It is easy when you are shopping for clothes, either online or in a store, to not consider your purchase’s origins: what is it made of? How was it made? Who made it? There is a disconnection between consumers and producers, and the Who Made My Clothes movement aims to address and rectify this situation.
The movement was started as a response to the tragedy of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in 2013. The Dhaka garment factory started to fall apart, with cracks appearing in the walls and major structural components. On April 23rd, an engineer inspected the building, and the owner reopened the factory for work the following day. On April 24th, exployees anxiously continued their work as more cracks appeared, and then the power went out. In less than ninety seconds, the eight story building collapsed, killing 1,134 workers and injuring over 2,500. This devastating event brought the harsh and unsafe realities of the fashion industry to light, and ushered in an era for reform.
The Who Made My Clothes movement was championed in 2014 by co-founders Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro. Their mission was to mobilize different actors in the fashion industry, including designers, producers, brands, and consumers, to shift the values of the industry to include well-being for everyone in the value chain over pure profit alone. In addition to the Who Made My Clothes movement, they co-founded the organization Fashion Revolution. Their values include ending environmental and human exploitation, increasing transparency and accountability, reform the culture of fast fashion and reduce textile waste, ensure workers receive fair wages and recognize and value craftsmanship and skill.
Fashion Revolution takes action to address cultural, industrial, and policy change surrounding the fashion industry. The cultural component involves educating the public about issues with the fashion industry, and the Who Made My Clothes campaign is one of the tools they use to increase consumer awareness and agency. This also provides a space to give recognition to those making clothes, and celebrate their work and skills. For creating industrial change, Fashion Revolution conducts research that shows the social and environmental issues with the fashion industry, and influences actors in the sector to change through consumer pressure. They also advocate for policy change and aim to engage governments to regulate the industry.
There are several ways that you can support the Fashion Revolution and the Who Made My Clothes movement. The first is to educate yourself on the issues, and Fashion Revolution provides free access to all of their resources, including how to get involved packs for citizens, brands, producers, and more. They also provide access to their campaign materials and branding so that you can visually display your support.
We wish you the best on your journey to greener living. Be sure to look out for more tips in future articles, and feel free to contact us if there is a topic you would be interested to learn about; chances are people in the Flourish community are looking for the same information, and we’ll give you a shout-out for your participation!