I never really thought about who made my clothes and what poor conditions may exist for those workers who create my favorite outfit. When shopping, I am usually caught up with the bold colors, soft fabrics and enticing designs. My mind plays with how I will look in the outfit and who will notice. To think that this dreamy blouse or sassy jacket may have come from a young woman struggling to survive in horrendous conditions never crossed my mind.
But that way of shopping is changing for me.
On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed and killed 1138 people, mostly young women living in poverty who worked in five garment factories.
Ignited by this tragedy, the Fashion Revolution was born and sparked a new way of thinking about our clothes. It has become a global movement capitalizing on the power of fashion to change the world. The movement advocates for better working conditions, cleaner ways of making clothes to protect our environment and greater transparency to build brand accountability.
Still today, people and the environment are suffering from how we produce our clothes. So, this year, the Revolution is challenging us to ask #whomademyclothes? By asking the question and making smart shopping choices, more brands will listen.
I must admit that this meaningful global movement still seems far away from San Luis Obispo. My new awakening has challenged my way of thinking. It has also turned a pleasurable shopping trip into a disheartening journey of helplessness. What can I do?
There are many ways to make a difference. Here are a few:
1. Shop at your local fair trade store – HumanKind in downtown San Luis Obispo.
2. Choose brands such as Global Mamas – a global community working to enhance the prosperity of African women and their families by selling handmade products. These products are featured at HumanKind in addition to so many more fair trade clothing brands!
4. Select clothes made from countries with stricter environmental regulations for garment factories.
5. Check out the Fashion Revolution website to educate yourself on steps you can take to join the movement at fashionrevolution.org. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to be inspired on your journey toward becoming a more ethical consumer!
This week is Fashion Revolution Week—April 22-29. It is a time to realize the power we have as individuals to make an impact when buying that favorite outfit.