Last week was Fashion Revolution week – a global movement which falls on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse which killed 1138 people and injured many more on the 24th April 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The factory supplied many clothing brands including Primark, Mango and Matalan and was the first major incident to shed light on the devastatingly unsafe environments that factory staff across the world have to endure.
Very quickly, the spotlight was put onto fashion brands, producers and retailers to demonstrate complete transparency to their customers, showing how they care for their people and the planet.
From farmer to consumer, the Fashion Revolution wants to celebrate fashion as a positive influence while also scrutinising industry practices and raising awareness of the fashion industry’s most pressing issues.
As a society, I think it’s fair to say that we are addicted to speed and convenience. Whether it’s food to your door within 20 minutes of deciding what you want to eat or a new dress ordered on Friday and delivered in time for Saturday night, businesses are continually adapting so that they can supply as quickly as you demand it.
Clothing consumption has changed so much in the last two decades. The purchase of clothing has increased by 400% compared to 20 years ago and not only are we buying more, we are spending less.
There are 3 major impacts to this fast-fashion addiction:
The Planet. Clothing manufacture is the second most polluting industry (after oil) and according to The Carbon Trust, clothing accounts for around 3% of global CO2 emissions.
The People. It’s a harsh fact that human rights abuse is rife in the fashion manufacturing industry. Basic health and safety measures still don’t exist for many workers who remain exploited by the factories and brands they supply.
The Artisans. Mass manufacturing is causing artisanal and heritage crafts to become eroded. We are in danger of losing the independent designers and the ancient crafts that have been passed down through generations if we continue to buy the fast-fashion alternative to the pieces that have inspired their creation.
There are many ways that we as consumers (and fashion lovers) can take part in the fashion revolution but as customers of Grace & Ted, in part, you’re already doing it! *high five*
Besides saving money (great for our bank balances) there are a tonne of other reasons to shop secondhand that are great for the planet.
- It is thought that the clothing discarded in 1 year could fill Wembley Stadium! Buying pre-owned clothing keeps it out of landfill.
- By selling your clothing through a local resale or consignment store you can helping to support a small business in your community (great karma)
- It takes 200 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans – that is the equivalent of 285 showers! If more of us bought pre-owned jeans, demand for new jeans lessens meaning fewer new pairs need to be manufactured, thus helping to reduce the impact of clothing production on our environment.
Small changes can make a big difference. If we take time to rethink what and how much we buy; choosing ethical retailers, secondhand shops or even peer-to-peer apps like Depop to find that dress for Saturday night; shopping more consciously will have a considerable affect on the planet and the people on it.