Fashion Revolution

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].

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  1. Why did it happen?
  2. 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 [2]…

 

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 [4].) 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.

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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 [4] (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 [6]. 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.

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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’ [8]. 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 [9]. 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.

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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.

 

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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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfANs2y_frk

 

 

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

http://fashionrevolution.org/the-child-labour-experiment/

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

[1]Fashion Revolution. At http://fashionrevolution.org/ (Accessed 23th April 2016)

[2]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)

[3] 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)

[4] 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)

[5] Fashion Revolution. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fashionrevolution.org  (Accessed 23th April 2016)

[6] Joy, A. (2014). Fast Fashion, Luxury Brands, and Sustainability. The World Financial Review. At http://www.worldfinancialreview.com/?p=738  (Accessed 23th April 2016)

[7] Anne, (2015) Fashion Revolution TAG!. Quarterlife Adventures. At http://quarterlife-adventures.com/fashion-revolution-tag/ (Accessed 23th April 2016)

[8] 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)

[9] http://www.businessinsider.com/how-nike-solved-its-sweatshop-problem-2013-5?IR=T  (Accessed 23th April 2016)

[10] Badiou, A. (2012) The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings. London: Verso

[11] 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

Fashion Revolution

https://www.youtube.com/user/frdglobal

https://twitter.com/hashtag/whomademyclothes

 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/

“turning the world inside out”

A global participatory art project that integrates street art and PEOPLE: Ordinary people will join an art project by themselves and a project that focuses on personal identity who usually not show or be shown in public. How does that sound?

Each picture has a story but not an obvious one. This is Art. JR is a French artist who started this project in the early 2000s. His gallery is everywhere where he puts massive sized portfolio pictures.0 [1]

His project started from the Paris riot in 2005 [2]. He started captured people’s faces who live Le Bosquet and put their pictures and even their name and addresses in the bourgeois area and then the city hall of Paris. These actions helped to change the image of young people which thug images created by the media to ‘the person’ (because they made funny caricature face. Art made them as an individual person not riot.

In 2007, his team took pictures for a project called ‘Face 2 Face’ project. For this project, his team made portfolios of both Palestine and Israelis people, who work in the same jobs. JR’s team put on these huge pictures on both side of the separation walls between Palestine and Israel. Most of people could not tell who is who. In these countries, putting up pictures is illegal but JR was trying to first see local people’s reaction. Given that it is street art, people are able to remove it if they do not like it. JR would have to respect those choices. JR does not worry too much about that, his concern is to deliver a message and leave the decision to local people. He was trying to break the boundary (wall) by the art.

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I believe is this is another kind of ‘the occupy’ movement. Not physically, but walls and public spaces are occupied by people’s images and the audiences will get the message by seeing the pictures. And interestingly, it remains there still after years. As Mitchell [4] mentioned about Gormley’s work, the ‘Asian Field’, ‘rarely engages the explicitly political tactics of the occupation of public space as aspects of a protest movement’ (2013). In a similar way, Inside Out project also provides strong message to people that includes both participants and audiences. These huge portfolios are not only create a dramatic impact and make’s real the existence of these people but also. The people’s eyes will tell their message to the audience.

JR then took on a new project called ‘Women are Heroes’ which he started in different places in the world. He focused on women who are primarily victims of conflicts, wars, rapes, crimes and so on. For example in Brazil, there was a huge sadness after three students were killed (and chopped in pieces) in Favelas at 2008. So JR and his team took the pictures of local women include victims’ grandmother and friends and put them on the hill. The media got interested in it and spoke to the participants. Pictures connected the media and local anonymous women who have their stories.

Look at this picture below, women’s eyes are seizure of walls which is usually empty space.

Bringing voice from “the person”, this is his and his participants’ art.

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Another of his interesting projects took place in India. Because of the law and culture, he could not paste pictures. So he decided to paste white paper …with sticky parts. So if dust came up, picture will automatically came out. It should not be there, but eyes will look the city and break the norm of hidden existence. Walls were transformed to their voice.

 

‘The question is not “can art change the world”, but “can art change people’s lives?’ (JR, 2011, [2])

 

The ‘Inside Out project’ affects to human’s lives as well. In Pakistan, there is a region where people regularly attacked by drone. In military slang, drone operators call killing people like ‘bug splats’ because when they operate the drone, images operators see look like smashing bugs. Awful!! So JR’s project put up a huge poster which shows a girl who lost her parents and siblings by drones [5]. From drone, operator can see her as a human. She will scar operators’ minds for good, hopefully.

This picture below is view from a drone.

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In 2015, at NY, [dis]ABLED project collaborated with JR and Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes. People tend to see disabilities instead of ‘the person’ and do not treat them equally. However participant said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m cool’ [6]. Huyghues said ‘Be seen, be heard’, ‘usually people with disabilities are put in a closet, seen as a problem or issue for society. Pity — that’s what we’re trying to break. And people are so excited to be a part of this. It’s amazing’ [6]. When participants have empowered to be seen and heard and others see and listen their voice, social norm will break.

 

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‘Art is not supposed to change the world, to change practical things, but to change perceptions. Art can change the way we see the world’. (JR TED 2011 [7])

 

Break the boundary between invisibility of personal existence (voice) and public can happen by the art. Like Ranciere’s distribution of sensibility[9] which is such as what can see and who can speak. For instance, [dis] ABILITY case, through the picture, people recognise and experience new view of disabilities, not sorry or uncool but ‘the person’ and start of communication. As well as these pictures, be remain or not is depend on local people’s decision. This is PEOPLE’S ART.

