Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Fashion Revolution

Everything is thrifted, except for socks (though you can DIY your own)

Who made your clothes?

It might seem like a simple question, but have you ever really thought about it? It can feel like clothes begin their lives on hangers in shiny shopping malls, and from there they make a quick trip to our wardrobes (or in the case of online shopping, they magically appear on our doorsteps). It's a fact of our lives, how we were raised, to not give a thought about the life of our clothes before they end up in our stores.

Depending on the brand, your clothes may have come from any number of countries all over the world. However it's a sad fact that most labels who source their clothes from relatively poor countries don't provide a living wage to their workers (i.e. enough for that worker to be able to buy food, basic entertainment and live in decent housing). Many companies don't even know exactly who makes their clothes, because the chain of work becomes buried in subcontract after subcontract - and sadly, many are linked with forced and child labour.

To mark the 1 year since the Rana Plaza factory collapse, when an unsafe clothing factory in Bangladesh caved in killing 1133 garment makers, tomorrow (April 24th) is Fashion Revolution Day.

Fashion Revolution Day believes that fashion has the potential to be a force for good in the world (something I wholeheartedly agree with!) And as both lovers and consumers of fashion we have the power to change how it's done. By asking "who made my clothes?" and refusing to buy from retailers who cannot or will not answer that question, we can make a difference - we can start making brands be accountable for the rights of their workers, and start providing safe working conditions and living wages.

How you can contribute to the fashion revolution

Choose thrifting over fast fashion
Find your nearest charity stores and go nuts. Yes, at some point, some of these clothes could have been made using forced or unethical labour. But these clothes have already been bought by someone else, and so your money never goes to the retailers who originally sold the item and does not in any way support their practices, good or bad. In fact, secondhand stores prevent these clothes from going into landfill! Plus, the money you spend on these clothes usually goes into charities that help disadvantaged people.

I pretty much exclusively buy my clothes from thrift shops. Not only is it hella cheap, it satisfies that fast-fashion-urge and allows you stay on-trend, as you can basically find anything you need if you know where and how to look! (If you guys are interested in a thrifting-tips video, then I may be able to provide! Let me know in the comments.)

Who made my clothes?? I made my clothes!
You guys have seen all my DIY tutorials, right?? In that case, you probably already know that I'm a big advocate of making your own clothes. I'm trying to figure out how to make my own entire wardrobe, and this blog has documented much of that process!
p.s. Get your fabrics from thrift stores, or make sure that it's certified fair trade. One of the most unaccountable processes of the fashion supply chain is in the production of raw materials.

Buy ethically. Sometimes you might have to shell out a bit of extra cash to buy ethically. But it turns out that you don't even have to do that. Last year I did a bunch of research and compiled an Ethical Fashion Directory of super cute, cheap and ethically-sourced clothing and accessories.

Do your research
Educate yourself! Not all brands are evil, but it's good to know which ones to be wary of. Free2Work is a fantastic site listing many large retailers (such as Zara, H&M, Forever 21 and Target) and how they compare to each other on matters like accountability, transparency and worker's rights.

Spread the word. April 24th is Fashion Revolution day! You can show your support by wearing your clothes #insideout (okay, so I might not personally do this one because a) I have a psychologist's appointment tomorrow and I think that would probably worry them and b) I am also going to a waterpark and wearing a swimsuit inside-out is not ever a good idea) but the idea is to share your #insideout photo on twitter or instagram, with the name of the brand, i.e.

I want to know who made my [@brandname] dress etc #insideout

You can also take the opportunity to post something to your facebook page, talk to your friends, or even send messages to clothing companies asking them "who makes your clothes?" Companies will change if enough of its consumers demand it - otherwise they'll go out of business!

