Who made your clothes? If you don’t know the answer, it might be time to find out. Today is Fashion Revolution Day – marking the one-year anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1133 people and injured over 2500. Fashion Revolution Day is a new annual global movement founded by Fair Trade and ethical fashion pioneer Carry Somers. The campaign wants you to be curious about your clothes and do something to help raise awareness of fashion’s social and environmental impact and create positive industry-wide change.
We’re showing our support of Fashion Revolution Day by acknowledging and celebrating brands producing beautiful fashion that’s kind to the planet and its people – such as Brisbane-based ethical fashion label One Colour. “The Rana Plaza disaster drew a line in the sand for me and for others,” says Di Stitt, founder of One Colour. “Fashion Revolution Day makes sure we don’t forget the beautiful young lives lost and that our choices absolutely, definitely matter. After seven years of actively engaging in retail and wholesale from a grassroots level up I can say that there has been a definite mental and emotional shift. That shift is great but I still think there is a great ease in shopping without thinking about the implications. Who made my clothes? Great question that needs to be asked over and over again. More work to be done, I’d say.”
Anyone can take part in Fashion Revolution Day and make those choices matter – all you need is curiosity, a camera and an internet connection. Today, put on your clothes inside out, take a photo of yourself wearing them and share it on all your social media networks with the hashtag #insideout. You can also take part in a series of ‘global media takeovers’ at @Fash_Rev and @Fash_Rev_AUSNZ on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and discuss a range of topics relevant to sustainable fashion, including Q&As with Greenpeace and the Fair Trade Foundation and first-hand accounts of what life is really like for those who work in the factories that supply some of our favourite fashion retailers.
As a green fashion and lifestyle publication, Peppermint has always advocated eco-friendly clothing and consumer goods, and has a long history of supporting campaigns that increase social and environmental awareness. “The reason Peppermint started in the first place was because I was designing a small clothing range and decided to research more about the fashion industry – the fabrics, the workers, the environmental impacts,” says founder and editor Kelley Sheenan. “The more I learned, the more passionate I became about finding a better way. If, as a designer, I didn’t know the facts behind where my clothing was being made, how was the general public meant to know? It’s important to remember that there is a story behind that cheap t-shirt… and it’s not likely to be a fairytale with a happy ending. There are many dark sides to the fast fashion industry, from the toxic chemicals used to workers’ rights being violated, and at its worst, tragedies like Rana Plaza.”
But campaigns such as Fashion Revolution Day can help avoid similar tragedies happening in future, which is why we’re encouraging everyone to get involved. We’ve created our own series of photos wearing sustainable and fair trade labels, saluting brands who are taking important steps to ensure that ethics are as important as style. “Fashion Revolution Day is a fantastic initiative to help bring awareness to the people behind our clothing – who grew the cotton, who spun the textiles, and who sewed the garments,” says Kelley. “There are now so many great labels that are designing with people and planet in mind. These labels need be celebrated, supported and sought out. It’s worth taking the time to ask, ‘Who made your clothes?’”
Images clockwise from top left: Kelly is wearing Kowtow, Carody is wearing Mata Traders, Rebecca is wearing Tluxe and Cara is wearing One Colour. Visit our Facebook page for the ethical stories behind the brands.