3 Questions You Should Ask Clothing Brands This Fashion Revolution Week

Whether you’ve been wearing your sweatshirt or donning your partner’s favorite shirt through all this quarantine stagnation, your outfit has always been made by someone, somewhere. Do you know the story behind your threads? Do you know where they were produced or who made them?

It is fashion revolution Week again. A fashion activism movement launched in response to the Rana Plaza factory collapse where over 1,100 garment workers were killed and over 2,500 were injured, the campaign is celebrating its 8th anniversary. And it’s getting bigger, stronger and growing in popularity with more people participating every year demanding a safe, fair, transparent and responsible fashion industry.

The industry’s impact on human lives, communities and the environment has been the subject of numerous fashion books, podcasts and documentaries over the past few years; the revealing documentary film of 2015 The real cost which was later released on popular streaming service Netflix raised awareness of the issues behind the glitz and glamor of the fashion industry.

The documentary film True Cost
Source: The actual cost.

And with COVID-19 revealing just how fragile the fashion industry is, with a drop in global customer demand and sales prompting brands to cancel orders and leaving manufacturers no choice but to let go. workers, many are sent home without being paid what is due to them.

There’s a whole world of mode of exploitation, pollution and human rights abuses laid bare if you choose to look past this cute, cheap dress. Want to build a better fashion world? Demand transparency from your favorite fashion brands. Ask them uncomfortable questions. Blame them by continuing to pursue them until you get an answer. When contacting them, keep in mind the theme of this year’s fashion revolution: rights. Relationships. Revolution.

Here are three questions you should be asking clothing brands this Fashion Revolution Week:

Who made my clothes?

Modern slavery, forced labor, gender inequality and exploitation are just some of the problems of the global rag trade – problems hidden behind sleek fashion photos and glossy advertisements. When the Rana Plaza building collapsed it sent shockwaves across the world and for many this event also marked the first time they actually stopped considering the people behind the clothes they buy .

Related article: What she earns: Oxfam challenges Australian brands to pay garment workers living wages

Fast forward to today, and as the industry suffers a slump due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has left millions of garment workers, homeworkers and secondary workers jobless. and without income to support their families. A high percentage of this workforce is female.

So ask fashion brands “who made your clothes?” is a call to act responsibly and ethically. Consider the humans behind the clothes. This simple question challenges them to create solutions that will go a long way to improving the lives of garment workers.

This simple question asked on social networks (and tagging the brand to empower it!) is the beginning of a cultural change where clothing is no longer considered in isolation, but in relation: with oneself, with the makers, with brands and with suppliers.

Who made my fabric?

The transparency we demand from fashion brands should not be limited to knowing who the garment workers are. In this Fashion Revolution Week, you should also ask yourself “who made my fabric? to initiate a discussion around the origin of fabrics and threads and the people who grew, spun or wove them.

By asking this simple question, exploitative working conditions can be uncovered, and thus how the brand will solve the problem.

By asking “Who made my fabric?” every worker in the supply chain, from farmers to spinners, weavers, dyers, finishers, is made visible and humanized.

What’s in my clothes?

From synthetic fibers such as polyester that release microfibers into the oceans, to huge amounts of chemical dyes that flow into rivers and streams, consumers are becoming aware of the environmental impacts of the fashion industry and are looking for brands that are committed to making eco-friendly fabrics and processes. .

The industry, however, is known to be incredibly opaque when it comes to providing detailed information about raw materials, fabric sourcing and the processes involved. Increased awareness of ‘greenwashing’ means shoppers are no longer just taking the garment label at face value and are demanding more transparency from brands about what actually went into producing the materials.

So be sure to ask your favorite labels “what’s in my clothes?” and continue this conversation. There should be no more excuses to continue to “business as usual” and contribute to many environmental problems such as deforestation, water pollution, biodiversity loss and waste.

Also, as a conscious consumer, you have the right to know what’s in your clothes. You have the right to get what you pay for. If you buy an item that says it’s made from natural fibers, you deserve to have exactly that. If you care about human rights and expect ethical treatment from supply chain workers, that’s what you should be pushing for. So get involved, post a photo on social media wearing your favorite top or garment, tag the brands behind these items and ask these questions!

Let’s make this week the biggest Fashion Revolution Week yet!

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Cover image via Fashion Revolution.

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Michael O. Stutler