I hope that you're all having an amazing day,

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  1. wow, you wrote a great article, I've never asked that, and although I felt that helped the planet, for the fact of buying a lot in thrift stores, either I have asked the question of who drew up, now I'm feeling anguish for those workers who are exploited, sometimes I feel that in this age, should not happen .... I feel a lot of admiration for people who are able to make their own clothes, is always one of my goals,

  2. This is a really good thing to bring awareness too. I thrift most of my clothing as well. A few years ago I became a vegetarian & decided to research all my make-up to try and ensure it was cruelty-free and as ethical as could be. Now I've been cutting 'fast-fashion' out of my wardrobe due to issues like the Rana Plaza factory collapse. There's such a disconnection between buying our clothes and knowing WHERE they came from. We inadvertently support so many awful trades but we can change it by making such simple changes. Thanks for this post! Xo

  3. I love this post so much, and love you even more. Thank you sincerely for continuing to spread the word and educate! :) I love the resources you linked as well. Basically, you rock, girl.

  4. Well put!
    I've been trying to be a smarter and better shopper lately. Have you heard of Everlane? They are big on knowing their sources, and make good quality stuff!


  5. Thats such a good point, thats one reason i love thrifting! You can give a garment a new home and new life so that its creation doesn't have to go to waste, especially someone out there worked very hard on it.

  6. Beautifully written! I wrote an article on Fashion Revolution too, hoping it gets lots of #insideout hashtags tomorrow. Love the suggestions for things people can do to make a difference!

  7. Great post! Thank you for being aware and teaching others to do the same. I am a major thrifter, I enjoy the thrill of finding the perfect item.

  8. I love this post so much. Thanks for taking the time to make these helpful suggestions and spreading the word. I feel like you are a thrifiting master and I would love to hear any tips too <3

  9. I love this post!!! Your writing and photography is top notch. Thanks for all of the suggestions and for being an inspirational blogging lady. <3 I only recently discovered your awesome blog but can't wait to read more from you. xoxo

  10. Amazing post! Personally, I have stopped shopping retail stores for months now. I thrift all the time now, hunting for some awesome vintage clothing stores or flea markets. They're really cheap too! So I'm seriously happy. Thanks for the fashion revolution info! I will definitely have a read later ;)

  11. Brilliant post. Did you ever watch that BBC documentary called Blood, Sweat & T-shirts? They showed it on the ABC here. Such a good documentary and it shows how shitty the working conditions are for the factory workers. Would love to see a thrifting video because I tend to get a bit overwhelmed in op shops!

    Kirsten |

  12. Awesome post! Your outfits are always so inspiring especially the ones you make yourself - I'm aiming to make more of my own clothes and today about 50% of my attire is handmade. Not great but it's a start :)

  13. Great post! I like your attitude and philosophy! I've never heard of Fashion Revolution Day. What is the background?

  14. Annika, I love you for this. Slow fashion is extremely important to me, and I consider it my duty as a fashion blogger to educate my readers about thrifting and ethics. To see other bloggers doing the same lessens my burden just that much.

  15. Fantastic post. Not enough fashion bloggers have this attitude and it's great to see someone promoting this viewpoint and educating her followers. Good for you!

  16. While thrifting is awesome, you should also keep in mind that the key is to buy less. Buying lots of cheap secondhand clothes is similar to buying cheap fast fashion. We should all buy less and buy more ethical products because it's the more sustainable in the end.

    1. I disagree - with buying secondhand clothes there is absolutely no new net-production of anything, which I think makes it the most sustainable option out of all of them. Plus, I recirculate most of my stuff back into op-shops and sell the super-nice stuff to people who'll really love them. No net creation of anything; nothing going into landfill.

      Plus, while buying less might be a good philosophy for some I also have a fashion blog to run and it'd get a little dull if I was wearing the one dress in every post (even though I do stress the importance of restyling and wearing things more than once as well!)

  17. I used to be a regular thrift store shopper, but the habit has been curbed considerably since I moved out of state and into a county with two HUGE universities (more than 60,000 college students) and lots of young families -- the thrift stores are always picked over. It's such a bummer!

    So while I do like to buy new, I'm also a big believer in thrift shops and making my own clothing.

  18. I love this post :) But unfortunately it seems like the free2work website has been hacked :/ do you know any other website as well made as that one? Thank you so much for what you do in the internet community Annika <3


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