Did you know that this spring alone, we’ll send 235m items of clothing to landfill?
The impacts of our ‘fast fashion’ culture - throwing away millions of tonnes of clothing per year and replacing these items with mass produced fashion - is felt across the world. 75 million workers in the global supply chain live in poverty and work in unacceptable conditions, the polluting chemicals used in clothing production find their way into rivers and around 3% of the global production of CO2 emissions is attributable to the fashion industry.
Fashion Revolution is a global movement raising awareness of these issues, and calling for greater sustainability, transparency and ethics in the fashion industry.
Passionate about all things sustainability, we took part in Fashion Revolution Week to learn more about how we can make a difference, hosting events in the Bristol Energy Hub with local makers, fashionistas and upcycling experts including Helen from Kecks Clothing and Zoe from The Good Wardrobe.
Here Zoe tells us why we should think twice before we fill any more bin bags… and ask, ‘Who Made My Clothes?
What is fashion revolution week?
It’s an opportunity for people around the world to ask #whomademyclothes? By telling brands we care about the provenance of what we wear and by ‘voting with our wallets’ we’re sending a powerful message.
Why is it important?
On 24th April 2013 the Rana Plaza garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed killing 1138 people. The previous day there were concerns about safety but work went on regardless.
In April 2014 the inaugural Fashion Revolution Day took place to ‘demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain’, to try to ensure that nothing like the Rana Plaza collapse ever happens again, and to remember those who have been injured or have lost their lives making clothes for our stores.
What small things can we all do to help make a difference?
- If you use social media, take a photo of a favourite garment and ask the brand #whomademyclothes? If you’re not on social media or you have more time to spare then email a brand or write a postcard.
- When you buy clothes, asked who made them, and where.
- Don’t discard something just because it has a hole or has lost a button – learn to sew or find someone who can mend it for you. I love my clothes even more when they’ve lived a little and mending my favourite cardigan only strengthens my connection with it.
- When you’ve fallen out of love with something in your wardrobe or it has reached the end of its useful life, don’t throw it in the bin - dispose of it responsibly. Can it be swapped, reused, upcycled or recycled? Some charity shops have a zero waste policy and will even accept waste textiles but otherwise your council website will have details of where it can be recycled.
- Care for your clothes considerately. Save energy by washing clothes at 30 degrees. And investigate how best to care for them. If we look after our clothes, they will last longer. Have a look at the Care Label Project for more wisdom and inspiration.
For more ideas check out the Fashion Revolution website which it has loads of info about how you can get involved with Fashion Revolution Week and support Fashion Revolution year round.
Visit The Good Wardrobe for lots more ideas and advice on how to build the sustainability of your wardrobe.