On some level I’ve always been conscious of what I wear in terms of the making of the product and the people who have been paid little to make it, but it wasn’t until properly researching further into it that I realised the detrimental effects that buying clothing has on people.
It was one of those things that I found out accidentally by following various pages on Instagram specialising in ethical fashion, it’s not something I was told or taught about but it should be. I love fashion more than anything, and to hear that people actually die making the clothing that we wear on our backs, makes me so sad.
I wrote a post ages ago about the difference between slow and fast fashion so I don’t wanna go into that today, but basically fast fashion is bad and slow fashion is good. Because fast fashion brands such as Primark charge so little for their clothing it means that so little goes back to the people that slave away to make them. On the other hand slow fashion brands use sustainable materials and ensure that those who make the clothes get their fair share of the profit. I’ve been making a conscious effort this year to shop better and while it’s been hard in some cases, for the most part it’s been easy which shows that you can shop sustainable and on a student budget!
The Fashion Revolution week ended last week, which is an organisation that calls for greater transparency in the fashion industry because as consumers we are told very little about where our clothes have come from. This week has seen a lot of people calling out their favourite brands to find out what is going on basically and for them to reveal the truth behind the garments.
On 24th April 2013, the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,138 people and injuring 2,500 and many of these workers live in poverty and experienced abuse. The Fashion Revolution movement was set up to call for a fairer, safer, cleaner, fashion industry with the first step being greater transparency to bring wider recognition to the many workers in the supply chain to ensure their work is valued and by revealing the current structures in place we can understand and change them. Companies must increase sales growth and make profits to succeed but not at the expense of working conditions and the environment as too many people suffer when we should value the people and planet in equal measure. The movement devised a 3 stage plan of things to change to educate people through social media on the impacts of fashion so that we can make a change to save the future. I came across this movement on Instagram and it has influenced the way I shop which shows the positive impact social media can have.
- Current business model: The way fashion is produced and consumed has been scaled and sped up due to high demand but this process needs to be transformed to the slow fashion approach, by ensuring quality over quantity.
- Materials: Chemicals used to make clothing affect many people and basic health and safety regulations don’t exist for many. We need to find alternatives such as buying secondhand clothing instead as clothing production accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions and climate change is a rising problem.
- Mindset: The key message is that we need to buy less and buy better because compared to 20 years ago we buy 400% more clothing. Society is unaware of the impacts being made with every purchase and people need to be better educated on where their money is going.
The Fashion Revolution movement is so important and we need it now more than ever because things are not looking good in the world right now with global warming being such a MASSIVE issue that people are annoyingly ignoring.
We need to be so much more conscious of the things that we buy, and if more and more people do it then we can save the livelihoods of so many people in the poorer countries who work in these factories and maybe even prolong the life of our planet! But it’s gonna take a lot of people.
You may have heard about all the climate change protest marches that are going on around the world, especially in London and I wish I could join them because I admire what they are doing. The fashion industry contributes a lot to global warming, in a bad way, and it’s an industry that I want to join so I want to help make a change for the best.
I believe that us, as consumers, are the starting point to this change. We need to change our excessive and unnecessary shopping habits. I bet that there are multiple items of clothing in your wardrobe that you don’t wear, so why go out and keep buying more when you don’t wear a lot of it anyway? There’s only so many days in the year and you don’t need a brand new outfit for each day.
Instead of chucking out clothes to landfill, donate them to charity shops to give them a second life or give them to your friends! If there’s something you bought and no longer like it, then upcycle it into something new that you know you will wear.
If you really feel the need to buy new clothes then go to a charity shop because you can find some great gems in there. Or if you don’t like buying secondhand then go to ethical fashion brand who you know will give back equally to those who made the clothes and have sourced sustainable fabrics. Please please please don’t just head to Primark.
We need to start calling out these brands so that they change the way that they work and I think that by stopping buying their products may help and be a starting point. Then we need to harness the power of social media and keep calling them out until they change!
We need a fashion revolution so that us children (I don’t know if 19 classes as being an adult or child) can have a better future and so that we can reach a place where we can enjoy fashion without being reminded of the consequences because I hope we get to a time where there will be none.
Are you doing anything to help the future of the fashion industry?