This Thursday is the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh where 1133 people were killed and countless more injured and orphaned. It’s also the day where you can show your support for socially conscious consumerism by turning your clothes #InsideOut along with the launch of global awareness movement Fashion Revolution Day.
Supported by MPs (shadow consumer minister, Stella Creasy, and Labour’s international development spokeswoman, Alison McGovern who write about the campaign here) as well as fashion trade doyennes Mary Portas and Caryn Franklin, the movement is asking the public to wear their clothes #InsideOut this Thursday and tweet brands asking #WhoMadeYourClothes?
Nobody has been convicted for the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory and only half of the 28 brands linked to the factory complex have made payments into the disaster trust fund set up by the UN’s International Labour Organisation to help the families affected. Two international agreements have kickstarted factory inspections in Bangladesh, but, according to this article in The Guardian, factory owners are having difficulty getting the financial support through loans to make improvements.
It’s a tough one. I’m the first to say that I don’t know how responsibly made the majority of my wardrobe is, but, according to surveys, with two thirds of brands unclear about the full process of their garment manufacturing and with no plans to engage with customers’ ethical concerns perhaps it’s no surprise. I’m definitely going to be reading up more on the brands I buy – there’s a tonne of Further Reading on the Fashion Revolution site here – the Clean Clothes website is particularly good. Once I’ve had a good look through, I’ll do a little round-up. A good place to start though, is this fantastic list by Daria Daria on Fair Fashion brands – mainly European, so I think I might put together something similar but more UK and US focused. If you have any brands to suggest, let me know!
Starting with US brand Eileen Fisher (online and real life stores in the UK) who kindly sent me their Denim Tencel Shirt to style up and wear #InsideOut this Thursday. And proudly so – Eileen Fisher has always focused on manufacturing sustainable clothing and for SS14 introduces its biggest eco collection yet, with 52% of the total and 70% of the cotton used in the line being organic. The shirt I’m wearing is made out of the eco-friendly and biodegradable Tencel – a natural man-made fibre called Lyocell made from wood pulp sourced from sustainable tree farms; the solvent spinning process that produces Tencel (the brand name) is described as a closed-loop circuit which recovers or decomposes almost all solvents and emissions. Impressive stuff.
The shirt seemed the perfect match for my newly acquired tank top from independent London label Millionhands (their t-shirts are made in factories that comply with the Fair Wear Foundation guidelines). The ripped boyfriends are by Paige Denim, which, as you know, I am a huge fan of. Although they don’t go into much detail on the website, it looks like Paige Denim jeans are manufactured entirely in Los Angeles (apparently 80% of premium denim in the US is) and interestingly they work closely with rape and eating disorder charities.
And if you’re in Covent Garden this Thursday, pop into the Eileen Fisher store at 5pm for a discussion with Fashion Revolution Day’s co-founder Orsola de Castro (the fashion designer behind From Somewhere), Eileen Fisher’s Director of Social Consciousness Amy Hall and environmentalist and sustainability expert Jocelyn Whipple plus a screening of short film Handprint, commissioned by Livia Firth.
What eco brands do you like?
Just thought I’d show this look works just as well with flats too… and because I’m so excited the weather is good enough to wear my Birkenstocks again!