Seventy-five million people work directly in the fashion and textiles industry. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, unsafe working conditions and poor pay. While some progress has been made since the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in 2013, which killed 1,138 people, there is still a lot to be done.
Today marks the kickoff of Fashion Revolution Week 2017, a weeklong campaign that encourages people around the world to ask brands #whomademyclothes and demand greater transparency to help improve the working conditions and wages of the people who make our clothes.
This year’s Fashion Revolution theme is 'Money, Fashion, Power' and will explore the flows of money and the structures of power across fashion’s supply chains, with a focus on garment worker wages and the price we pay for our clothes. The theme aims to educate consumers about what they are paying for, the effect of their purchases and how they can push for positive change.
“Have you ever wondered who makes your clothes? How much they’re paid and what their lives are like? Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers and sewers. Eighty percent of them are women between the ages of 18 and 24. Many of the people who make our clothes live in poverty. This needs to change,” said Orsola de Castro, co-founder of Fashion Revolution.
Fashion Revolution Week 2017 will feature events and activities worldwide to encourage people to think differently about the clothes they buy and wear and inspire them to make a positive difference. Fashion Revolution is also launching Open Studios, asking international designers to open their studios to the public and share their inspiration.
For the third consecutive year, Fashion Revolution Week will include a #haulternative initiative, where global influencers are asked to create a different type of YouTube “haul” that doesn’t involve buying new clothes, but instead highlights sustainable ways to enjoy previously owned pieces by customizing, swapping, buying second hand or mending. There are nine #haulternative challenges to choose from: Love Story, Broken & Beautiful, Fashion Fix, 2Hand, Swap, DIY, Vintage, Hire and Slow. In addition to popular social influencers, designer Vivienne Westwood will also participate in this year’s challenge, creating a series of Love Story videos.
Supported by Avery Dennison, the 2017 #haulternative initiative will also include three hack-films, which encourage viewers to embroider and repair their clothes. Avery Dennison has donated Fashion Revolution-branded patches made from 95 percent recycled yarn, which will be distributed to influencers worldwide.
“As consumers, we have power. We are the driver of trends and every time we buy something, we’re voting with our wallet. When we speak, brands listen. As consumers, we need to know who makes our clothes and under what conditions. We need to be able to scrutinize what it is we’re really paying for. We need to know that the people who clothe us are being paid enough to live with dignity. Otherwise, we’re effectively and unwittingly contributing to the exploitation of others,” said Carry Somers, Fashion Revolution co-founder.