[1]                                                             [8]

 

Reference

[1] Balboaplein Amsterdam West.Inside Out at Balboaplein. September 17th, 2013 [online] Available from: http://amsphotoclub.com/inside-out-at-balboaplein/ (Accessed 23rd 2016)

[2] TAKTAL. (2015). Inside Out – participatory street art project on a global scale. 4thy November 2-015. [online] Available from: http://agile-city.com/cultural-project/inside-out-participatory-street-art-project-on-a-global-scale/ (Accessed 23rd 2016)

[3] Reframing photography. (n.d.) JR. [online] Available from: http://www.reframingphotography.com/content/jr (Accessed 23rd 2016)

[4] Mitchell, W. J. T. (2012) ‘Image, space, revolution: the arts of occupation’, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 39(1), pp.8-32.

[5] #NotABugSplat. (n.d.)A giant art installation targets predator drone operators. [online] Available from: http://notabugsplat.com/ (Accessed 23rd 2016)

[6] Petronzio, M. (2015). Art project will take 3,000 photos of people with disabilities to change your perceptions. 29th May 2016. [online] Available from: http://mashable.com/2015/05/29/disabled-inside-out-photos/?geo=IN&utm_cid=mash-prod-nav-geo (Accessed 23rd 2016)

[7] TED. (n.d.) My wish: Use art to turn the world inside out. [online] Available from: https://www.ted.com/talks/jr_s_ted_prize_wish_use_art_to_turn_the_world_inside_out  (Accessed 23rd 2016)

[8] inside Out Project Japan. (n.d.). Inside Out Project in Japan. [online] Available from: http://www.insideoutproject.net/japan/about (Accessed 23rd 2016)

[9] Ranciere, J. et al (2006) ‘The distribution of the sensible’ in The Politics of Aesthetics, London: Continuum, pp.7-46.

 

We can create a difference ourselves!

In New York City (NYC), USA, cyclists are frustrated by cars that park illegally on the bicycle lane for a long period of time. They are also worried about trying to avoid crash with many pedestrians and cars. Since the number of bikers are increasing dramatically, the NYC government tries to make more lanes for bikers. However, in the reality, it has been taking a long time to construct.

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Therefore, a group of six anonymous people decided to conduct guerrilla to protect the bicycle lane safety by themselves!

‘The Transformation Department’ is an anonymous organisation which that operates this mission. On October 7, 2015, they came to the Chrystie Street, and installed 25 cones topped with sunflowers. That’s it!!

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Now, bikers can ride safely and easily.

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They said in their e-mail, “Our mission is to show how easy it is to transform streets to make them better and safer for everyone’, ‘In less than a half hour, and with about $500 worth of cones and flowers, we were able to achieve something that often gets delayed by Department of Transportation bureaucracy or political fear” [2] .

According to David Paco Abraham who has suggested the new bike lanes plan for a long time, ‘Citizens think we would like to ride safely and we do not want to have a complex policy or unrealistic plan but we would like to solve this issue as soon as possible. This movement shows how much the citizens desired to make it happen. This idea of putting the cones and flowers could solve the issue immediately without making new reconstruction plans and constructions’ [1].

The group only move the cones into place during rush hour. They use sunflower ‘to differentiate their political statement from any ongoing construction projects in the neighborhood [2]’. Citizens could no longer wait for governmental action for this issue because they could solve it by themselves, in a pretty much easy way! This case shows that they do not need to depend on the governmental slow action and citizens have power to solve the issue by taking their own action. In addition, they did not need to go to the city hall to protest about this situation. Instead, they choose to take action by installing cones and flowers as a form of protest for this unacceptable situation, and at the same time protecting themselves from cars. Their e-mail shows especially, how unacceptable the government’s action is. ‘The city isn’t moving fast enough to make things safer for cyclists [2]’.

Inspired from Maeckelbergh’s prefigurative politics [3], citizens could not wait for the state to take action so they created their own alternative. The movement was organised by the anonymous group, but since then, they were communicated with other cyclists via Twitter [4] and got positive reactions. Soon after, they created website for donation and they got $1,000 in only one day [1]. Now, they are expanding their activities to different areas as well. Their target is to show how easy it can be to make a safer street everyone. Thus, I hope not only NYC Department of Transportation and authorities but also other citizens will be inspired from this action to make a difference by themselves.

 

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Reference

[1] Haruna, S. (2016). Only one day to build better cycle lane! What is the citizen guerrilla action of safer cyclist city? At http://greenz.jp/2016/03/23/transformationdepartment/ (Translated myself) (Accessed 24th April)

[2] Whitford, E. (2015). Safe Streets Activists Are Planting Flowered Orange Cones Along Bike Lanes. At http://gothamist.com/2015/10/07/bike_lane_flower_power.php (Accessed 24th April)

[3] Maeckelbergh, M. (2011) ‘Doing is believing: prefiguration as strategic practice in the alterglobalization movement’, Social Movement Studies, 10(1), pp.1‒20.

[4] Transformation Dept. At https://twitter.com/nyc_dotr (Accessed 24th April)