Often out of devastation blooms hope and new purpose. Sometimes devastation is the impetus for global action. And global action is sometimes the only way to honour the thousands of victims of a tragedy.
On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. This incident is the fourth largest industrial disaster in history after the death toll stood at 1 138 people, with an additional 2 500 injured.
All five clothing factories in the plaza were producing garments for the western market. What’s more, most of the victims of the building collapse were women.
The devastation shone the spotlight on how clothes for western markets were being made. It threw up many questions about human rights, wages, human dignity and slavery. But out of the tragedy was born Fashion Revolution a global movement that is demanding change and encouraging a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure.
By asking #whomademyclothes, Fashion Revolution is getting more and more brands to disclose where their clothes are being made.
In April 2016, when the movement first published its Fashion Transparency Index, only 5 brands disclosed a list of their manufacturers. And only two of those brands published names and addresses of sub-contractors or fabric/yarn suppliers.
Two years on and it’s evident the tide is changing. As of March 2018, after numerous campaigns by active citizens, a whopping 152 brands are disclosing at least some of the facilities making their clothes.
Publishing these lists is crucial – it helps workers themselves, as well as communities, unions and NGOs, alert brands of potential human rights and environmental problems in their supply chains.
This transparency also helps consumers understand #whomademyclothes.
Fashion Revolution is calling on brands to take the Transparency Pledge and do more. The movement believes brands should provide a greater level of detail in their supplier lists.
The list of brands already answering the call is growing. But there is a long way to go. These lists are just the beginning of an active movement to make the fashion industry more accountable.
Add your voice – join the #whomademyclothes call this Fashion Revolution Week (April 23-29) and encourage your favourite brands to be more transparent.
To find out how you can make a difference, join the Fashion Revolution Durban team at the iconic KZNSA Gallery on May 3 for an evening of talks, an exhibition of artworks and innovative products, educational video clips, a swap shop and even a bit of retail therapy.
The team will also be announcing the winner of their #Haulternative competition.
From a one-man band in 2017, the team in Durban has grown to 10 passionate individuals who are proud of the Durban chapter of the movement. This year, they are planning a number of events to highlight the issues around ethical and sustainable fashion. The aim is to encourage conscious consumption and sustainable lifestyles.