What You Need to Know About Fashion Revolution Week

Fashion Revolution Week takes place this year from April 23 - 29th and is different from the traditional fashion weeks that are based in NYC or locally in your own city. The FR Week is a global campaign run by the UK based, non-profit organization, Fashion Revolution, to highlight the issues within the fashion industry that we know today.


THE FASHION REVOLUTION

This is a global movement to stand up for those working in an industry that can be oppressive - all for style. While these locations around the world need the fashion industry for economic development, they deserve the same human rights as the rest of the us. Here's what you need to know.
 

BACKGROUND

Fashion Revolution and FR Week was founded as a result to the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh where "1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history." Within the building, there were signs of instability with cracks in the foundation but garment workers were ordered into the space regardless. With this collapse on April 24, 2013, the world was made aware of the injustices that were happening behind the scenes in clothing manufacturing - that ultimately affected the whole fashion industry. Fast fashion brands like Walmart, H&M and Zara were manufacturing some of their garments under these roofs; As Bangalesh is one of the top locations for fashion production around the world. Reports of forced labor, unsafe working conditions and poor wages had been rumored for years, but this was one of the largest disasters that the world could no longer ignore.

  Rana Plaza Factory - Bangladesh April 24, 2013. Image : Fashion Revolution

Rana Plaza Factory - Bangladesh April 24, 2013. Image : Fashion Revolution

THE WHY BEHIND THE MOVEMENT

Fashion Revolution built this movement to raise awareness about the unknown facts behind the clothes we purchase and the brands we shop. The organization has done extensive research into determining details about global factories, brand awareness and workers rights. They are a huge resource and inspiration in order to get to know ethical fashion and why it's important. 

The movement is design to create change and action. There are many issues with how the industry has evolved - high product turnover, textile waste and ignorance to safety measures and global standards. This week is designed to challenge us on how we view consumption of clothing and the impact it has on our world's environment and human rights. To focus in on this, FR Week provides media, graphics, stories and highlights to create conversation that all of us can relate to within our shopping habits. Because, regardless if we think we are fashionable, we all wear clothes and therefore are affected.

And just to address a common misconception, this campaign, movement and ethical fashion industry is not about shutting down the factories or large fast fashion brands we know. It's about transparency and improvement within the systems that are already in place. People all over the world count on these manufacturing and production jobs provided by companies in countries like China, Bangladesh, India and many others. But this campaign is a call to action to ask our brands, our country and each other if we can justify ignoring these issues any longer. These workers, human-beings have a right to a living wage and safer working conditions. 
 

THE ISSUES

There are many issues that we hope to accomplish with movements like Fashion Revolution Week - we want to raise awareness to the real problems behind the clothes we wear as well as standing up for the human rights and global issues that are impacting so many lives. 

  • Living Wages - fighting for living wages for all workers within the industry. Many currently do not receive this right.
  • Unsafe Working Conditions - advocating for mandatory factory assessments and global standards to prevent injuries or accidents. Many of these regulations can be monitored by large brands in their contract agreements.
  • Human Trafficking - working to fight against slavery within the manufacturing industry as well as child labor, sex trafficking and imprisonment within factories.
  • Tracking Supply Chain - pushing for more standards within a company's supply chain and it's ability of tracking where materials, labor and other production methods are coming from. Many large fast fashion companies can not do this and therefore have no idea who's actually sewing, picking materials and fibers or packaging their shipments.
  • Environmental Practices - supporting environmental practices as a necessary addition to a company's process within their supply chain and production.
  • Global Sustainability - encouraging sustainable practices as the norm within an industry that is motivated by finances over sustainable practices of natural, organic and safe processes to make their product.
  • Textile Waste - demanding better practices with global textile recycling and waste measures to protect the environment and human life.

We, as consumers, have a voice to speak up on these problems that matter within the fashion industry. Based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, there are 17 causes that we can stand up for. And although it might be overwhelming when we look at each one and think, how can we make a difference? It will always be by choosing a cause that you're passionate about. For me, and those within the ethical and sustainable fashion industry, these social issues that affect labor rights, safe working conditions, and fair pay are what we stand for. And what we are using our voice to speak up for. If you are passionate about another one of these 17 causes, take small steps for a large impact. And if you're passionate about fashion and the industry, start by helping us stand up for what's right this Fashion Revolution Week!


Fashion is a reflection of the culture we live in, so together we must change the culture that surrounds it into one that demands positive leadership, transparency, accountability, and better lives all round. The fashion industry should lead on ethics and sustainability.
— Orsola de Castro, Fashion Revolution Founder

 

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

There are so many ways that you can get involved whether it's attending an event in your home city or through small measures that you can do at home.
 

Events Around the World

There are events happening around the world to raise awareness for call-to-action purposes within the fashion industry. We want to ask brands, who is making our clothes and continue to keep each other accountable with our purchases. There are hundreds of events happening in cities around the world. You can search for events from your favorite brands or check out Fashion Revolution's Events page for more details. Cities in the U.S. like Nashville, Austin, Portland, Los Angeles and New York City all have events going on.

If you're in my home city of Richmond, Virginia check out the 4 events we're hosting with the Ethical Style Collective and get a ticket to one that calls to you!
 

HOW TO ACT AT HOME

  • Write your favorite brand a letter - This simple task is easy and practical to do at home. And Fashion Revolution has a perfect template for you! 
  • Take a picture and ask #whomademyclothes - Another easy way to raise awareness is taking a selfie with one of your clothing tags from a fast fashion retailer (JCREW, Anthropologie, H&M, Zara, LOFT, etc), posting it on social media and tagging your brand and the hashtag #whomademyclothes to reach your followers as well as the brand.
  • Research and get educated - Knowing the facts about the industry can be a big deal in sharing Fashion Revolution to those around you. An easy way to do this is watch the True Cost documentary on Netflix.
  • Other ways to get involved - There are many other, creative ways you can get involved. Social media is a huge tool to reach others as well as small ways to impact change through the way we purchase, talk about fashion and act this week and other times throughout the year - Check out Fashion Revolution's page of ideas to take action.