“On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. That’s when Fashion Revolution was born.”
Fashion revolution week takes places every year since 2013 and it is has become a global movement, a reminder for everyone to look closer and face the facts of the world we are living in. The initiative challenges fashion brands, producers and consumers, the whole fashion industry and people around it to show transparency. And by becoming open and transparent ultimately actually changing radically the way clothes are produced and consumed.
These steps are developed by researchers Rebecca Earley and Kate Goldsworthy and they have been adopted as the milestones for Fashion Revolution:
MODEL — The business of fashion
The way fashion is produced and consumed has been dramatically scaled and sped up in the last 20-30 years and so too we have seen more frequent and deadlier factory disasters. For the past decade, apparel companies have seen rising costs, driven by rising labour, raw material and energy prices. Yet despite the higher cost of making clothes, the price we pay for our clothing is cheaper than ever before. This is system isn’t working.
Fashion Revolution believes that the whole fashion industry needs a radical paradigm shift and that the way that we produce and consume clothes needs to be transformed. This means business models will need to change and a multiplicity of solutions will be required.
MATERIAL — People & planet
Human rights abuses and environmental degradation remains rife. The harsh reality is that basic health and safety measures do not exist for many of the people working in fashion’s supply chains. The legal minimum wage in most garment-producing countries is rarely enough for workers to live on.
150 billion items of clothing are delivered out of factories annually yet Americans alone throw away approximately 14 million tonnes of garments each year, that’s over 36 kg per person. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 84% of unwanted clothes in the United States in 2012 went into either a landfill or an incinerator.
Meanwhile, artisanal and heritage craft industries are being eroded, due in large part to mass manufacturing and partly as a result of second-hand clothes flooding local markets. We risk losing ancient techniques that have been passed down through generations in communities around the world.
Our clothes have a devastating environmental impact too. The chemicals used to grow, dye, launder and treat our clothes end up polluting rivers. A huge amount of water is used to produce garments through growing cotton and through wet processing, such as dyeing and laundering. And finally, clothing accounts for around 3% of global production of CO2 emissions, according to The Carbon Trust.
MINDSET — Shifting the way we think about fashion
The way we consume clothing has changed a lot over the past 20-30 years too. We buy more clothes than we used to and spend less on them. A century ago, we spent more than half our money on food and clothes, today we spend less than a fifth. As a society we purchase 400% more clothing today than we did just 20 years ago. Every time we buy something that costs less than we think it should, we are implicit in the impacts of that transaction.
We need to break our addiction to the need for speed and volume. We need to realise the true cost of our cheap bargains. Ultimately, we need to buy less, buy better and keep asking questions about the realities behind what we’re purchasing. We need to love the clothes we already own more and work harder to make them last.
However, mindsets are beginning to shift. This is evidenced by the large number of people who have been involved with Fashion Revolution over the past four years.
Fashion Revolution is after a positive change where people and environment would be treated equally and no one would suffer for others benefits. These are somewhat basic values that are easily forgotten in the complex world we are living. Now there is a change to act for the positive change and we encourage everyone to take a stand. We welcome you to join the Fashion Revolution by TAUKO featuring Ona Kamu at our flagship store on Saturday 28.04.2018. If not in Helsinki, please feel free to send us photos of you wearing TAUKO with #whomademyclothes @taukodesig.
Let’s celebrate the Fashion Revolution, now!
Text by Mila Moisio, quotes from Fashion Revolution