From April 23-29, the organization Fashion Revolution will be hosting Fashion Revolution Week. Each year, the organization encourages consumers to ask their favourite brands “Who made my clothes?” The motivation behind this question is to demand greater transparency and to get fashion brands to release more information about their employees, supply chains, and how they make their garments. This was inspired by the events at the Rana Plaza factory, which collapsed and killed 1,138 people and injured so many more.
So, in order to pressure fashion brands to consider the ethics behind their business models, Fashion Revolution gives consumers a platform through which they can voice their concerns and demand changes in the fashion industry. This united front is expressed through #whomademyclothes on social media. Take a look at an example from a participant so far:
So what will come out of a movement like this?
Well to start, many brands respond with pictures of their workers and factories to increase the transparency of their supply chain. Take a look at the Canadian brand Yoga Jeans, that responded to consumer inquiries on their Instagram account with photos of their employees.
Even better, movements like this have allowed the organization to create documents like the Fashion Transparency Index. The Index ranks 100 of the largest fashion brands to compare them based on levels of transparency. Reebok and Adidas were the top two brands who were rated at 49% for their levels of transparency in disclosing information about their suppliers, supply chain, and social and environmental impacts. Research like this highlights the overall lack of information available in the fashion industry, as none of the top brands were rated over 50%. This research and the movement of Fashion Revolution Week also sends a message to companies that transparency is a new demand that consumers have. Not only do they care about branding, quality, and trends, they want to know more about the brand’s production process.
In their publication, Fashion Revolution highlights that greater transparency leads to holding companies accountable. Ultimately, if the harms caused by the fashion industry remain hidden, it is difficult to decipher how the issue can be fixed and who should be held responsible. However, once there is greater transparency, change makers can have a better understanding of how to take action. We look forward to seeing how brands will deal with the tough questions consumers have for them this week. The more information they release to us, the more we can do to make changes in the industry.