On Friday, the second annual Fashion Revolution Day, people in 66 countries around the world will challenge global fashion brands to demonstrate commitment to transparency across the length of the value chain, from farmers to factory workers, brands to buyers and consumers.
One in six people work in the global fashion supply chain. It is the most labor-dependent industry on the planet, yet the people who make our clothes are hidden from us, often at their own expense, a symptom of the broken links across the fashion industry.
Led by some of the biggest names in fashion, Fashion Revolution Day aims to show that change is possible and celebrate those who are on a journey to create a more ethical and sustainable future for fashion. Model Lily Cole, blogger Susie Lau, Eco Age founder Livia Firth and writer and broadcaster Lucy Siegle are among those expected take part in a mass global action asking brands #WhoMadeMyClothes.
Fashion lovers are directed to take a selfie with the label in their clothing showing and send it to a brand via social media, asking ‘who made my clothes?’ and share their reply. Tens of thousands of people across the globe did this last year and more are expected to take part this year. To mark the day and connect supporters with garment producers all over the world, there will be a series of global ‘social media takeovers’ hosted at @Fash_Rev.
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This Fashion Revolution Day marks the second anniversary of the devastating Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1,133 and injured over 2,500 people.
While Rana Plaza catalyzed commitments from dozens of major brands to improving conditions for factory workers, social and environmental catastrophes in fashion supply chains continue: Garment workers in Cambodia work still six days a week, earning barely enough to meet their basic living expenses, risking malnourishment — which in recent years, combined with poor working conditions, has resulted in numerous incidents of mass faintings and collapses in the factories. Cotton production accounts for the use of $2B of chemical pesticides each year; more than 250,000 cotton farmer suicides have been recorded in India over the last 16 years in the largest wave of suicides in history.
Fashion Revolution Day co-founder Carry Somers said: "When everything in the fashion industry is only focused on making a profit, human rights, the environment and workers’ rights get lost. This has got to stop and we plan to mobilize people around the world to ask questions. Find out. Do something.
"Buying is only the last step in a long journey involving hundreds of people: the invisible workforce behind the clothes we wear. We no longer know the people who made our clothes so therefore it is easy to turn a blind eye and as a result, millions of people are suffering, even dying."
Campaigners will call on the textile value chain to engage in a demonstrable commitment to transparency by:
- Challenging brands and retailers to pledge to make their supply chains more transparent
- Find out who made their clothes
- Publish first-tier factories and work towards mapping out their entire supply chain
Fashion Revolution Day will also demonstrate that change is possible by showcasing examples of those who are already creating a better future for fashion.
Co-founder Orsola de Castro said: "Fashion Revolution is about building a future where an accident like this never happens again. We believe knowing who made our clothes is the first step in transforming the fashion industry. Knowing who made our clothes requires transparency, and this implies openness, honesty, communication and accountability. It’s about reconnecting broken links and celebrating the relationship between shoppers and the people who make our clothes, shoes, accessories and jewelry."
Fashion Revolution's hashtag was the number one global trend on Twitter last year and events are being organized around the world by teams in 66 countries. For events in your area, visit http://fashionrevolution.org/get-involved/countries/.
Speaking of the push for more responsible fashion, last month the Canadian Fair Trade Network launched a powerful ad campaign, “The Label Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story,” which depicted clothing tags on a suit jacket, sweater and hoodie that revealed much more than the size and fabric mix of the garments, highlighting the devastating conditions that persist for many workers in garment factories around the world.