Fashion's dark side was brought to light in 2013, and it proved to be very, very ugly. Last April 24th, the Rana Plaza factory collapse took over 1,000 lives in Bangladesh (and injured over 2500). Since that tragedy, (and several other destructive and deadly fires), the world has woken up to the insane, bordering-on-slavery conditions our ever-cheaper clothes are made in. Since the 90s, when the last of the American manufacturers moved their production abroad, our clothes have actually become cheaper—which has enabled the rise of fast fashion and .97 pants from stores like Old Navy.
The only way clothes can be made at that price is by paying people even less to sew them (typically a few cents per garment), using cheap materials that don't last, and polluting air and waterways with toxic chemicals in countries where such practices are unregulated. It's a dirty business to make clothes so cheaply that they've become throw-away.
Fashion Revolution Day's aims are to improve both the human and environmental impact of the fashion business, through partnerships with existing responsible brands, consumers and fashion trade organizations.
According to Oceana Lott, Fashion Revolution Day USA's executive director, “The way the people who make and sell our clothes are treated can and will change, if we as consumers are curious, do a little research, and act. It starts with a simple question. Let’s all wear clothes that we feel good about.”
On April 24th, the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, people around the world will be wearing their clothes inside out while asking and answering one simple question: “Who made your clothes?”
Take a look right now: Where were you clothes, shoes and accessories made? Do you trust that the companies you bought them from were treating their employees fairly and the environment of the country where they were made well? If you'd like to see real change in the fashion industry, follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter (there will also be events in New York City, London, and other international locations as well). Check out Fashion Revolution Day's international page here.
So far, the response has been amazing: In just a few short days since the campaign has launched, it has garnered attention from all corners of the globe.
Carry Somers, ethical fashion designer and UK-based founder of FRD reports: “Fashion Revolution Day has already gathered incredible momentum on a global scale. We have been inundated with fashion industry leaders, consumers, celebrities and media all wanting to mark the occasion and revolutionize the industry.”
Full disclosure: I am on the board of Fashion Revolution Day USA
Related on MNN:
- A new book explores fast fashion's deep environmental—and human—toll
- The H&M conundrum: Does it make sense to support more ethical fast fashion?