Fashion Revolution Week 2019

On Saturday 27th April we’re taking over Beyond Retro Shoreditch Store for an evening of talks, music and panel discussions in celebration of Fashion Revolution Week. We’re pleased to announce that Fashion Revolution will be holding a keynote talk!

We thought we’d catch up with them beforehand. Enjoy!

Book your ticket here.

Please can you tell us about Fashion Revolution and the global movement you have created? 


Fashion Revolution began in 2013 as a response to the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed over 1,100 people, most of whom were young, female garment workers producing clothing for major global fashion brands. 


In the wake of the tragedy, co-founder Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro came together to create a movement that would effect lasting change in the industry. Since then, Fashion Revolution has been campaigning for a more transparent fashion industry, by engaging citizens, brands, policymakers, students, and educators around the world. In 2018, we had over 275 million people globally engage with our campaign.

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Why is it important to consider who made our clothes? 


Fashion is one of the most labour intensive industries in the world. When I was studying fashion design in my early university days, I learned that clothing production is much more difficult to automate than seemingly more complicated products like phones and computers. Why? Because robots and machines have greater difficulty manipulating soft goods like fabric than they do assembling hard parts. 


Millions of people around the world work in the garment industry, and too often these jobs come with low pay, long hours, and unsafe working conditions. Too many garment workers are subject to verbal and physical abuse among other kinds of exploitation. 


So at Fashion Revolution, we begin with the question "Who made my clothes?", to look behind the curtain at the often-secretive supply chain. It's impossible for us to enact change if we can't see the problems. This is the essence of why we are demanding a more transparent fashion industry and why we must continue to ask #Whomademyclothes? 

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How can someone join your movement and support slow, ethical fashion? 


With Fashion Revolution Week 2019 just around the corner (April 22-28), hundreds of events will take place around the world. You can find a global events directory on our website, and find clothing swaps, panel discussions, film screenings, and so many other activations wherever you live. 


We also have a guide to getting involved here: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/FashionRevolution_DoSomething_Citizens_2019.pdf which is a great way to take part in our digital campaigns, write to a brand or policy maker, and begin asking the right questions. 

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What are some key impacts that fast fashion has on people and on the planet?

This year, we at Fashion Revolution are spreading the message that you cannot separate human and planetary sustainability. The activists around the world leading climate marches are campaigning for peace and human rights as much as they are campaigning for policy that addresses carbon emissions and pollution. Because without a healthy planet, there will be no supply chains, safe working conditions, or fair fashion.


Quantis has estimated that globally, the fashion industry contributes to around 8.1% of climate impacts. Of course, fast-fashion's environmental impacts reach everything from water pollution and contamination to deforestation, landfill contribution, and waste incineration. The garment industry has also been flagged by the Global Slavery Index as the 2nd highest at-risk product category for Modern Slavery. 


If you want to learn more about the full scope of fashion's impact, I'd recommend the UK Environmental Audit Committee's Fixing Fashion Report, which documents their investigation into the sustainability of the Fashion Industry. Our policy director, Sarah Ditty, was one of the witnesses who submitted evidence to their report, and we're proud to have seen some of these issues addressed through the EAC's policy recommendations. You can read the report here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/1952/1952.pdf

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Maudie Johnson