of harm to our planet too. There are more clothes in landfills than in stores. The third world nations are not only being exploited for their cheap labour but also used as dumping grounds for clothes that are unsold by big brands or discarded by us.
– No important change/revolution has ever happened overnight, it needs many people like you-me to come together and make it happen. Although Fashion Rev has sparked off the movement and pushed brands to take small steps towards transparency, this is still just the beginning.
This campaign needs many stronger voices to raise questions and become more conscious of their purchases.
Honestly I can go on about why each of us should be a part of this campaign, but do I really need to? Isn’t this about basic human rights? Our choices, voices and questions really matter, and we have the power to make a difference- let’s never forget that.
Fashion Revolution doesn’t aim at making us feel guilty about our past purchases or fashion choices, it focuses on raising awareness so that we (as consumers) can make better informed purchasing decisions in the future. So, let’s work towards seeing clothes that are made in dignity and not in exploitation.
Let’s look at clothes a little differently, because fashion is more than just trendy clothes,
it’s not the price tag or the high profit margins,
it’s about the process,
it’s about the men & women who dye, weave and sew our clothes.
It’s about the people who ensure the buttons on our shirt don’t snap.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED – Spare two minutes of your time and read here about how you can get involved in this campaign, Fashion Revolution has come up with some amazing simple ways to ask brands #whomademyclothes.
Let’s begin with accepting that we have a problem, a very big one at that- so take a step forward in assisting agencies that are doing some amazing work. I’ll address this in detail sometime later in a different post.
GLOBEIN – FASHION FORWARD BOX
You may recall this post about GlobeIn and their artisan subscription box that contain products sourced and handmade by artisans from all over the world. Exclusively for Fashion Revolution week, they decided to come up with a Fashion Forward Box.
This week as we join the campaign and ask brands #whomademyclothes, let’s take a look at fashion forward box that is accompanied by the story of each person who made it, offering a small glimpse into their lives and their skills.
INSIDE THE FASHION FORWARD BOX
Caftan from India – A very comfortable sheer caftan for summer weekends at the beach or by the pool comes all the way from Jaipur, India. Caftan by symbology clothing, a brand that celebrates sustainability, craftsmanship and design.
#whomademycaftan – Pooja is the face behind this caftan, she’s been working with Symbology for over three years now and has earned the reputation of a star worker. Pooja lost her father 4 years ago, so this full time job and fair wages create financial security for her family. Symbology clothing has also provided an interest free loan that’s financing her brother’s education.
Palm Leaf Clutch from Mexico – This super cute and functional double layered clutch comes all the way from Mexico. It’s sturdy and spacious enough to carry your daily essentials or take it along with you on the beach. I love the weaving pattern, and the slide on cover- what a great idea for a clutch!
#whomademyclutch – Don Juan and his wife Juana are the people behind this pretty clutch. They have been associated with GlobeIn for over three years. Apart from weaving, Don’s inclination towards developing newer designs that are rarely found in other similar markets, is commendable.
Don also loves teaching and educating other artisans with his techniques and skills. His wife Juana recently mastered the skill and has now joined her husband in the business and also works on projects of her own.
Pineapple ring from Bali – A cute brass pineapple ring that screams summer and all things tropical. Handcrafted by artisans in Bali, who celebrate local heritage and tradition.
#whomademyring – Artisans from Bali, who enjoy fair pay and a supportive work environment. They love creating pieces and thoroughly enjoy the creative process of making jewelry by hand. It allows them to express themselves and create pieces they are proud of.
Coconut Reishi hand and body cream – This conscious cream was created using nutrient rich ingredients like unrefined coconut oil. I am serious when I say this- I love all things coconut and this by far is the best smelling coconut cream I’ve ever used. It is super moisturizing and comes in handy when you’re traveling or just as your nightstand buddy for those dry days when you need something more than your usual moisturizer.
#whomademycream – Made by women from Togo employed by Alaffia, who has helped ensure health of more than 4800 newborns in West Africa and planted nearly 60000 tress to combat deforestation in that area. Alaffia believes in celebrating sustainable development, so when you purchase this tube of goodness you’re actually preserving traditional skills and resources of these communities.
Glee Gum – Honestly before this, I never put a lot of thought into the gum that I popped into my mouth everyday. This Glee Gum is made in the US, thats ethically and sustainably produced by a woman led company. It’s the first ever fair trade gum and contains no artificial flavors or ingredients, isn’t that amazing?
#whomademygum – Although the gum is made in United states the texture of it comes from chicle, the sap of sapodilla tree which grows in the rainforests of central america. It was actually the base of all gums before synthetic bases were invented. The use of chicle also supports chiclero workers who tap the trees for their sap and Glee practices sustainable farming.
Founder Deborah Schimberg, discovered this ingredient on her trip to Guatemala in 1992 and decided to bring it back to her company in Rhode Island. The cane sugar used is fair trade certified and meets economic, social and environmental standards of Fair Trade International.
Remake Pin – #remakeourworld – Remake is a non profit that is igniting conscious consumerism all over the world. It believes in taking fashion and turning it into a force for good- I personally think it’s an extremely interesting movement and hope to learn a little more about it.
Remake believes in showcasing brands that are committed to transparency and the well bring of people and our planet. Their films showcase the grim realities behind fast fashion and brings you face to face with women who make our clothes.
This movement is pro- slow fashion and helps you break up with fast fashion by bringing curated collections that guide you into remaking your closet.
What I think– I love how this box focuses on people behind the products that we use on the daily and yet overlook that important detail. Through this box I got to wear, taste, use and learn something new- especially about the gum, man that one caught me by surprise!
So, it was a well rounded box with some great products- the caftan and clutch have to be my favorite (no surprise there, right!) and the cream comes very close at the second place. Go get your Fashion Forward Box here or shop for individual items here.
This post has been sponsored by GlobeIn. All opinions here, however, are honest and my own.