Two students from London College of Communication and London College of Fashion are encouraging you to wear your clothes inside out for worldwide Fashion Revolution Day on 24 April and join in a day of action to raise awareness of the issue of ethical garment manufacturing.
Fashion Revolution Day, on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster which killed 1,133 people when a factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh, aims to highlight the fashion industry’s most pressing issues, demand greater transparency in clothing supply chains and improve the lives of the millions of often vulnerable people who make our clothes.
“We want people to turn their clothes inside out, study the label, and ask the question: who made my clothes?” says LCC BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design student Katie Baggs, who, together with London College of Fashion student Alice Bodgener, is coordinating a Fashion Revolution day of action on Oxford Street on 24 April.
“We want people to be aware of the working conditions of people that make their clothes, not to take things for granted. What happened at Rana Plaza should affect the entire fashion industry. We have a food labelling scheme in the UK, brands are happy to list the ingredients in their food. We know how our fish is sourced, why not our clothes?”
The day of occupation and activities, which Katie is keen to stress is “not a day of protest, but a day to ask questions”, will start at 8am at Oxford Circus and end with a “fash mob” [sic] on Carnaby Street in collaboration with ethical underwear makers Pants to Poverty.
Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of the Rana Plaza disaster was that, even a week later, many brands did not know whether or not they had been producing clothing within the building.
The theme for the first year of Fashion Revolution Day brings the consumer to the forefront and tell brands that they want to know who made their clothes.
People are encouraged to be curious about their clothes by taking pictures of their labels and sending them to brands on social media, asking them where they’re from. The hope is to create a global movement and inspire ongoing action, the way it has with Katie and Alice.
“My involvement with Fashion Revolution sprang out of a collaborative ‘Critical Mass’ project and exhibition for LCC Green Week,” say Katie.
“Researching Rana Plaza I was shocked by what I found and so the project was a response to that. We used giant washing label instructions to carry the message, in posters, and through an intervention in Oxford Street, speaking to people about sweatshop labour and raising awareness of Rana Plaza. With Alice, I have developed the design and the idea further for Fashion Revolution Day and we want to continue after that.”
One way the action will continue is through the Evolving Fashion Society created by Alice and LCF students which will be encouraging interdisciplinary conversations and interactions.
“Our hope with Evolving Fashion is that it acts as a network to bring students who are already exploring sustainable practices together, to share ideas, collaborate and promote sustainability to a wider audience,” says Alice, who is a second-year FDA Designer Pattern Cutter student at LCF.
“The fashion industry is in dire need of a revolution, and Fashion Revolution and Evolving Fashion exist to support the next generation to make that change.”
How to get involved in Fashion Revolution Day:
Be curious and find out where your clothes are made…
Wear your clothes #InsideOut and Tweet: Today I’m wearing my (shirt/dress/T-shirt etc.) #insideout because I want to ask @ (brand/retailer) Who Made Your Clothes?
Support brands you know are creating ethical and sustainable solutions…
Wear your clothes #InsideOut and Tweet: Today I’m proud to wear my (shirt/dress/T-shirt etc.) #insideout because @ (brand/retailer) KNOW Who Made My Clothes.
Join Fashion Revolution Day on Thursday 24 April at Oxford Circus with Pants to Poverty and the Evolving Fashion Society. See the Facebook group for where and when: facebook.com/events/220104868179904/?fref=ts