“Today, both people and the environment suffer as a result of the way fashion is made, sourced and consumed.”
1997 was the year in which Hong Kong was handed back to China, Dolly the sheep was cloned, Mother Teresa and Princess Diana died within days of each other, Titanic opened in movie theatres, and I bought a black shift dress. Last week was Fashion Revolution Week that marks the anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing factory in Bangladesh in 2013. The name of the organisation Fashion Revolution is self-explanatory – they call on us to rethink our approach to our clothing choices and put pressure on brands to improve their practices.
This week, members of the Green Team presented the Business of Fast Fashion in the “Did You Know?” segment at Assembly. The rise of fast fashion, which focuses on speed and low costs in order to get new collections inspired by the catwalk and celebrity styles into stores frequently, carries with it an impact not only on the people involved in the manufacture of clothes (especially if they are children or not paid a living wage), but also on the environment. With the average piece of clothing being worn just seven times before being discarded, it is time to take a good look at our burgeoning wardrobes and stop before we shop.
Later this year, we will write in more detail about the impact of fashion. In the meantime, you might like to use the Baptist World Aid’s Ethical Fashion Guide, which grades brands on their efforts to mitigate exploitation of workers. In addition, the free app Good on You gives an overall rating of brands by combining information from the Ethical Fashion Guide with research on companies’ efforts to protect the environment and improve animal welfare in their supply chains.
And what of that black dress I mentioned earlier? I wear it regularly 21 years on!
“Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for fairer, safer, cleaner, more transparent fashion industry”
Mrs Elizabeth Cranfield