By Aislinn Redbond, posted 18/04/21
When news of the Rana Plaza collapse broke, the abuses of the fast fashion industry could not be ignored any longer.
Activists marking the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images.
On April 24th 2013, the hidden realities of the fast fashion industry came to light when 1,138 garment workers were killed in the worst industrial disaster ever witnessed in Bangladesh. Rana Plaza, located outside the capital city of Dhaka, was home to five clothing factories making clothes for fast fashion brands including Primark, Benetton and Walmart. When workers arrived that morning, many refused to go in when they saw the cracks in the building, yet managers insisted they enter the building. In the space of ninety seconds, the entire plaza crumbled to the ground.
Fashion Revolution was founded after this deadly disaster to bring together activists across the globe who are demanding greater human rights protection, environmental awareness and improved accountability and transparency within the fashion industry. Every year, Fashion Revolution week occurs to mark the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse and renew efforts to improve the standards of the fashion industry. The movement focuses on raising awareness of the injustices occurring in global fashion, with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes used to encourage consumers to consider the human cost of their clothing. When production takes place so far removed from the shores where the clothes are purchased, it is easy to feel disconnected from those involved in the garment industry, but Fashion Revolution week aims to bridge that divide and unite both consumers and workers in demanding justice within the fashion industry.
With its focus on mobilising members of society to demand higher standards of fast fashion companies, Fashion Revolution has been instrumental in bringing about positive changes such as greater transparency practices amongst fashion brands. Every year, more and more companies are agreeing to share their suppliers and factories so that consumers know how and where their clothing was made. Dividing their work into three main sections, Fashion Revolution is engaged in advocating for industry change, policy change and cultural change. These three distinct areas target concerns around the environmental cost of fashion, the improvement of workers’ rights in the garment industry, and a change in consumer habits towards fashion. By consuming less fast fashion and preserving the clothing we own for longer, we can actively challenge the fashion industry and reduce our environmental impact. At Shrub, we are marking Fashion Revolution Week by having a social media challenge where people share interesting stories about their second-hand clothing, celebrating the history of the garment. As well as this we will be sharing social media and blog posts giving you more information about the fast fashion industry and how you can avoid it. Fast fashion thrives on the constant renewal of our wardrobes, chasing the latest designs and disposing of our clothing in less-than-sustainable manners. This is driving the crises in the fashion industry, but Fashion Revolution Week provides a way for us to reconsider our relationship with our clothes and demand meaningful change in the fashion industry.
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