Four years ago today 1,138 people died and many more were injured in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. You'd think that would have changed the view of the world on fashion forever, but it didn't. Instead fast fashion brands have been growing, expanding opening new shops around the globe. Some of them 'greenwashing' by starting collections that are meant to be 'green' but really just adding another collection to the 52 collections a year they have already and that remain unchanged. Here's the truth. It is simply not possible to produce a $5/£5 t-shirt and ensure that both the people producing it and the environment are taken care of whilst making the brand money. It's simply not possible.
The good news is that by deciding where and how we spend our hard-earned money we can change the system.
Always remember the Uber episode, when a few months ago the CEO had to step back from Trump's advisory board as millions of people worldwide deleted the app. Never forget that this has been possible through social media as the #DeleteUber hashtag and posts travelled around the globe in a matter of hours. This is the kind of power we have as consumers and the incredible tool of social media we have been given to fight what isn't right?
Climate change isn't right. Fast fashion isn't right. Cheap fashion isn't right. There is more important things to die for than fashion, don't you think?
In this spirit Fashion Revolution started a campaign years ago, asking consumers to post pictures with the labels of their clothes showing and asking the brand #whomademyclothes? This is meant to raise awareness and actually demand that brands show transparency in their supply chain. If we ask these questions in masses, they will have to answer and if they want to look good, they will have to change their ways. Unless they are already doing so. You might think that brands won't respond, but a quick research into last year's responses shows that brands such as Zara, Ted Baker, Levi's, Whistles and M&S all responded to the question on their social media channels.
[This was Gap's responses by the way:"this is proprietorial information which we don’t wish to disclose" oooops, that's suspicious...]
This year I want to ask Everlane who made my clothes and at the same time give them a shoutout for being one of the most transparent brands I have come across. I have written about them before (here and here), as they are pioneers of the transparency movement in fashion - when you click on an item on their website you can quickly track the costing of each step of the supply chain, how much it cost them to produce the item and how much they're selling it for as well as what traditional retail would sell it for. See below for an example of my Cocoon Coat.
Another amazing feature is that you can click on the factory that actually made your clothes and learn a little more about them, mine for example was made in a factory in Suzhou, China and you can get to know it here.
So if there is anyone that can answer questions on #whomademyclothes? and set a brilliant example for the rest of the industry it is Everlane. Let's see if they respond to my questions that I can't find answers to on their website! I want to know, what the names of the workers that made my coat are, how are their living conditions, are women's rights being respected, do they have health insurance, paid maternity leave and do they know how much we love and appreciate what they do?
brand values (see index here)
explore how I have previously worn some of the items in this post