Today marks the 1 year since the Rana Plaza disaster where over a thousand workers were killed and Fashion Revolution is asking how much change has occurred since then. You’ll know I’ve taken my ethical fashion pledge and Rana Plaza was one of the biggest factors for me. It made my actions as a consumer feel so inconsistent. I make the effort to buy free range, high welfare meat and eggs, I search my beauty products for good ingredients, my chocolate, coffee and bananas are all fair trade, I try to support local businesses… and yet still bought my clothes from companies who have no idea, and often are not even interested to find out about, who made their products, in what conditions… Rana Plaza confronted me with what ignoring how my clothes are made means.
The Fashion Revolution campaign is so clever. It is asking brands to be transparent, to be aware of where and how their products are made and be open to us as consumers. Then it is down to us to make a decision as to whether we can agree with their methods and want to support their businesses by buying from them. If we don’t have the transparency, we cannot make informed decisions as consumers. We get the luxury of making choices any time we go to a supermarket- fairtrade, organic, free range, local… but none of that when we go on the high street. It is insane that we can scan a piece of meat to find out which farm it was produced in, we can find out which person picked our banana and yet all the information we can usually find from clothing brands is which country something was made in. Nothing about which person, in which factory, where the cotton might have been picked or the cloth woven. We are so distanced from the manufacturing process of so much that we have around us but events like Rana Plaza tell me that we can’t just sweep it all under the carpet. There are real people involved in the things I wear on my back. I’ve been amazed how hard it is to find out any information from Brands, on their websites or otherwise, about how and where their clothes are made. Not just cheap brands, but high end ones too (which is even more illogical to me- you’re charging £100+ for a jumper and yet it was made in the same conditions as the £25 one? Where is the extra money going?).Transparency is what Fashion Revolution is pushing for. But us consumers are the ones with the power. If we push for changes and don’t spend our money until they occur, if we put pressure on Brands, then they have to change.
So how can you get involved?
Follow @FashionRevolution on twitter or have a look at their website for all of the information but it is easy to get involved today. Take a picture of your clothing labels and ask the brands ‘where are your clothes made?’. Hashtag it with #insideout. See if they can let you know. If not, why not? Let’s push together and try to make some changes. Shouldn’t our fashion be fair?
“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness” – Gandhi.