Do you like fashion? How often do you buy new clothes? Do you buy the clothes because of design or … just price??
1,134 people (men, women, and children) were killed, over 2,500 were injured and at least 800 children were orphaned by the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 April 2013 [1, 2].
- Why did it happen?
- One of the possible reasons was the more than the ‘legal permitted’ number of factories operating inside of the buildings. And even though other workers within the building such as bankers and shop keepers were evacuated before the collapse happened, the garments workers could not because they were threatened with losing their jobs. The building’s collapse just took 90 seconds …
Since then, people especially who love fashion have stood up to ask ‘Who made my clothes?’
Fashion Revolution has spread to over 70 countries in the world last year. People are demanding fairer, cleaner, more sustainable, transparent, and beautiful…and I would like to add, kinder (sweeter) clothes. To focus on transparency, people take selfies with #whomademyclothes. (Last year, it was reached 63-million participants .) This movement created curiosity for people about their clothes’ tags which leads to transparency by showing ‘MADE IN ○○○’. This protest about inequality and unfairness which prefigurative action occupies social network by annually memorial collect actions to meet the goal of create sustainable and ethical fashion.
Globalisation offers many conveniences but also leads to ignorance. Globalisation connects people all over the world but there is still a serious lack of empathy for people who are far away and whom we do not know. If today, I decide to ignore, the fact that someone might be undergoing serious suffering to ‘pay’ for my happy affordable (cheap) shopping, it is quite easy. But is it really okay?? Our choice of consumption is connected to someone’s life. Personal consumption is completely in our control. In reality, I might want to say we do not have enough money to buy ethical clothes which still tends to more expensive than regular clothes…that is true, but how about pay more just 25p/per item of clothes just protect living wage first.
Some facts  (2016):
£2 trillion annual turnover of the fashion industry
£100m value of used clothing that goes to landfill in the UK each year
£2 average daily wage of a garment worker
25p amount that, if added to every item of clothing, would cover the costs of a living wage for all workers, and for factories to meet safety standards.
170 million estimated number of child labourers around the world, many for textiles industries
But should only consumers pay more? How about ‘£2 trillion annual turnover of the fashion industry’? : Is it a fair amount??
Brighton is the one of the fashionable and environmental conscious cities in the UK. It hosted the first sustainable fashion week last year. One of the interesting proposals was phase to out from ‘fast-fashion’. Every year, there are many fashion shows, new lines and trends for each brands. Tons of clothes are produced and thrown away every year. Fast-fashion clothes tend to be unrecyclable because they use poor quality materials to facilitate ever-changing designs . So, if the industry decides to reduce numbers of new lines and seasons to produce, if they engage more innovative technologies which are more environmentally and workers friendly…Or, if we decide not to buy a new winter coat every year, if we buy new clothes just when we need… if we love more the clothes which we already have – things can change and we can embody it just like our clothes embody the change.
The Rana Plaza became the event which can bring ‘change’ for many people because this was one of the biggest fashion industrial disaster: even though there were many other sweatshops disasters before and after Rana Plaza, such as ‘the Ali Enterprises fire in Pakistan in September 2012, the Tazreen Fashions fire in Bangladesh in November 2012 and the Kentex factory fire in the Philippines in May 2015’ . To speak out and opt out, both consumers and workers need to fight unethical, unsustainable and awful fashion industry practices at a global.
In 1990s, when NIKE became symbol of sweatshop users worldwide, consumers could change companies’ practices by protesting . It is the time for the whole fashion industry, including each one of us, to think about our clothes in a holistic manner. Inspired from Badiou [10,11], there were many glimpses of truth which people began to notice something which was invisible before. There were events before the Fashion Revolution movement started. Not only sweatshop protest movements but other previous industrial disasters. We see these disasters in screens and pictures. This could make us doubt about fashion itself. Fashion Revolution is the tool of participation to protest and express their voices together. The Internet helps to expand information all over the world to collect actions and bring voices.
I love fashion. But I do not want to wear unhappy clothes, which bears the burden of someone’s suffering and of unethical practices. It does not necessarily meaning we should buy expensive clothes. But we can choose better quality and lesser number, and find out more ethical retailers and apparel companies. (It includes vintage and second hand stores.) Buying is voting. Lastly, love the ones we already own. The power is in our hands and not in the apparel companies: we need to push them to change through our everyday closet choices.
Here are some interesting social experiment. (1.44mins)
-Do you want to buy 2euro T-shirt…even if you see who made how?
Fashion Revolution-The 2 Euro T-Shirt – A Social Experiment
This is another experiment. (2.10mins)
-There are no difference between children who live in developing country and developed country.
Fashion Revolution- The Child Labour Experiment
Fashion Revolution. At http://fashionrevolution.org/ (Accessed 23th April 2016)
Jones, D. (2014). How The World Has Changed Since Rana Plaza. Vogue At http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2014/04/01/bangladesh-rana-plaza-anniversary-fashion-revolution-day (Accessed 23th April 2016)
 Opu, M.H. & Chowdhury, S.T. (2014). In Pictures: Recounting horror of Rana Plaza. Suffering continues for survivors and victims’ families a year after the building collapsed in Dhaka. Aljazeera. At http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2014/04/pictures-bangladesh-remembers-r-201442114058144178.html (Accessed 23th April 2016)
 Rivera, L. (2016). The true cost of ‘fast fashion’: why #whomademyclothes is trending this week. Indipendent. At http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/fashion-revolution-2016-the-true-cost-of-fast-fashion-a6991201.html (Accessed 23th April 2016)
 Fashion Revolution. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fashionrevolution.org (Accessed 23th April 2016)
 Joy, A. (2014). Fast Fashion, Luxury Brands, and Sustainability. The World Financial Review. At http://www.worldfinancialreview.com/?p=738 (Accessed 23th April 2016)
 Anne, (2015) Fashion Revolution TAG!. Quarterlife Adventures. At http://quarterlife-adventures.com/fashion-revolution-tag/ (Accessed 23th April 2016)
 International Labor Rights Forum. (n.d.) Sweatshops are the norm in the global apparel industry. We’re standing up to change that. At http://www.laborrights.org/industries/apparel (Accessed 23th April 2016)
 http://www.businessinsider.com/how-nike-solved-its-sweatshop-problem-2013-5?IR=T (Accessed 23th April 2016)
 Badiou, A. (2012) The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings. London: Verso
 Ayan5. (2015). SOUR 5 Session 6 – The Event, its Ruptures, their Enfoldings and their Residues. At https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsa_cRg_wgc. (Accessed 24th April 2016)
Fashion Revolution. The 2 Euro T-Shirt – A Social Experiment. At https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfANs2y_frk (Accessed 23th April 2016)
Fashion Revolution. The Child Labour Experiment. Athttp://fashionrevolution.org/the-child-labour-experiment/ (Accessed 23th April 2016)
Follow more movement
Pay Up campaign (3.07mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhdjrau-UYk
Brighton Fashion Week http://www.brightonfashionweek.com/
Documentary movie- The True Cost Trailar (2.33mins) http://truecostmovie.com/