Hope and Progress in Fashion Revolution

Last Updated: June 14, 2024By

 

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Fashion can sometimes seem like a gloomy world, with its dirt-cheap bikinis and boots that cost less than a cup of coffee. It’s a big polluter too, ranking just behind oil and gas in terms of carbon emissions. Those tiny synthetic fibers from our clothes are now swimming in our waterways and sneaking into our food, while mountains of discarded garments in places like Ghana are so huge they could be mistaken for modern-day pyramids from space. Yet, despite all this doom and gloom, the wheel of fashion keeps on spinning.

Then, one day, an email popped up in my inbox from Fashion Revolution, a non-profit group born from the ashes of the 2013 Rana Plaza factory tragedy. They’ve grown into this giant force for good in fashion, asking that all-important question, “Who Made My Clothes?” They’ve even come up with a Fashion Transparency index, trying to hold the big brands accountable for their actions. But with all this noise, have things really changed?

I decided to ask some folks who know their stuff what they reckon.

Aditi Mayer, the climate warrior, had some thoughts:

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“Sure, it’s cool to be mindful about what we buy, but real change in fashion needs a triple whammy of supporting workers’ rights, educating consumers, and making big corporations own up to their mess. Take the Fabric Act, for example. It’s all about making sure workers are treated right and giving incentives for companies to do the right thing. And then there’s the Fashion Act, backed by big names like Leo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie, aiming to keep brands honest about where their stuff comes from.”

Hannah Rochell, the brains behind slowette.com, chimed in:

“It’s heartening to see so many options for ethically made clothes right here in Britain. From bespoke outfits like those from Emiko and Roake Studio, to small-scale producers like Batch London and Paynter, and let’s not forget Patrick Grant’s Community Clothing, all about bringing back jobs and pride to UK towns with their quality clobber.”

And then there’s Tiffanie Darke, the force behind It’s Not Sustainable:

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“I’m buzzing about the new laws coming in. France is leading the charge with schemes to pay you back for fixing your clothes and plans to tax the fast fashion giants. Plus, people are waking up to the fact that fashion shouldn’t be a bottomless brunch – there’s such a thing as too much. Campaigns like the Rule of Five, which I kicked off, and challenges like the no-buy and 30-wear ones are getting bigger by the day.”

On the other hand, Tamsin Blanchard, the journalist, had this to say:

“Sure, we’ve still got loads to fix – workers’ rights, overproduction – but I’m pumped about the strides we’re making in eco-friendly textiles. Brands like Ōshadi in India are blazing a trail with new ways of making clothes that play nice with Mother Nature. Their Seed-to-Sew collection, for instance, is all about cotton that’s grown in harmony with other crops, sucking up carbon and keeping things diverse.”

And then there’s Venetia La Manna, the fair fashion champ:

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“The real solutions are coming from the people hit hardest by the big fashion machine. That’s why I’m hyped about the Speak Volumes campaign from the Or Foundation. Led by the second-hand heroes in Accra, Ghana, they’re shouting for brands to own up about how much they churn out each year. And guess what? Some big names like Lucy & Yak are actually listening and opening up about their production numbers.”

Emma Slade Edmondson, the eco consultant, saw hope in the next generation:

“I’m stoked about how the younger lot are all fired up about sustainable fashion. Back in my day, people used to ask why I cared about this stuff. Now, it’s more like, ‘Why aren’t we all doing things better?'”

Clare Press, author extraordinaire, had her say:

 

“The media’s finally waking up to sustainability. We’ve got a fresh batch of writers and editors ready to shake things up and make the industry own up to its mess. We’ve still got a long way to go, but the fact that we’re talking about it now like never before is a win.”

And then there’s Patrick McDowell, the fashion maestro:

“It’s amazing to see more folks going for made-to-order clothes. It’s the way forward, making only what people actually want to buy. It’s all about quality over quantity, which is a win for the planet and the people wearing the gear.”

Lastly, Tansy E Hoskins, the author and journo, brought up a game-changer:

“A big leap forward is the Dindigul agreement, tackling gender-based violence in India’s textile industry. It’s led by Dalit women and it’s legally binding, a first in Asia. It’s a powerful step toward ending the violence that’s sadly too common across fashion’s supply chains.”

So, maybe there’s a glimmer of hope in the world of fashion after all. It’s not all doom and gloom. Maybe, just maybe, we’re turning a corner.

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