“Fashion” and “revolution” are two words that you typically don’t see together. Fashion can bring to mind a wide range of images from models strutting down a runway in high-end couture to the off-the-rack shirt you put on in the morning before heading to work. These aren’t really the same images you’d associate with a revolution, right? When you hear the term “revolution” you may start to think about things like: politics, change, uprising, maybe even violence. So why is there a Fashion Revolution? What is the Fashion Revolution?
Historically, fashion has followed a two to four season cycle. In today’s world, however, consumers have been conditioned to expect new styles and trends to emerge almost monthly. Not only are more styles entering the market at a higher pace, but clothing has become more affordable than ever. Mass production and mass consumption have turned fashion into an industry that makes over $1 trillion a year.
But this business model comes at a cost: retailers are using cheap labor and cheap materials in order to keep up with consumer demand. Additionally, as a result of both the affordability of clothing as well as the constant desire for newer items, consumers are buying more and throwing away more clothing than ever before. The fast fashion industry is now making products so quickly and cheaply it has become disposable clothing for which the garment workers, farmers, and the environment are suffering at an alarming rate.
On April 24, 2013 a factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing over 1,000 garment workers and injuring over 2,000 more. This is why a revolution was born.
After a series of similar incidents at garment factories occurred and as the affects of climate change become more severe, it has become apparent that more regulation on the human and environmental costs of fast fashion is necessary. A radical change in the fashion industry has to happen.
Fashion Revolution formed as a response to the growing concern for the safety of the workers and farmers in the industry as well as the environment. The environment cannot sustain the amount of materials we are consuming, the amount of toxins our systems emit, or the amount of garbage we produce. And we cannot continue to look away as more people suffer and die while making our clothes.
This revolution is about pressuring brands to act more responsibly and ethically. It is a call to action for the consumer to be aware of the situation and to hold brands accountable. Fashion isn’t a bad thing; it is an art form that people can use to express themselves. But it shouldn’t carry such a dark side with it. The Fashion Revolution believes in a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity, and profit in equal measure.
Throughout the month we will be discussing the human and environmental costs of the fast fashion industry and how we hope this revolution will change the way consumers and brands think about how clothes are made. We encourage you to continue to be curious and to ask your favorite brands #whomademyclothes. Will you join us?