Top ten ideas for fashion activism
This is my second Fashion Revolution Week since I started blogging and I think I understand the significance of it even more now. This week is mainly to remember the Rana Plaza disaster, which happened on 24th April 2013, where a garment factory collapsed killing 1134 people. This building was not fit for purpose and the factory owners had been neglecting the workers safety. This disaster led to campaigns from Fashion Revolution, Labour Behind the Label and the Clean Clothes Campaign. The fashion industry is broken and it is not protecting the people who work the hardest in the supply chains, this is something that I want to change and this is why I take part in Fashion Revolution Week.
During this week there are hundreds of events going on all over the world and there will be increased media coverage, especially on social media. It’s the perfect time for you to try out some fashion activism to support the #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign and join the tribe of fashionistas with a passion for change! It can seem overwhelming to look at a campaign of this size and try and think of how to start, so I’ve put together a few ideas for you that will hopefully get you excited about joining the campaign and making it personal to you! Here are my top ten ideas for fashion activism…
1. Ask your favourite fashion brand #WhoMadeMyClothes – this is the recurring question we ask each Fashion Revolution Week and it is designed to encourage brands to be more transparent about where their clothing is made and by who. Pick a brand that you know you like but maybe don’t know much about their supply chain or their environmental policies.
2. Watch The True Cost – This documentary gives great insight into the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry and shows you the extent of the waste produced by fast fashion. Host a watching party, share the link on Facebook, tell your friends what you found out and arm yourself with the facts. It’s a great way to learn more about the fashion industry and if you can share what you’ve learned – even better!
3. Host a clothes swap – get your friends, family and colleagues together and swap till you drop! The rules are pretty easy; bring a certain number of quality clothing with you and you can leave with the same amount, e.g. bring 5 items and take 5 items. It’s great to see your clothes go to people you know and you are guaranteed to find something you’ve had your eye on for a while. Why not share your #haulternative on social media so people can see there are other ways of getting new clothes without actually buying new clothes!
4. Support an independent fashion retailer – they will work in smaller batches, thus reducing the amount of ‘end-of-season’ waste, and will have smaller supply chains so are likely to know who is working at each stage of the process making them a much more transparent brand. Plus you’ll be supporting a real, hard-working boss babe (or boss guy – does that even sound right?) and that’s so much better than lining the pockets of some old rich CEO living in a mansion. I love shopping at the vegan clothing store in Bristol; Collection & Co, ran by the lovely Felesha :)
5. Learn to mend broken clothes – If we weren’t so quick to throw away clothes that needed fixing, there would be much less textile waste and we could create a more circular economy. You don’t need to be a couture seamstress to sew a button back on, check out this YouTube video with a few handy guides to simple fixes.
6. Attend a Fashion Revolution Week event near you – this is a great way to network with other conscious shoppers and find out more about the issues in the fashion industry from the professionals. Check out the Fashion Revolution list of events near you and see what takes your fancy! I’ll be going to an event in Bristol called “Who made my clothes?” talk and Q&A with oB wear and Project Pico” and I will report back after…
7. Get political – don’t be immediately put off by this one, it’s not as hard as it sounds! Labour Behind the Labour are asking people to write a letter to the Bangladesh government asking them to withdraw the restraining order against the Bangladesh Accord; an agreement on fire and building safety in garment factories. Currently the Accord has been given an extension until 19th May by the Supreme Court, but they need all of us to petition to ensure its survival. This would be a powerful contribution towards helping the garment industry become a safer and fairer place to work for the millions of garment workers who provide clothing to Europe and North America.
8. Reduce, reuse, recycle – apply this mantra to all aspects of your life, but especially your clothing! Let’s break it down:
Reduce: look at your buying habits and see if you can cut down the amount of clothing you buy. The chances are you have everything you ‘need’ already.
Reuse: Rediscover old clothing that you’ve forgotten about, have fun restyling them and giving them another lease of life.
Recycle: instead of throwing away clothes that have reached the end of their lifespan, cut them up into rags or give them to a textile recycling plant.
9. Buy second hand – call it thrifting, charity shops or vintage, the concept is the same; buying clothes that aren’t new. Again, this helps us move towards a more circular economy where we keep clothes in use for much longer and reduce waste. It’s a great way to shop as you’ll end up spending less and getting more for your money and it saves clothes from going on the landfill.
10. Veganize your wardrobe! One of the best ways to make your clothing more sustainable, ethical and environmentally friendly is to exclude animal products from your closet. According to the 2017 Pulse of the Fashion Industry report, cow leather has the biggest impact on the environment; with wool and silk also in the top 5 worst materials for the planet in terms of production.
So maybe you only try out one of these ideas, any action is still an action! Fashion Revolution Week is about using your voice to speak up for what’s right and fighting for a fairer fashion industry for everyone, your actions are what make this a great campaign! Check out the Fashion Revolution Take Action page for more ideas! Keep me posted on what you get up to this week; I’d love to hear about it :)