It's that time of year when conscious shoppers remember the Rana Plaza tragedy and unite in their efforts to demand greater safety, fairness and transparency in the fashion industry.
April 24 will mark four years since the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 1,138 people and injuring thousands more. Most were young women, garment workers who make the clothes we buy for cheap in Europe and North America. They worked long hours for major fast fashion brands, earning minimal money in poor conditions. Many lived apart from families and suffered from exposure to toxic chemicals used in the textile industry.
Their deaths were tragic and unnecessary – an important reminder of how we, as consumers, need to make better decisions about the clothes we buy and demand that brands improve standards for workers.
Enter Fashion Revolution Week, which started out as a single day to mark the Rana Plaza disaster’s first anniversary, but has turned into seven days of global activism each year. From April 24-30, people are urged to ask their favorite fashion brands, “Who made my clothes?” By turning the spotlight onto the makers, Fashion Revolution hopes for a fairer, safer, cleaner, and more transparent fashion industry. Here are some ideas for getting involved.
The easiest is to take a photo of yourself wearing a garment inside out, with the tag visible. Post on social media, link to the brand, and ask #WhoMadeMyClothes?
Take it to the next level by writing directly to a brand. Fashion Revolution provides a form letter and a postcard that can be signed, printed, or photographed on social media, again linked to the company that’s targeted.
One fun idea is to create a ‘fashion love story.’ Recount your tale of attachment to a particular garment, whether it’s something from your childhood or something you love now. Why do this?
“Rather than buying new, we want people to fall back in love with their clothes, care for them for longer, and take a stand against fast fashion that ends up in landfill.”
YouTubers can participate by making a #Haulternative video that contrasts with the disturbing genre of ‘haul’ videos, where vloggers show off mountains of fast fashion items they’ve purchased for cheap. A #Haulternative can teach viewers how to approach clothes in a healthier, more sustainable way, i.e. swapping with a friend, buying second-hand, treasuring something that’s damaged, learning to repair, etc.
Activists can host or participate in an event, such as a film screening, a flash mob, a conversation at school, a photo booth for people to take #whomademyclothes selfies.
Learn more at Fashion Revolution Week: Do Something.