“Demand to know who are the individuals who makes your clothes and discover the organizations working on the field to make change happen.” – fashionrevolution.org
We have always learned to pick clothes that are comfortable and fit us perfectly but the writing on clothing labels have always been kept pretty simple. Unless you’re a customer in Milan, you’re likely not interested in the details of the garment’s origins. In reality, it is just as important to learn where clothes are made and how the people who produced them were treated during the process.
The Canadian Fair Trade Network and Fashion Revolution are two of the many organizations out there that have been working tirelessly to see a change in the production of its collection. Where clothing companies will respond to the consumers’ demand for transparency and unveil the origins of the clothes and whether the people working in the production of clothing items are getting a fair deal.
Canadian Fair Trade Network
Advocacy group Canadian Fair Trade Network recently unveiled a powerful campaign that outlines on actual clothing labels the types of horrors sweatshop workers in Cambodia, Sierra Leone and Bangladesh face. The stories represent what transpires at three levels of production – harvesting, textile production and garment manufacturing.
In 2012, Cambodia shipped more than $4 billion worth of products to the United States and Europe, making the garment industry its most lucrative export. Yet the industry’s workers typically toil six days a week and make just $100 a month, barely enough to cover their basic expenses, according to advocacy group Clean Clothes.
Often, however, it isn’t just the meager wages that concern workers most. It’s the fact that they face unsafe working conditions that could cost them their lives. The hazardous condition workers in Bangladesh are subjected to made international headlines in 2012 when 112 laborers died in the country’s worst-ever factory fire. Wal-Mart, Disney and Sears were among the U.S. retailers who imported clothing from the devastated factory.
The #FashRev campaign that has spread to over 60 countries started off with fashion designers Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro asked their followers to wear their clothes inside out, snap a picture of themselves and then post it to social media with the questions: Who made my clothes?
The Fashion Revolution Day wanted consumers to ask the brands they sport whether they source, sew, dye and ship their products under eco-friendly and humane conditions. “We believe in a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure,” reads the campaign website.
But a catchy hashtag isn’t the cornerstone of Fashion Revolution. The movement was launched to honor the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. Brands were also impacted as retailers such as Inditex (parent company of Zara), Mango, JC Penny and Children’s Place used fabrics from the facility.
According to the infographic, the apparel sector is the second most polluting industry in the world and cotton production involves more child and forced labor that any other manufactured product.
At BOB, we strive to promote our very own hashtag #ResponsibleFashion which refers to a brand that is either environmentally or socially responsible. We believe in encouraging consumers to make more responsible purchases and bring humanity back into the forefront of consumers’ minds.
Find out more about the campaigns and how you can get involved:
"Hi, I'm Rev, 24 years old and a Master's student at Murdoch University, Western Australia. My hobbies include writing and baking of all sorts! Education has always played an important role in my life and B.O.B works towards that same goal of raising awareness and funds for the education of children in refugee camps. You get to work alongside selfless people that share the same perspective.