Thursday, April 24, 2014

turn it inside out and check yo labels.......

fashion revolution day on Make A Gif

In honour of today, Fashion Revolution Day, I made a gif. 

After I turned my threads inside out and asked myself Who Made My Clothes?

Today is an important day; for reasons I've previously outlined here, here and here

But tomorrow is important, too. And so is the next day and the one after that and a whole bunch more days that are on their way. 

Because while the interest in knowing who is behind the fashion we wear is high today, what's important is not to forget. To remember that transparent supply chains, living wages and safe working conditions aren't just something for us - and the people who make our clothes - to hope for, they are something we should demand from the brands we choose to hand over our money to. 

People should not lose their lives, their health, or a place to live simply because we want to buy a cheap t-shirt. 

kb xx

Check out these great sites for more information:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

asking the questions.......

What do broken records really sound like? I tried to Google that, but all I found was a bunch of wannabe etymologists debating words and this one youtube video.

So let’s go with the assumption that a broken record is something or someone who repeats and repeats and then just for fun repeats again. Because, you know I’m talking about Fashion Revolution Day, again. And asking you to ask the question ‘Who Made Your Clothes?’, again.

I would apologies for the repetitive nature of this weeks posts, but alas I don’t want to - so I won’t. My Mother always said I was stubborn.  

I will tell you that I’ve been doing an inordinate amount of research, reading, watching, listening and just general soaking up of knowledge about ethical fashion, sustainable fashion, transparent supply chains, safety accords, environmental impacts, codes of conduct and minimum wages - among others. 

And despite all that knowledge soaking, I’ve yet to find a solid footing to base an opinion, an action, a way forward. 

There are the obvious points. 

The people that grow our fibres, produce our fabrics and make our clothes need more support - both financial and otherwise. 

The companies that contract these people to do that growing, producing and making need to do so in a more ethical and sustainable manner. 

We, as consumers, need to think more about our purchases - do we really need another white shirt, another pair of black pants, another anything?

We, as a community, need to assess the amount of textiles littering landfills, around 26kg for each of us every year according to a study by Cambridge University.

It would be easy to come up with an obvious answer too. No more cheap fashion, boycott the high street and the shopping centres and malls. But such a knee jerk reaction to a very big issue ignores the fact that millions of people, around 26 million in fact, in fields, factories and stores rely on at least a modicum of our desire to buy fashion to survive. The clothing and textiles industries make up more than 70% of exports in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan. Boycotts have the real potential to do more damage than good.  

So before we campaign for the death of cheap fast fashion, before we walk away from the high street and cram ourselves into op shops and second hand stores, before we resolve to wear hemp - and only hemp, let’s start with asking questions. 

Like Who Made Your Clothes?

So maybe I do have a solid footing after all. Because what I gleaned from all my knowledge soaking is that we cannot devise the answers until we ask the questions. 

Let's get asking!

kb xx

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

eight storeys......

Eight Storeys from Emily Yeung on Vimeo.

In light of Fashion Revolution Day this Thursday and my increasing awareness of how opaque supply chains are in the fashion industry, my focus on issues surrounding the ethical sourcing of the clothes we wear is no surprise.

This video, which I discovered through Twitter and the team behind the Australian and New Zealand Fash_Rev handle, is running on a number of levels for me.

First - the obvious. The 'building' created with cups of paint (?) and polystyrene demonstrating the haphazard and dangerous way the Rana Plaza was extended to meet the increasing demand of an incredibly hungry fashion industry.

Second, and perhaps the more subtle level. The way the devastation wrought by the falling sewing machine (heavily symbolic) spills the paint becomes something of raw beauty by the end of the film, when the fabric that was underneath the collapsed 'building' becomes the basis for something new.

It works like a metaphor in a way. The Rana Plaza tragedy is the devastation, and now it's up to us to ensure the raw beauty emerges. We do that by asking questions, we do that by demanding transparency, we do that by supporting the people that make our clothes.

kb xx