Why do we need a Fashion Revolution?
The Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh was a metaphorical call to arms. Sadly, we were warned a disaster of this scale was on the cards, and could feel a mixture of rage and impotence as our worst fears were played out.
In the days following the catastrophic collapse of the building, and the ever-growing death toll, many articles appeared urging consumers to support ethical fashion as a way to improve working conditions throughout the supply chain. The momentum around ethical fashion was considerable, but how best to build on this energy and spike in interest to turn it into a longstanding campaign that could bring about real change within the industry?
An initial idea rapidly gained momentum and Fashion Revolution Day was born, set to become a significant day in the global fashion calendar. Led by a board of industry leaders, campaigners, press and academics from within the sector and beyond, Fashion Revolution Day has become the catalyst that brings together those who want to see change within the industry.
The first Fashion Revolution Day on 24 April 2014 achieved incredible impact, taking place in 58 countries and becoming the no.1 global trend on Twitter for #insideout. Global press coverage, accompanies by Trevor Leighton’s celebrity photoshoot images, ensured the message was heard around the world.
Fashion Revolution is set to become a truly global movement, bringing greater collaboration across the sector and working in partnership along the entire supply chain. This is an industry that has the potential to improve millions of lives around the world. Fashion Revolution Day will keep the most vulnerable in the supply chain in the public eye. We need it to show the world that change is possible. The true cost of of the current fashion business model must not be forgotten. The churn of the 24 hour news cycle, complacency and distraction means unless we stamp our resolve here and now, Rana Plaza will be dismissed as an unfortunate reality of contemporary life. We must not allow that to happen.
Fashion Revolution Day is the day on which we will celebrate fashion as a positive influence, and all those who contribute to making it so. It will rally the high street, the high end, the new, the ancient, the innovators, the buyers, the shoppers, the media, the commentators, the activists and everyone in between.
Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of the Rana Plaza disaster was that, even a week later, many brands did not know whether or not they had been producing clothing within the building. The theme for the first year brings the consumer to the forefront and tell brands that they want to know who made their clothes.
We need to use the power of fashion to be a catalyst for change and reconnect the broken links in the supply chain. At the moment of purchase, most of us are unaware of the processes and impacts involved in the creation of a garment. We need to reconnect through a positive narrative, to understand that we aren’t just purchasing a garment or accessory, but a whole chain of value and relationships.
On Thursday 24 April 2014, the first Fashion Revolution Day, asked people to wear their clothes inside out because we wanted people to change the way they look at the clothes they wear. Be curious.
We encouraged people to start asking ‘who made your clothes?’ in order to initiate human connections throughout the supply chain.
We wanted hundreds of thousands of people to make that gesture, which will, in turn, raise awareness within the fashion industry that they need to continue the process of change.
On 24 April, tens of thousands of people around the world turned an item of clothing #insideout and asked the brand Who Made Your Clothes? However, very few brands and retailers replied.
Fashion Revolution is not just one day a year. We are the Revolution. We need to keep on asking the questions every day throughout 2014 until we get answers. Who Made Your Clothes? #insideout
Film by John-Paul Flintoff about Fashion Revolution Day