Waging a Worldwide Fashion Revolution
By Bianca Alexander
This month, the world is turning fashion into a force for good with the annual Fashion Revolution Day, a worldwide movement in over 50 countries demanding fair treatment for all garment workers and clothing that is made ethically and humanely. Fashion Revolution Day USA aims to honor the lives of the 1133 sweatshop laborers killed and over 2500 injured in the Rana Plaza factory building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh last April 24, 2013 due to unsafe working conditions, and to create transparency and justice in the global fashion supply chain.
Consumers who shop at large retailers like Walmart, The Gap and Forever 21 increase demand for cheap, disposable clothing. As a result, manufacturers look to countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia where wages and workplace standards for textile and garment production are unreasonably low. The race to the bottom of a competitive global marketplace leads to inhumane safety standards and growing exploitation of millions of garment workers, like 20 year old Rana Plaza survivor Aklima Khanam, who has worked in clothing factories since age 14 to support her family. Aklima’s average work shift runs from 8am to midnight, seven days a week with no days off.
On the day of the collapse, her managers were aware of a crack in the building but threatened to dock one month’s wages if she refused to go to work. When the walls caved in shortly after beginning work on the morning of April 24th, Aklima was trapped under her sewing machine for 15 hours before being rescued. Before the accident, she made a mere $125 per month. With injuries to her head, back and legs, she can no longer work but has received little to no compensation from her employers. Rana Plaza is but one example of the many atrocities occurring daily in the name of fashion.
Fashion Revolution says enough is enough.
With a call to action to wear an item of clothing #insideout on April 24th, 2014 and share a picture via social media in honor of those injured at Rana Plaza, Fashion Revolution Day asks the question “Who Made Your Clothes?” With this simple gesture, thousands of consumers around the world will be empowered to be curious about where their clothes come from and take action on behalf of the human hands that manufacture them.
The campaign is supported by designers, pioneering thought leaders, media across the globe and many celebrities. Fashion Revolution Day ambassador Amber Valletta – supermodel, actress and founder of online ethical fashion retailer Master & Muse, is inspired to wear her clothes #insideout on April 24th, Fashion Revolution Day: “We all need to pay attention to how and where our clothes are made because we share a common thread: humanity.” Watch Amber turn her clothes #insideout on this Fashion Revolution Day PSA produced by Fashion Revolution USA board member and ethical fashion pioneer Marci Zaroff. To keep the momentum going for the campaign after 4.24, Marci collaborated with famed t-shirt designer Michael Stars to create a limited edition Michael Stars x Under the Canopy “Who Made Your Clothes?” #insideout t-shirt made from 100% organic cotton, now available on Shopethica and with proceeds benefiting the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund.
Join the global Fashion Revolution movement! Post a photo of yourself wearing an outfit #insideout on the Fashion Revolution Day USA facebook fan page by 11:59pm PST on April 24th, and show that you know who made your clothes.
About Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution was founded in the UK by ethical fashion pioneer, Cary Somers. On April 24th, Fashion Revolution Day events will be held in cities across the world and in the U.S., including panel discussions, an Earth Day festival, shopping nights out, shorts film festivals and community fairs in local communities. For the latest updates, follow Fashion Revolution Day on facebook @Fashion Revolution USA, twitter @Fash_RevUSA or visit the global campaign site here.
What Can You Do to Support Fashion Revolution Day?
- On April 24th, wear an item of clothing #insideout
- Photograph yourself in it
- Ask the brand “Who Made Your Clothes?”
- Share the picture on social media and the Fashion Revolution Day facebook page with the hashtag #insideout
- Take action by signing a petition urging manufacturers to sign the Bangladesh Accord ensuring factory safety and inspections
- Share Fashion Revolution Day with a friend
Photo of Caryn Franklin by Trevor Leighton