Friday 21 April 2023

5 Easy Ways to Take Action This Fashion Revolution Week

Happy Fashion Revolution Week! Okay, so it officially starts tomorrow but we can get ahead of the game. 

This is the week we commemorate the 1,134 mostly women garment workers who died when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013. This year, it is the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy and as always it is a reminder of the change that has been made since in the industry and what needs to come. It is the week we take stock of the progress we have made since then and push to make the industry better. It is the week we remind ourselves why we campaign for a better fashion industry and just how bad the system can be. 

1. Email brands as part of campaigns such as #SignTheAccord

It gets to them. It really does. We know mass emails influence a brand’s actions. They care about what people think of them and how their reputations hold up. We’ve seen this tactic produce effective results with campaigns like #PayUp, Victoria’s Dirty Secret and more. These bring ethical concerns straight to the inboxes to those who have decision-making power and can have a huge sway in brands’ actions. The threat of a removed or reduced customer base can influence policy, especially when combined with other tactics as part of a wider campaign. 
Campaigns often share email templates to make it easier for you to take action. For example, here are templates made by Remake for you to contact executives at Levi’s to demand they sign the International Accord on Fire and Safety, a legally binding agreement which ensures basic health and safety for garment workers that was first introduced in the aftermath of Rana Plaza. 

2. Talk about it with friends, family, and anyone you can

We need everyone to take action. And that means getting information spread amongst the majority. Tell people that only two percent of garment workers are paid a living wage. Tell them that Boohoo not only owns Pretty Little Thing but also Nasty Gal, Debenhams, Oasis, Coast, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, MissPap, and more. Tell them how some migrant garment workers in garment factories in Leicester producing clothes for Boohoo are being pai as little as £1 per hour. Tell them how Shein is producing 17 times more clothing than Boohoo, who are already notorious for their over-production. These facts are shocking and they are shocking for a reason.  These facts wake people up to the scale of the problem and prompt an alteration of behaviours. 

3. Donate to organisations, campaign groups and unions working to change the industry

Change happens faster when there are funds behind it. Campaigns run more smoothly and have more impact when they have better funding. The people working behind the scenes are able to focus more of their time and energy on the campaign, rather than having to take on other jobs that may be completely irrelevant to the campaign and increase the likelihood of burnout. 
Whether it’s a regular donation, a birthday fundraiser, or one-off, every donation is important and makes this work continue. Fashion Revolution week is a great time to look at how and where you can give your money to support the people on the forefront of action in the fashion industry. 
Remake hold fundraisers, both to sustain their own operations but also to provide direct relief to garment workers. These funds go directly to garment worker unions working on the ground and can provide support to workers and their families who have lost work when a brand suddenly ends a contract, does not pay for their orders (as happened in the 2020 lockdowns), or something else happens that threatens the livelihoods of garment workers wherever they are in the world. Previous fundraisers by Remake have helped provide food for garment workers in Bangladesh during the intense floods in 2022. 

4. Comment on brands’ posts asking ‘who makes their clothes?’

Again, this comes back to reputation and public image. Can they answer this basic question? Most likely not. The more brands are asked this question, the more ridiculous they look if they can’t answer it. If lots of people repeatedly, consistently and publicly contact them on these issues, the more pressure is put on them to change. 
If you follow me on Twitter, you will likely have seen me trolling Boohoo. It is one of my favourite pastimes and only takes about 30 seconds to do so. You can get a bit of public shaming and embarrassment in with your morning cuppa! 

5. Share your Fashion Love Story

The anti-haul posts! Take an opportunity to show you’re a garment you adore. If fast fashion is the toxic ex, slow fashion is the healthy partner who treats you with respect. As Orsola de Castro put it so well: loved clothes last. Share the story of a well-loved garment: how you met, your favourite memories, how long you’ve been together. Sharing our fashion love stories helps disrupt the narrative that clothing is disposable and instead pushes towards a culture of longevity, care, and circularity. 

If you liked this post you might like: 50 Questions To Ask Your Favourite Fashion Brands

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