The first ever Fashion Revolution Day (FRD) has now come and gone, but the fight for a fairer future for fashion has only just begun! The driving force behind FRD has been a desire to use the power of fashion to catalyse change and reconnect the broken links in the supply chain. As with any type of purchase, whether it's food, fashion or furniture - it can be difficult to feel a sense of that item's full history and the imprint its creation has had on both people and planet. Our lack of knowledge can mean that our purchasing decisions can lead us to become unwitting accomplices to human rights violations and environmental degradation.
The great thing about FRD is that it was never about making us as consumers feel guilty and helpless but to empower us all to take control of our choices, to be curious, find out more and take simple but effective action. To kickstart this process the world was asked to make a statement by wearing an item of clothing inside-out and asking the brand on the label - who made your clothes?
As a member of the FRD working committee for Australia and New Zealand I was delighted by the amazing response we received leading up to and on the day itself. People from a wide variety of backgrounds and of vastly different ages joined FRD in saying 'enough is enough' - it's time to face up to the consequences of fast and unethical fashion. It was so inspiring to see people showing a true desire to follow the thread linking the garment to the machinists who sewed it, all the way down to the farmer who grew the cotton.
Rather than slowing down after the actual FRD on 24th April, it feels like momentum is continuing to build on the topic of making fashion fair for all. Last Friday our amazing Country Coordinator for FRD in Australia and New Zealand, Mel Tually, joined a panel discussion on cheap and dirty fashion hosted by Oxfam's 3 Things Project. The panel also included Simon McRae from Ethical Clothing Australia, Lisa Heinze of Clean Cut Fashion and Nishan David from Bloodless.
The key messages I gained from this insightful discussion were: if you care, be persistent when asking brands for information about their supply chain; never assume anything, for instance if a brand has a charitable foundation that's great but it doesn't necessarily mean they pay their workers a living wage; and when in doubt, the best thing you can do is buy less and cherish what you already have!
So what now? For starters I'll be continuing to bring you the latest developments in fair fashion here on Kindness by Design. In the meantime you can also take one or more of these simple actions:
1. Invest in the future of Fashion Revolution Day by supporting their campaign here on Indigogo and nab yourself some stunning ethical fashion perks at the same time! Talk about win-win :)
2. Purchase an official Who Made Your Clothes tee designed by Michael Stars and produced by Under the Canopy with 65% of the proceeds going to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund. These limited edition tees were made in a geothermal/solar powered factory, using certified organic cotton and patented chemical-free, seaweed-based dyes. You can grab yours here.
3. The FRD site has a wealth of fantastic resources and links to connect you to more information about ethical and sustainable fashion. Check them out here.
4. If you're in Australia or New Zealand you can follow all the FRD news and events on Facebook and Twitter. From somewhere else? No worries! Find your local groups here.
|Photo credit: Matt Hoggett|