Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Fashion Revolution Week’s 2021: #WhoMadeMyFabric campaign links the rights of nature with the human rights

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The global operations director of Fashion Revolution, Carry Somers who has been campaigning for a more sustainable and less exploitative industry since 2013, launches a campaign calling for transparency which questions not only #WhoMadeMyClothes? but also #WhoMadeMyFabric?

Somers believes that more than ever, today, we need these slogans to be used as a fashion clan’s battle cry. According to her, the world will see a fashion revolution given we raise our voices, use our purchasing power, take initiatives and collaborate to find solutions.

There is still some transparency to be found beyond the first tier of the supply chain although brands are beginning to share more information about their environmental and socio-cultural contribution in the industry, due to the pacts launched since 2013’s Rana Plaza factory collapse disaster. Millions of labour are yet in similar working conditions to those that worked in Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza building.

Minorities, women are still underestimated, climatic targets are falling short and resources are extracted at a speed that pollutes land as well as waters making the biggest names in the International fashion richer each day.

Somers says that there has to be some change and brands need to ensure that the well being and protection of their community and ecosystem needs to be prioritised over shareholder profit.

With this, Fashion Revolution initiates their 2021 campaign #WhoMadeMyFabric? which targets 60 retailers in line with the Tamil Nadu Declaration, covering the theme- Rights, Relationships and Revolution. In the pandemic year, brands began to prioritise profitability overlooking the diligence.

This moved Somers, who recalls the story of her fourth great grandmother, an exploited, migrant lacemaker who worked at the end of the 18th-century. She talks of the hardships, debts and discrimination she faced over 200 years ago which is prevailing even in the present times and the garment workers are still facing hurdles trying to work their way out of poverty.

Brands are cloaking fashion into secrecy by not disclosing their supply reasoning that the business insights can be used for competitive purposes. In fact, not a brand that has revealed information about their supply chain has reported losing a supplier to a competitor for being transparent. In fact, visibility and transparency have led to more opportunities for brand collaborations and improvements for both the employees as well as the brand in terms of goodwill.

Also, the stark fact is that many retailers are not aware of their complete network of suppliers in order to disclose it. Their choice to cover the realities and uncovered risks can make them more accountable and responsible for remediating the problems discovered. These claim to be sustainable and ethical for only valuable PR and avoid all the hard work that undergoes in the process of sustainably creating fashion.

Through the campaign, Fashion Revolution urges consumers to email brands directly demanding transparency, and tagging brands across all social media channels asking #WhoMadeMyFabric? Consumers are free to leave reviews on the brand’s product pages as well. The campaign is linking the rights of nature to human rights. Fashion Revolution’s battle cry never seemed more crucial.

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