It’s Fashion Revolution week commemorating the 8th anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse. Rana Plaza was a building in Bangladesh which housed a number of garment factories, employing around 5,000 people. The people in this building were manufacturing clothing for many of the biggest global fashion brands. More than 1,100 people died in the collapse and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. The victims were mostly young women.
This year, Fashion Revolution Week is focused on Rights, Relationships, and Revolution. We all have a role in the movement to change the fashion industry. Human and environmental prosperity are not isolated and separate but rather interconnected. We must value all people equally regardless of their ethnicity, color, religion or sex. And lastly, we must take responsibility for our impact to the fashion industry as consumers.
This year more than ever, the fashion industry is under scrutiny due to the pandemic. Many garment workers have been unable to work and are having to live without pay. Many companies have significantly reduced their orders.
You may be wondering what all this means. It means that we all need to recognize that each of us have a responsibility to make informed decisions about what we spend our money on. Don’t support a company with questionable ethics to save some money or because you love the dress. Don’t treat clothing as disposable. Research the companies you buy from - garments or otherwise. If they can’t tell you who made your clothes - there is probably a reason. Don’t assume because it’s in the mall that they are following the standards because they most likely aren’t.
I would like to think one thing that this Pandemic changed for many of us is our values. Many people really stopped to “smell the roses” and see what is important to them. Hopefully you are making choices now that support a healthier fashion industry. In honor of fashion Revolution week, we encourage you to organize a clothing swap with some friends or to reimagine one of your old favorites into something brand new. Whatever you do, think about how you can best positively impact the fashion industry and the lives of the garment workers around the world!