Fashion or Exploitation?

Written by Gen Maters.

Do you know who made that cute skirt you just bought? Or how much that person is paid an hour?

Fashion Revolution – a UK-based organisation comprising clothing designers, policymakers, and fashion-lovers to name but a few – want to change the way the fashion industry operates.

They believe that the way clothing is made, as well as the treatment of workers, is just as important as the profits a company generates.

Their campaign, Fashion Revolution Week, occurs each year during April and is a chance for you to ask #whomademyclothes?

Why is Fashion Revolution in April?

Why April?

At 8:45am on 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1138 people and injuring 2500.

It’s known as one of the world’s worse industrial disasters.

Even though cracks in the building were discovered the previous day, garment workers were told to return to work.

The complex was home to several factories manufacturing clothing for various global brands including Mango, Primark, and Walmart.

According to Fashion Revolution founder, Carry Somers,

“It’s been estimated that about an extra 25 cents on an item of clothing made in Bangladesh would pay a living wage to garment workers and ensure that all buildings meet building safety standards.”

But six years later, many fashion giants still refuse to change.

So what can you do to help the slow fashion movenment?

  1. Start by asking your favourite brand #whomademyclothes?

    Simply take a photo of your clothing label and post on social media with the hashtag #whomademyclothes? Fashion Revolution has some fantastic images if you want to update your cover photo while you’re at it.

  2. Fall in love with the clothes you already own

    With most Aussies buying 27 kilos of clothing each year, why not rework something you already have? Wear a fitted top over a dress to turn it into skirt, try an 80’s peg roll with your favourite pair of jeans, or pair a suit with a graphic tee.

  3. Try #haulternative

    Rather than post a clip of your new clothing haul, try to upcycle your clothes, swap with friends, or look for hidden gems in second-hand stores. #haulternative videos are becoming increasingly popular on social media and allow you to educate and entertain your followers at the same time.

  4. Care for your clothes so they last longer

    You’d be surprised how long a piece of clothing will last if treated with a bit of love. Top tips include washing your delicates by hand, allowing your clothes to air dry, rinsing your cozzie after a dip, and “resting” clothes with elastic.

  5. Check out online resources

    If you’re thinking about starting an ethical label, take a look at Business Victoria and learn how to design a sustainable fashion line. The page helps you understand the impact that production and manufacturing processes can have on the environment, as well as how to organise third party verification when working with overseas companies.

  6. Share a story about a piece of clothing that means a lot to you

    Next time you see your bestie, make a pact to wear your favourite piece of clothing and tell each other why it means so much to you. Maybe it’s something that makes you feel sexy no matter what your mood or maybe it was a thoughtful gift from a loved one. Whatever the reason, revisiting those memories will encourage you to hang on to it.