Let me refresh your memory: on April 24th, 2013, on the outskirts of Dhaka in Bangladesh, a building housing textile factories collapsed. 1129 people died. Unfortunately it was not the first accident of its kind in that country, nor will it be the last, but it was undoubtedly an event that changed the world.
Since then there are more and more movements and people fighting against the fast fashion industry and that is what I am writing about today.
Bangladesh is fairly far away from our seaside planted garden of a country, so far away, that it is difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of these people and these families. Imagine the terror they’ve been through. However, when an event like that happens we are all responsible, me, you, our neighbours, cousins and aunts.
We may think that we, the common consumer of fast fashion, are paying the wages of these people. I thought about it the first time I went to Bangladesh. I thought how lucky these people were because Zara and company were producing their products in Bangladesh, almost as if it were a favour they were doing to those people. Today I feel very ashamed to have ever thought so.
I had read a few things about this, but it was only when I saw the documentary THE TRUE COST that I truly understood the extent of the problem. The documentary goes beyond the obvious, the precarious conditions of the workers of these factories. And it shows us other dimensions of a problem that is so distant to us: environmental factors, the billions that this industry profits at the expense of developing countries, the saturation of the market, the devaluation of consumer goods, etc. If you have not yet watched the documentary please do, it is available on Netflix.
Going back to the responsibility we all have, what can we change?
This is a sensitive answer, and a very personal one too. From my perspective, the solution is not limiting yourself to only buy clothes and accessories there are fair trade and made of organic cotton, because this is not accessible to everyone. The most immediate way we have to stop the growth of this industry is to simply stop buying.
Every week new pieces arrive at these stores. Most of us have clothes that we do not use, do not need, and often do not even remember. Go to the back of your closet and reuse what you already have, create a new connection with your pieces.
Within this responsibility we have, there is more we can do. Fashion Revolution, which was born one year after the tragedy in Bangladesh, organizes FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK every year, on the week of April 24th. During this week several initiatives take place around the world, aimed at alerting and informing the average consumer about who made their clothes, which are the better alternatives to where and how to get clothes, which materials to prefer, etc. It’s a week full of information.
In Portugal, we are so very lucky, that we have a platform dedicated only to us. It is a resource that we have available and that we should use. It is our obligation as citizens to question, participate and have an active voice in building a fairer and more balanced society.
FASHION REVOLUTION PORTUGAL is full of useful information, so my appeal is just this: see the documentary, visit the pages of the movement on social media, participate and pass the message.
BONUS: This year MW will be involved in FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK. Find out more here.
This post was originally written in Portuguese. Click here for the Portuguese version.
Clique aqui para ler este texto em português.