FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK
7 years ago this week, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed, and at least 1,134 people lost their lives, with at least another 2500 being injured. Many of the factory workers were women who were making clothing for some of the biggest clothing brands. When you look at the image of the collapsed building, you can’t help but be shocked by the scale of the devastation. It is believed that in the days and weeks preceding the tragedy, cracks had appeared in the building work and employees had expressed concerns about this. Workers were told to return to work…. In order to fulfil the demands of these large fashion companies. It has taken years for change to begin to take effect as a result of this, and I am sure there are still places where the production of clothing in an ethical way is questionable, but there is also a movement towards greater transparency within the clothing chain, and a demand for fashion to be produced in a more ethical way. In response to this tragedy, Fashion Revolution was started, it exists to ensure that no tragedy of this magnitude will ever take place again.
More and more people are giving consideration to the way in which their clothing is produced, who makes, it? Who produces the fabric it is made from? Whether workers are paid fairly? And whether they are working in suitable conditions. There are many brands who are working hard to ensure that fair practices are adhered to throughout all processes and I would like to share some of these brands doing great things in the hope that I might inspire you to give further thought as to how your garments are produced.
People Tree – A pioneer in sustainable fair trade fashion, and founded by Safia Minney in 1991. Every product is made to the highest ethical and environmental standards. Many of the products incorporate traditional artisan skills such as embroidery, hand block prints, weaving and hand knitting. Beautiful clothing with conscience.
Lucy and Yak – ‘The system is whatever we all decide to make it, so let’s make a system where everyone wins’, Lucy and Yak produce high quality clothing in a fair way whilst maintaining high environmental standards. I have a pair of their dungarees and can vouch for how comfortable they are!
Mini Rodini – From using sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester to ensuring its factories have ethical working practices, you are buying fun children’s clothing with conscience from this fabulous Swedish retailer.
Red Roux Rouge – Ethically produced in Lancashire, women's and children's wear, each item is made to order using primarily GOTS organic fabric. They are conscious about waste and use surplus fabric for training. All orders are made by a team of ladies who work in comfortable conditions and are paid fairly, all sales help to support their two chosen charities.
Lomie – Sustainably made muslin bibs for babies who support local textile production. All non-biodegradable elements from the bibs are removed eg poppers, Velcro, and replaced with a reusable and adjustable woggle fastener. They are made up in the most beautiful selection of colours too!
Dilli Grey – Award winning ethical and lifestyle brand. There are no middle men at Dilli Grey, Vickie sources directly from her suppliers whom she has known personally for years. Vickie’s regular trips to India ensure that she is constantly working directly with the artisans to ensure standards are kept, that artisans work in clean, safe environments where they are paid fairly and their skills are nurtured. I have a couple of pieces from Vickie’s range, as does my daughter, and I am looking forward to receiving my most recent order. 10% of all current sales is being donated to help support artisans and food banks in Jaipur where all designs are made.
Monty and Co – Slowly and sustainably made by small batch production. Craftsmanship is key with this wonderful brand, from drafting patterns, to cutting and sewing the garments, everything is done by traditional hand methods here in Britain. Which results in timeless, unisex childrenswear.
Faune – Award winning vintage inspired nightwear brand for children.Ethically sourced and 100% cotton. They work with a small family run factory in India who believes very strongly in worker’s rights and equal pay. The owner is passionate about giving women in India a fair chance to work and so employs a significant number of women. Faune follows the concept of slow fashion and does not react to constant changing trends, instead producing timeless pieces, garments designed to be treasured and passed on.
I truly hope that this has highlighted some of the brands who are working hard to ensure that they have fairness in all aspects of their garment production. Is it possible that now and in the future, we can ask #whomademyclothes and demand answers from the brands unwilling to engage in talk about their transparency? I for one hope so.
Thank you for taking the time to read and reflect, and for supporting my small brand whilst I work towards becoming even more fair, sustainable and ethical as I grow.