Who made your clothes? No, really, can you tell me who? OK scrap that – can you at least tell me where they were made? The label might say that, but was that where the cotton was made too? Or was it just sewn there? Or umm… yeah I don’t know either. And that’s not actually OK when you really think about it.
This week is Fashion Revolution Week (23-29th April), calling global attention to just that question with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes. The Fashion Revolution started five years ago following the disaster at Rana Plaza, Bangladesh, where 1,138 people lost their lives, and injured over 2,500, when a five-storey garment factory collapsed. The disaster shed a harsh light on the reality of the “fast fashion” industry, revealing dangerous working conditions, long hours and little pay for garment workers. This is a worldwide problem, as approximately 75 million people work to create 150 billion items of clothing every year.
This led fashion designers, Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro, to ask “Have you ever wondered who made your clothes? How much they’re paid, and what their lives are like?”. Often we feel so far removed from this as we seek the latest trends at the best prices, but do we really understand the costs? We have a responsibility as consumers to make more conscious purchases and take the reins of this Fashion Revolution.
Great idea, right? But how? Consumers need to be better informed about the journey our clothes (and anything really) take to get to our stores, and have more ethical and transparent options to choose from. This is at the heart of London Designers Collective as we work with independent designers who know exactly where their products come from. They have visited the workshops, selected the materials themselves, or even made their own products. We are proud to work with a growing number of ethical and sustainable brands committed to these values. In 2018 it should be a given that these values are at the heart of all that we do. In our upcoming Meet the Make concept store at Exmouth Market, 11-24th May, we will have ethical brands such as Bourgeois Boheme vegan footwear, Gung Ho’s London-made organic clothing connecting people to the social and environmental issues depicted on their designs, Pala eyewear who support life-changing vision projects in Africa, Linnie Mclarty jewellery handmade from certified Fairtrade, Fairmined, Ecological gold and recycled silver and many more…
The store will be run by the designers themselves so customers can come and find out exactly who made their products. We will also be giving the public a sneak peak behind the scenes of the brands with a series of designer-led workshops, where the people behind the brands will be sharing their techniques, guiding you to customise your product or make your own product from scratch. So when friends ask you “Who made it” you know exactly who, and it may have even been you. More information on our store and workshops here.
This is how you can get involved with LDC, and we also have our first Buy Less, Buy Better presentations & networking evening in June (more info coming soon!). But if you want to do more (and we all should!) you can by signing the Fashion Revolution Manifesto – a 10 point plan which demands a fair living wage, respect for culture and heritage, conservation of the environment, greater transparency and accountability within the supply chain, as well as an emphasis on measuring success in more than just sales and profits. You can pledge your support here. You can also join the #whomademyclothes initiative by sharing a picture of your clothing label and asking who made it, turning the question back on the retailers. The Fashion Revolution website also has loads of ideas of how to get involved, interesting articles and events so check it out! Be part of the community. Be part of the revolution!
All images courtesy of Fashion Revolution, and LDC brands.
Information from the Evening Standard article
Find more information at Fashion Revolution
LDC Meet the Maker: Experiences & Concept Store, 30 Exmouth Market, 11-24th May