Calling All Revolutionaries
This is Fashion Revolution Week - a time when we come together as a global community to create a better fashion industry.
On 24th April 2013 the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. More than 1100 people died and another 2500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. This tragedy led to the Fashion Revolution movement. For many of us it was this disaster that made us sit up and think a bit more about where, and how, are clothes are made.
You can find out all about Fashion Revolution Week and how you can be part of the global community fighting for the human rights of factory workers and an end to the environmental degradation of the fashion industry. In short, holding the fashion industry to account.
Please don't think this it is only in developing countries that garment workers are paid a pittance for working in atrocious conditions. One of the most profitable online sites, Boohoo, faced allegations last year that workers at its factory in Leicester were paid as little as £3.50 an hour. There were widespread allegations of poor conditions and pay across textile factories in the city.
In response, Boohoo launched an independent review into its supply chain in Leicester which reported in September that Boohoo was aware of "endemic" problems in Leicester.
You can see why we need a Fashion Revolution!
Events are taking place all over the world to raise awareness of the issues so naturally we wanted to play our part. You're maybe thinking all this sounds a bit heavy. Yes, it's a serious subject, but wait till you see what a treat we have in store for you.
This Saturday, the 8th anniversary of the tragedy in Bangladesh that led to the founding of Fashion Revolution, we are holding an online workshop, "The Sustainable Wardrobe".
We are delighted that the Sustainable Stylist, Adele Martin, will lead our workshop, so to whet your appetite a little we asked her to tell us more about herself and her work.
What do you mean when you say you are a 'sustainable stylist'?
As a personal stylist, I help people look and feel fabulous without the fast fashion fix! When my clients first come to me they have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear, so they keep buying new stuff. Sound familiar?! Being stylish isn’t about buying cheap clothes for fun every week - it’s about understanding the colours and shapes that you look amazing in, and that allows you to be more mindful about your wardrobe.
My sustainable styling toolkit includes colour and style analysis, building new outfits in your existing wardrobe, and smashing the stigma of second hand fashion!
Why is sustainability important to you?
About 20 years ago I was researching the horrifying impact of pollution and climate change on ocean ecosystems as part of my BSc degree in Marine & Environmental Biology and really getting to grips with the complex science behind ‘There Is No Planet B’. At the same time Primark opened in Dundee and was sending my fellow cash-strapped students into a frenzy every weekend. We just couldn’t understand how clothes could be sold so cheap… and of course, it wasn’t until the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 that the deadly fast fashion industry practices became wider public knowledge.
Today, social media is a huge driver for excessive consumption of fast fashion because of the pressure to always appear relevant and exciting, with many style influencers treating clothes as disposable items. I want to use my platform to show others that your wardrobe can feel fresh and exciting without having to buy new clothes all the time!
Do you think change is coming?
Yes, and it’s definitely building momentum. Searches for ‘sustainable fashion’ and related keywords have massively increased worldwide on Pinterest over the last few years. The pandemic has also really changed our approach to fashion with many people using lockdown to sort out their wardrobe and sell / buy on second hand platforms, as well as learning how to customise or make their own clothes. I think these small changes on an individual level can make a huge difference globally!
What would be your top tip for those of us who want to reduce our fashion footprint?
Use my free ‘Mindful Shopping’ wallet card before making any new purchase! Watch my video about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTpqWoGWuKg
I share loads of other tips on my social media so why not follow along? @adele_sustainable_stylist (Instagram) or @hocadelemartin (Facebook). And of course, come to the virtual Community Wardrobe event on 24th April to learn my tips on How To Thrift Like A Pro!
Well, are you keen to know more?
And once you have done that you can look forward to visiting our Community Wardrobe which will be opening its doors again on Friday 30th April.
Tickets will be available from Monday 26th April via our facebook page.
Oh my, in the next few months we will all be walking tall and proud. We will look fabulous on account of the tips we have picked up, and we will feel fabulous knowing we are doing right for the planet too.