Stop for a moment. Take a look at what you’re wearing. Do you know where it was made? Have you ever stopped to think about who made it? Not a company or brand name, but the actual person whose hands assembled the pieces of the garment you are wearing right now. If you can’t answer those questions, you’re not alone. Most of us have little or no idea of where our clothes come from, but there is a growing movement to change that.
Tomorrow – Thursday, April 24 – is the first-ever Fashion Revolution Day. The date marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza clothing factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, when 1133 people were killed and 2500 were injured. Social and environmental catastrophes continue to afflict fashion supply chains, which is why Fashion Revolution Day has been created to “raise awareness of the true cost of fashion, show the world that change is possible, and celebrate all those involved in creating a more sustainable future for fashion.”
The idea for Fashion Revolution Day came from Carry Somers, a hat designer and fair trade pioneer from the U.K. Somers told The Guardian, “Rana Plaza can be the catalyst to reconnect fashion lovers with the people who made their clothes and bring about real change.”
There will be events held throughout the world on April 24 -- film screenings and knit-ins in the U.K., a mass catwalk downtown Barcelona, a fashion show in Bangladesh with workers wearing the clothes they make, a workshop in Nepal on how to clean water contaminated by textile dyes, an exhibit in Swaziland documenting the lives of artisans, and fashion boutiques throughout the world turning their display windows #InsideOut.
What can you do to join in?
- Wear your clothes #InsideOut on April 24. Create awareness by reminding people that clothing tags, often ignored, contain information and a backstory worth thinking about.
- Ask, “Who made my clothes?” Call, email, or tweet the producers of the clothes you wear to ask them about the real people who work in their supply chain. @fash_rev wants to know if the brand replies and what they say, so please share.
- Use social media, especially on April 24. Take a picture of yourself and share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the #InsideOut and @(brand/retailer) and @fash_rev with the question, “Who made my clothes?”
You might wonder if such small actions can make any difference at all, but I do think that asking where and how clothes are made is an excellent place to start. Once I started learning about the conditions in which most clothes are made, it made me think twice before buying just anything off the rack.
If you want to know more, try reading “Overdressed: The shockingly high cost of cheap fashion” by Elizabeth L. Cline. You can also find a long list of resources here on the Fashion Revolution website.