Introduction to Fashion Revolution USA

By Bridgette Schafer
        For the August collection, Macrothink will be highlighting artists in the apparel industry who creatively step out of the box while simultaneously maintaining focus on ethical and sustainable practices. To support the broader movement in which these highlighted artists participate, we will be happily dedicating fifteen percent of profits to Fashion Revolution, a registered non-profit organization based in the UK with teams working in 75 other nations across the globe, including the United States. 

          “Today, with the constant flow of content shared on social media, the pressure to dress and look a certain way has never been more overwhelming and insidious… Advertisers draw upon our insecurities to sell us products we don’t need.”

The Fashion Revolution White Paper, 2020 (page 34).

      Fashion Revolution was founded in response to the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in 2013, which held multiple garment factories and resulted in the deaths of over 1,100 workers. The organization has made it their mission to strengthen and secure rights for garment and textile workers, from fair salaries to safe working environments free of harassment or dangerous conditions. Additionally, Fashion Revolution places great emphasis on advancing environmentally ethical and sustainable practices, which have yet to be close to commonplace in the industry. Furthermore, Fashion Revolution believes in giving credit where credit is due, whether it be to a single individual or an entire culture. They aim to accomplish their mission by increasing transparency and holding brands accountable at each step of their production process.

       Did you know, the global apparel industry generates 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which surpasses those produced by commercial shipping and air travel combined? 

 Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017.

      So, what action is Fashion Revolution taking to turn its aspirations into reality? Fashion Revolution organizes Fashion Revolution Week, which is scheduled every year in April to commemorate the Rana Plaza tragedy and dedicated to raising awareness to their mission and the urgent human rights and environmental abuses at hand. Clothing swaps are just one of many events which encourage upcycling and reusing clothing as opposed to adding to the immense waste in landfills. Outside of this one week of the year, the organization advocates in governments around the world and hosts events that reach people in numerous countries. On its website, the organization’s team has compiled an extensive list of resources available to the public, from research papers on consumer consciousness to educational powerpoint presentations designed for young school children. Their Fashion Transparency Index 2020 examines the top 250 global apparel companies, ranking them based on what type and how much information they release about their production processes. Furthermore, Fashion Revolution provides How To Guides,  regular reporting and updates on data from textile and garment workers worldwide, and the Garment Worker Diaries which tells the stories of over 500 garment workers in Cambodia, India, and Bangladesh via podcasts, interviews, and reporting. These resources are expansive and thorough, not to mention extremely interesting, and we highly recommend you check them out! 

          50% of all women working in garment factories in South East Asia have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. 

CARE International, 2019; via the Fashion Revolution White Paper, 2020.

         Garment and textile workers are only able to advocate for themselves to an extent and often suffer extreme consequences for doing so. And when we as consumers do not change our habits and continue to shop carelessly and unethically, we contribute to the continuation of extreme injustice that foments itself in economic, gender, and racial inequalities along with the destruction of our planet. The expansion of organizations such as Fashion Revolution is imperative to combat these oppressive practices, but they cannot be truly successful without increasing awareness throughout the public worldwide and garnering overwhelming support. This journey to a more ethical world, providing fair opportunity and respect to all people while protecting and nurturing the Earth, starts right here: with you and me. Let’s mobilize, start educating our communities, and help Fashion Revolution and all those it stands for realize their goals.