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Since 2014, a group of global citizens has been raising awareness of clothing factory conditions since the collapse of the Rana Plaza faculty collapse. The rise in fair trade and ethically made brands has grown significantly since this accident. Fashion Revolution calls out well-known brands on HOW their clothes are made.
What is Fashion Revolution Week?
So, what exactly is Fashion Revolution Week? FRW is the #whomademyclothes campaign in April, which falls on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1138 people and injured many more on 24th April 2013. That is the day Fashion Revolution was born. During this week, brands and producers are encouraged to respond with the hashtag #imadeyourclothes and to demonstrate transparency in their supply chain.
How is COVID-19 is affecting garment workers globally?
Unfortunately, Coronavirus aka COVID-19, has impacted every industry and country on the planet regardless of economic status. It is also unproportionatly affecting factory workers, small businesses, hospitality & travel. (https://www.fashionrevolution.org/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-the-people-who-make-our-clothes/)
Since the outbreak, large fashion brands have cancelled in-progress orders without payment, and many stopped placing future orders. Supplier factories, which operate on thin margins due to low prices paid by apparel brands, were forced to close and send workers home without pay. Many of these workers live paycheck to paycheck. 47% of Bangladesh workers have lost their jobs and now have no income, 24% are on leave with full pay and another 11% with only partial pay. (http://cleanclothes.org/covid19)
In the midst of the pandemic, some fashion brands are busting up unions and refusing to pay workers. Through these actions, big fashion names are victimizing the most vulnerable. This isn’t a political statement, it’s a fact, around the world the most impoverished people groups are suffering from lack of income, food, and medical care and the pandemic has been a shining light on privilege where it is and where it is not.
Why does “Who made my clothes” matter?
When we spend money we are casting a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. Do we want cheap, fast, and now? Or do we want quality, slow, and things that take time? When I think of quality, slow, and things that take time I’m reminded of my friend, Sara, who hand makes most of her clothes. She knits and is often knitting for herself or her family. She’ll be at church knitting away on socks, a new sweater, and at the same time sewing her self a new blouse. Things that take time, she and her family wear these pieces for years to come. And as her kids get older they pass down their sweaters, socks, and clothes to the next one.
When I think of “Who makes my clothes” I think of the artisan women in Nepal that have been rescued from sex trafficking that now are seamstresses with Elegantees. And my Sseko Designs Uganda co-workers, who are working towards University and supporting their family working full time to send their kids to school and put food on the table. You can directly impact artisan women’s lives when you shop small and buy ethically made.
And since I don’t make my own clothes, I’m not that talented, I will choose to spend my money with those who are skilled in sewing and that treat their employees with respect, safe work conditions, and a living wage. You can see a whole list of brands that I encourage you to support HERE.
You can support small business & ethical fashion brands by sharing their work and content on social media, buying from them, and talking about how the pandemic is exasperating financial disparities in the world today.