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STYLE / Why do we need a Fashion Revolution?

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

UPDATED for 2021

What is Fashion Revolution?

Fashion Revolution was founded by Orsola Del Castro and Cary Somers and has become a global movement co-ordinated across several countries.

On 24 April 2013 the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed. 1138 people died and another 2500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. The people crushed under those eight floors were manufacturing clothing for the western clothing market and were mostly young women.

Believing that this loss of life was too huge not to stand up and demand change, Fashion Revolution was born on this day, calling it a metaphorical call to arms.

The cost of fashion should not be someone’s life. Today people and environment are still suffering as a result of how fashion is made, sourced and produced.

Fashion Revolution Week is an annual event to mark the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, this year it runs from 19-25th April. However, the campaign works all year to highlight and tackle issues which include: human rights, fair pay, protecting artisan craft, the manufacturing process including CO2 emissions and use of toxic dyes and chemicals, overconsumption and waste.

The global pandemic has further highlighted the ongoing hardships of the most vulnerable members of the supply chain: the garment workers. Fashion Revolution noted that several big brands had been 'seen cancelling their orders from factories and suppliers and withholding payments of finished and in-production goods.'

The #whomademyclothes online campaign acts as a starting point for greater transparency, asking brands and retailers to take a closer look at their own supply chains and ultimately become more accountable for their impact on people and planet.

A Fashion Revolution is one that loves clothes but wants the wearer to be able to feel good about wearing them. When making clothing purchases I always try to think of the life a garment has seen before it gets to my wardrobe as well as the one it may have should it ever leave it. What impact has it already had on people and the planet? This doesn't necessarily need to be a damaging one, we can choose a better way; Fashion Revolution strives to see fashion used as a force for positive change.

Olive and Rosy guide to being a Fashion Revolutionary

1.Be Curious

Become informed by asking brands about who made their clothes and what is in them. Find a template here. Check the tags for this information when shopping.

Find out more about the issues through reading - I can absolutely recommend Orsola de Castro's Loved Clothes Last, published earlier this year but there are many others, video content such as The True Cost, online study such as this fab course on Future Learn or attending events.

2. Know Yourself

By knowing the colours and styles which suit you and your lifestyle, you can make more mindful and informed purchases in future. This avoids the risk of items sitting unworn in the back of wardrobes, instead allowing them to be celebrated as they deserve.

It can also help you to see items that you already own in a new light or help you to wear them in a different way.

Time spent with a stylist is definitely a worthwhile investment if you feel you have lost your way with this a little. We can recommend Style by Louise or Chantelle Znideric

3. Love your Clothes

Care for them with the correct washing techniques.

Repair tears, missing buttons etc. Either do this yourself or visit a repair café.

Extend the lifespan of your clothing - if you are no longer wearing something either have it made into something new or swap it with friends or at an event.

Write a love story to a favourite piece of clothing! How did you meet? What adventures have you been on together? This is a sweet idea that forms part of this year’s Fashion Revolution Week.

4. Create Change

Remember that every pound you spend acts as a vote for the kind of world that you want to see and live in (Anna Lappe), so please support small ethical brands and make sustainable switches where you can such as choosing organic cotton. This sends a huge message of support to those striving to make the fashion industry a better one and ultimately can help to make better practices the norm. Together we can create change!

Worn with Love: Wellington’s Sustainable Fashion Week

This event was planned for May 2020 and so sadly has been postponed until further notice but will be updated on its social media page when the time feels right again to get together, for some revolutionary inspiration in our very own community!

References/Further Reading

How to be a Fashion Revolutionary

It’s Time for a Fashion Revolution – White Paper 2015 – Sarah Ditty

Both available online via

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