This week it’s Fashion Revolution week. This Sunday, on the 24th of April, there will be 3 years since 1,134 people were killed when the Rana Plaza complex, a building hosting mostly clothing factories, collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The victims were mostly women. Since then the Fashion Revolution organization was born and this week is time to stop and ask, “Who made my clothes?”.
The Fashion Revolution organization believes that “fashion can be made in a safe, clean and beautiful way. Where creativity, quality, environment and people are valued equally”. Since the disaster of April, 24th 2013 that this organization brings people all over the world together to show brands that their costumers care and demand better for the people who make their clothes. I think that organizing an event like this on such an important date can raise global awareness to a question we almost always forget. Did you really ever picked a beautiful dress from a rack at your favorite store and wondered anything else apart from, “Can I afford it?” and “Does it fit me?”? Or when you need to shop for clothes, don’t you try to look for bargains?
I never wondered that those “bargains” I find when buying fast fashion, could, in fact, be costing lives. I’m not going to say that I already can afford a lot more than fast fashion, or that I’m always a conscious buyer. I’m not. And that’s why I feel it is so important that at least once a year we take some time to think about the conditions in which the people who make your clothes live and work. About their rights, their dreams and mostly their safety. So if you would like to take a minute of your time and try to make a change, go ask the brands, “Who made my clothes?” You can also get involved on social media, by showing your labels and using the hashtag #whomademyclothes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
And the concerns about fast fashion go also to another level. Environmentally, fast fashion is also not sustainable. Did you know that a typical pair of jeans takes 7,000 liters of water to produce? You can read more about the environmental impacts of fast fashion here.
So what can we do?
- Buy with love. We should try to only buy clothes that we are absolutely in love with. That we will take care and use as if they had cost a fortune, even if they didn’t. In this way, we can buy less, and the clothes we buy will last longer if we wash them according to instructions, etc.
- Buy fair-trade, support local vintage and second-hand shops, and search for independent designers if you can.
- When you realize there are pieces in your wardrobe that you don’t wear anymore, try to sell them or give to a friend that can still give them some love. You can also donate to charity or, as the last resource, recycle.
- Refashion and upcycle. Fashion trends change every season, but most of your clothes can be adapted to suit the new desirable look. You can find shops in almost every town that offer alteration services for reasonable prices.
- Get crafty. You can make your own clothes too! First, while making a piece of clothing from scratch you come to realize how much work goes into a very simple skirt. Then you will also appreciate the clothes you make much more than anything you have bought, because you have put so much time and thought into it. And it is fun, more sustainable and incredibly rewarding to wear something that you have created!
Since I make some of my clothes, I’m also joining the Handmade Fashion Revolution Week hosted by Petit à Petit and Family. If you feel you would like to start making your own clothes, there is an amazing community out there willing to help and support you!
Join the movement for more sustainable and conscious fashion!