This year I became part of Fashion Revolution in Portugal, an incredible global movement to promote transparency within fashions’ supply chain. Throughout the week many exciting events and initiatives took place globally; here are some of the highlights.
It commenced with showcasing the True Cost movie [available on Netflix]; to mark the four-year anniversary of the shocking collapse of the Rana Plaza building, effecting many innocent lives. A day to collate more people to watch this film or other related documentaries, giving an insight of the neglected, unspoken part of the fashion industry. But also making us consider the journey of our clothes and the effects it has on the workers and the environment.
The launch of a thought provoking short film #lovedclotheslast, highlights the consequences of mass consumption; ‘landfill and decay meets everyday lifestyle’. The aim of this film is for us to look at our consuming lifestyle, to create an understanding of caring and looking after our clothes. Consequently, it motivates us to purchase consciously and be considerate of how we handle our clothes, but also everyday products and waste. Evidently, this will have a reduced effect on landfill mass, as well as lowering the environmental impact. The film displays a message about love; for us to engage and fall in love with the products we purchase and have, to be considerate in choosing quality and longer lasting items.
On Wednesday, the Fashion Revolution leading team, including Sarah Ditty, were at the European Parliament to discuss methods to create fair and sustainable supply chains in the garment sector. Resolution 505 was passed by the European Parliament, with the expectation that laws will proceed to guarantee better working conditions for those that make our clothes. Let’s hope we start to see these laws taking place soon!
With the release of the Fashion Transparency Index 2017 earlier on the week, there was a great buzz on how numerous brands ranked less than 50% in the categories. The index consists of a review of 100 global fashion brands and retailers, on how they are positioned within their disclosure of social and environmental policies, practices and their impacts. Amongst the contributors, there are brands that have annual turnover of more than $1.2 billion, yet no company managed to achieve high rankings on the transparency of their supply chain. Some of the findings showcased how luxurious brands such as Chanel, Dior and Prada had lower rakings of 20% or below on contributing their transparency practices in the report, whereas, H&M and GAP scored between 41% to 50%. Transparency is a major component for us to ensure that there are safer working conditions.
In regard to the Fanzine – Money Fashion Power; an insightful, creative, interactive magazine that reveals the reality of the fashion supply chain. A great tool to engage younger audiences, and those who want to be conscious consumers into being thoughtful, and in making a positive difference with their purchasing habits. Beautifully illustrated, with heartfelt stories and poems; a great coffee table read!
Over the weekend there were also many Swap Markets organised. A brilliant way to allow someone else to fall in love with the clothes you no longer want, and for you to acquire some great new finds. No money needed, just hand your selected clothes and receive vouchers, with these you can then choose any of the items available.
Throughout the week many corresponding countries showcased creative ways of communicating the Fashion Revolution movement to the public. Here are a few examples:
Brasil’s Anne Galante, @graficrochet showed us how crochet and textiles can be used as graffiti to gain people’s attention with the question #QuemFezMinhasRoupas?
France, went all out by installing giant letters of #WhoMadeMyClothes on the attractive Saint Martin Canal.
India, showed a Fash Mob in true Bollywood form engaging a wider audience.
Just because the week has ended, it does not mean we stop being inquisitive by asking brands #whomademyclothes, and to enlighten those around us about the concerns about the fashion supply chain. The Fashion Revolution mantra is key, ‘Be curious, find out, do something about it’.