Conscious Living

7 ways you can play a part during Fashion Revolution Week

Garment workers in a factory. Photo: Emily Au-Young for Reemi & Change Associates


Here’s how to get involved during Fashion Revolution Week (April 22-28).

The manifesto for Fashion Revolution reads: “We love fashion. But we don’t want our clothes to exploit people or destroy our planet. We demand radical, revolutionary change.”

With a mission to create dignified working environments throughout the entire fashion supply chain to respecting different cultures and heritage, this is a global movement that champions unity and community.

By 2030, it’s expected that our global fashion waste will increase to a 148 million ton problem. Yes, that’s a big problem. But there are small things we can all do become more mindful of our fashion choices and be kinder to both the planet and the people who make our clothes.

Held on the anniversary week of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more on April 24, 2013, it’s main aim is to call for more transparency in the fashion industry.


Take a selfie

One of the main calls to action during Fashion Revolution Week is the #whomademyclothes campaign, which runs for the duration of April.

It’s a viral challenge where everyone is encouraged to post a photo of themselves holding a sign reading: ‘Who made my clothes’, tagging in the brands they are wearing. On the Take Action page of Fashion Revolution website, there is a poster you can print or you can get crafty and write your own.

Likewise, search the hashtag on Instagram to see companies share images of their workers, with a sign reading ‘I made your clothes’, so you can see who really is making your new shirt.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bvw43uCnEnn/


Look after your clothes

Add longevity to your wardrobe by looking after the pieces you already own, ensuring they are treasured for years to come.

We recently spoke to Liz Mitchell to find out her top tips for caring for wool this winter, and a lot of her tips can apply to the rest of your wardrobe too.

Several New Zealand brands, including Kate Sylvester, offer complimentary repairing services, so don’t be afraid to get in touch with the brands you buy from to see if they can help.


Seek transparency

This week is all about not being afraid to ask questions. Most fashion brands have a comprehensive sustainability policy on their website, but if something doesn’t quite make sense to you, or you think they’re missing some information, don’t be afraid to write to them and ask about what their sustainability process looks like on a day-to-day basis.

Most brands work hard on this, and will be happy you asked. If they’re not, that may inform your shopping decisions going forward.

If you want to see for yourself how exactly some of your favourite brands are made, Ruby is giving tours of their Auckland Factory so you can see the work they do up close.

There is also the Tearfund Ethical Fashion Report to read up on, which gives local and international brands a grade from A-F on how they are faring across a variety of categories, including worker employment and environmental management.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwX7mqvghAW/


Go thrift shopping

Second-hand shopping is a guaranteed way to find something special and unique, while not adding to the rest of fashion’s waste issue. There are a number of online stores, including Designer Wardrobe and The Real Real that are changing the way op-shopping is seen – from something that was a bit musty to an exciting way to find archive fashion pieces.

If you’re ready to hit the shops, we asked some of the professionals to share how they get the most out of their vintage and retro shopping excursions.


Learn about local designers leading the way

New Zealanders have always had a pioneering spirit, and what we lack in size, we make up for in creative ingenuity and drive. Gosia Piatek of Kowtow and Maggie Hewitt of Maggie Marilyn are two local designers that embody this ambition to do better.

In our latest issue of Fashion Quarterly, we talk to the duo about the importance of sustainable, ethical fashion and why New Zealand fashion is so forward-thinking.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu5WFLdjsf-/


Sign the fashion manifesto

Be a citizen activist and sign Fashion Revolution’s ‘Manifesto for a Fashion Revolution‘. It was launched during Fashion Question Time at the Houses of Parliament on April 23 last year and has 7281 signatures to date.

“The more people who sign this Manifesto, the louder we all become and the stronger our shared vision becomes for a better fashion industry.”


Watch The True Cost

The True Cost is an eye-opening documentary that was released in 2015, bringing mainstream attention to fast-fashion’s deep-seated issues.

It shows whole villages destroyed from the run-off of dying processes, factory workers, who are mostly women, forced into inhumane working conditions, and includes an honest view of our throw-away culture, most importantly asking the question – where does all our waste go? The answer will certainly surprise.

If you haven’t come across this documentary yet, it’s a must-watch. It’s currently showing on Netflix.

Words: Jessica-Belle Greer
Photos: Emily Au-Young for Reemi & Change Associates, Instagram

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