My fellow Fashion Revolutionaries! The time has come once again to raise our hands and call for a better fashion industry: one that respects the planet and its people, from garment workers in supply chains through to us shoppers!
This year, Fashion Revolution Week has been completely digitised to ensure we all remain safe and well during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite being sad that I won’t be heading to the V&A for this year’s Fashion Revolution Question Time, I am ecstatic that Question Time can now be viewed by millions around the world, alongside all of Fash Rev’s activities!
So, here’s my list of ways to join in with Fashion Revolution this week, and for all weeks to come…
Ask brands #whomademyclothes
First up, let’s go to the mothership. Fashion Revolution was borne out of the sheer horror of the Rana Plaza Collapse which happened on 24th April 2013, and killed over 1,000 people working in unsafe conditions while making our clothes. Co-Founders Orsola de Castro and Carry Somers decided to start a movement to clean up the fashion industry, which leads us to where we are today: millions of supporters, thousands of brands, and hundreds of events are part of the Fashion Revolution.
For Fashion Revolution Week, you can instantly get involved by asking your favourite fashion brands #whomademyclothes. Head on over to the F.R. website to send a templated email or a tweet, or download the #WMMC poster to hold up on Instagram and tag the brands who aren’t yet transparent!
Join in with Fashion Revolution’s events
As this year’s Fashion Revolution Week is purely digital, you can join in any event from literally anywhere! Check out the Events Calendar to decide what you’re going to join in with, or head on over to Global Fashion Revolution Instagram for live webinars, interviews, and more.
Sign Remake Our World’s petition
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, many fashion houses have paused or cancelled orders with their third-party garment factories. This leaves so many people in vulnerable positions, without promise of payment. As per my previous post, by signing Remake Our World’s petition you’re sending a message to some of the brands who are withholding payment (even when they say they will pay). Let’s keep brands accountable!
Buy from small, sustainable designers…
If you’re looking to get into sustainable fashion, I recommend spending some time honing your style, and finding small, sustainable designers who cater to it!
Last week I was asked “Is it right to buy things online right now?” and my answer is: “yes!” While pointless consumption is not sustainable, if you are making a considered purchase with a sustainable business that is still operating during the pandemic, now is as good a time as any to place an order. In fact, it’s probably better – you may be helping that small business to navigate these uncertain waters right now. Just have some compassion: delivery times may be longer than normal, and if your favourite brand isn’t operating, it’s because they don’t think it’s safe to do so. That’s a respectful decision to make too.
…go for second-hand purchases…
Alongside shopping new, why not spend some time curating a second-hand wishlist? I’ve been spending some down-time scrolling eBay, Vestiaire Collective, Reliked*, and my other favourite second-hand sites to scout affordable, eco alternatives to buying new.
…or shop your existing wardrobe!
Finally, one of the most sustainable things you can do this week is to style-up your wardrobe! That means digging everything out, and finding new ways to wear old faves. What about wrapping that new belt around that old dress? Putting those heels with that skirt? Mix things up and share your clothing love story online.
Sell, donate, or swap your unwanted garments
Similarly, why not tap into the circular economy yourself? Anything you can no longer wear, clean, fold, and store neatly at the back of your wardrobe. When the time’s right, sell, donate, or swap these pieces! (I promise I’ll tell you as soon as we reschedule the Haulternative Closet clothes swap too!)
Demand Round II of the Fixing Fashion Report
If it’s political action you’re after, let’s call for a Fixing Fashion Report Pt. II!
You may remember that around this time last year, the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee submitted a report to Government highlighting the social and environmental issues of the fashion industry. This was called the Fixing Fashion Report, and it held 18 recommendations for cleaning things up on a regulatory level. Unfortunately, all 18 were rejected.
Since then, there’s been a slow decaying of political action around the fashion industry, and even general environmental policy, with worries raised around the Office for Environmental Protection’s powers and bias. After writing to my MP, they echoed this same sentiment. So, what do we do now?
We writetothem.com. Yup, let’s keep writing to our MPs, and highlighting our wishes to strengthen environmental policy, and ask what steps are being taken in the fashion industry too!
Verify sustainable fashion using these apps
If you’re like me and you want to go further by doing your own sustainable fashion research, I’d really recommend these apps and websites:
- Ethical Consumer
- Fashion Transparency Index
- Good On You
- The Good Shopping Guide
- Materials Sustainability Index
- Open Apparel Registry
You may also wish to start reading through fashion business’ reports. I’m talking Annual Reports, Codes of Conduct, and emails asking for transparency around the third-party factories they work with.
Give these resources a gander
Finally, let’s talk about resources I’ve learned a lot from. I’m a self-taught fashion revolutionary, without a fashion degree, or any experience in the fashion industry, other than as a shopper. That said, I know what it’s like to work (I’ve been working since I was 16) and I also know what it’s like to experience poor work environments. Nobody deserves that, and especially not at the cost of our clothes, or the cost of life.
Sustainable fashion resources that have taught me so much in my five years of writing include:
- A Life Less Throwaway by Tara Button
- The Curated Closet* by Anushka Rees
- Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes* by Shahidra Bari
- Fashion Revolution’s How-To Guides
- Foot Work: What Your Shoes Are Doing To The World* by Tansy Hoskins
- Riverblue Documentary
- The True Cost Documentary
- This Is A Good Guide* by Marieke Eyskoot
- Vegan Style* by Sascha Camilli
Got anything else to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!