On April 24, 2013, more than 1,100 people were killed and many more were injured when Rana Plaza, an eight-storey building housing a garment factory, collapsed in Bangladesh. The event sparked worldwide discussion about the safety and wellbeing of garment industry workers and the conditions they are forced to endure. From this tragedy, Fashion Revolution was born and has since grown into a global movement to raise awareness of the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry.
The issues plaguing today’s clothing industry are numerous and complex. Exploitation of workers runs rampant, including everything from being forced to work in dangerous conditions, to working long hours with no breaks, unfair pay, child labour, intimidation and threats, and verbal and physical abuse. The environmental costs are also overwhelming, from the huge amounts of natural resources consumed, to the resulting pollution at all stages of production. Pesticides, toxic dyes, contaminated water, carbon emissions from production and transportation, disposal of garments in landfills—it has been suggested that the clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world, surpassed only by oil.
It sounds bleak—an unsurmountable challenge. How can we change such a complicated industry fueled by a global demand for fast, cheap clothing?
During Fashion Revolution Week, we can focus on the first small step: transparency. The #whomademyclothes campaign encourages consumers to demand greater transparency from the brands they support. Knowing where and how our clothes are made is key to inciting change in the industry. When we know more about our clothes, we can make better, more informed choices about what we buy. When we choose clothing that is made fairly, it sends the message to all brands that we will not support social and environmental exploitation.
This week, use the hashtag on social media to ask brands #whomademyclothes and show that you support a more open, fair, sustainable fashion industry. Visit the Fashion Revolution website and learn more about why we need radical change. And of course, follow Miik on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, where we’ll be responding with #imadeyourclothes and sharing more about the people behind our brand!