On the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed over 1,000 people and injured many more in 2013, we join millions of others to campaign for systemic change in the fashion industry. Fashion Revolution week starts now! This is a campaign for a clean, safe, fair, transparent, and accountable fashion industry. At its core, fair trade brands value people over growth and profit.
In the midst of closures due to COVID-19, we are still commemorating the Fashion Revolution—it just looks a bit different this year. The people who make our clothes are significantly impacted. Fast-fashion garment workers are left vulnerable, with little social protection and impoverishing wages.
Here are 3 ways the Fashion Revolution has adapted in light of COVID-19:
1. Reporting on workers in the supply chain
One of the biggest challenges in the supply chain is making sure workers are getting paid fair livable wages. While the overconsumption of clothing has been an issue for a while, the sudden stop in production ultimately is leaving the lowest paid the most vulnerable.
Fashion Revolution is a not-for-profit global movement with teams in over 100 countries around the world. They are continually updating information on supply chain workers from around the world as well as adding new fundraising appeals to support workers. This is important because, “In response to the pandemic, many major fashion brands and retailers are cancelling orders and stopping payments for orders already placed, even when the work has already been done, taking no responsibility for the impact this has on the people in their supply chains. Factories are left with little choice but to destroy or keep hold of unwanted goods already made and lay off their workers in droves.”
Stay updated on their website here → The impact of COVID-19 on the people who make our clothes
2. The great Fashion Revolution clothes swap is postponed
Once it is safe to do so, this event marks a day of hosting and documenting a clothing swap. In the meantime, check out Fashion Revolution’s #haulternative guide—a way of refreshing your wardrobe without buying new clothes. DIY, mend, fix, swap…this guide includes everything from fashion fixes to renting clothes to sharing your slow fashion tips and tricks with friends. Make #LovedClothesLast from home. Need to sew on a button? We love this how-to video!
3. More digital activism
Now that you may have more time on your hands, stay digitally active by advocating to brands to continue to pay their workers. Check out how to stay digitally active with the Fashion Revolution here → Digital Activism
Also, engage with fast-fashion brands by rethinking ways to ask “Who made my clothes?” + “What’s in my clothes?” You can creatively ask your favorite brand thought provoking questions without printing a thing! → Check it out on Instagram
The Fashion Revolution began with a powerful social media hashtag asking brands, “#whomademyclothes?” and has grown to be a force for collective action. Now, in the time of COVID-19, we need to keep important conversations going that are heightened by their relevance to today’s events. Stay updated and stay informed!
—Thanks to Tabitha for this blog post (Apparel Design & Merchandising major at Seattle Pacific University and part of the FTW family!)