by Fashion Revolution’s Sarah Ditty and Heather Knight talk us through their brand new Fanzine
The global fashion industry is opaque, exploitative and environmentally damaging and desperately needs revolutionary change. Yet one brand, one organization, or one person cannot change this alone; we need all the stakeholders — brands, retailers, producers, governments and consumers — to work together towards a cleaner, safer, fairer, more transparent fashion industry.
There are so many problems within the industry; it can be overwhelming to know what to do or where to start making a difference as a consumer. The issues are complex, and the terminology impenetrable, leaving consumers feeling guilty, helpless and disempowered.
Fashion’s most ardent supporters are not fighting for a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry, because they simply don’t know how.
It is partly a communications problem. Fashion’s supply chains are fragmented and complex networks that are not easy to trace and map let alone communicate in a meaningful way to consumers. It is difficult to explain complicated issues like supply chain accountability, living wages or collective bargaining. It’s even harder to make people care and do something about these issues. This information needs to be made relevant to regular people in a way that connects with who they are and what they care about.
This makes the task all the more important and challenging for Fashion Revolution, the global movement whose mission is to inspire people to care about who makes their clothes and under what conditions. Fashion Revolution has seen that the 'naming and shaming’ approach hasn’t yet brought about systemic positive change. Labour rights and environmental sustainability organisations have been trying those tactics for years and yet abuses remain rife.
Since the day Rana Plaza collapsed Fashion Revolution has aimed to reach consumers and spur them into action by shifting the narrative. The new approach is all about loving clothes and celebrating good practices whilst also uncovering and scrutinising the industry’s biggest problems. Fashion Revolution considers itself a “pro-fashion activist.”
Money, Fashion, Power
Aimed at a young, fashion-loving audience, Fashion Revolution’s new fanzine MONEY FASHION POWER tackles challenging topics like human rights for garment workers, living wages, freedom of association and supply chain transparency in a creative, highly visual and provocative way.
MONEY FASHION POWER was created in collaboration with many exciting artists, poets and writer, including: fashion editor Tamsin Blanchard, illustrator and printmaker Alec Doherty, artist Tyler Spangler, illustrator and animator Rozalina Burkova, fashion illustrator Elyse Blackshaw, artist Chrissie Abbott, and others from Fashion Revolution’s global community.
Through 72 pages of illustration, poetry, playful games, personal stories, thoughtful features, practical actions and activities, Fashion Revolution hopes the fanzine will empower readers to think differently about clothing and to inspire change in the way people shop.
The fanzine kicks off by introducing the reader to some of the terminology associated with supply chains and workers rights, with an ‘A-Z of supply chain lingo’. By educating readers with a new vocabulary, they are better equipped to demand better working conditions for the people who make our clothes.
With photo essays and stories shining a spotlight on garment workers lives and wages, the fanzine reconnects us with the people behind the clothes we wear. Cutting-edge research from the GARMENT WORKER DIARIES, a yearlong project led by Microfinance Opportunities, introduces the reader to several garment workers in Cambodia, Bangladesh and India.
The vulnerabilities of the fashion supply chain are brought to life in a ‘snakes and ladders’ game. From farm and factory to the shop shelves, the reader understands some of the devastating challenges that are present in our supply chains, but also where improvements can be made.
The fanzine includes an interview with Ms Chandra Singh, a tailor at Creative Handicrafts in India, a supplier of fair trade fashion brand People Tree. Beautifully embroidered by Reena Makwana, Chandra’s story reveals how fair trade certification provides her with a safe, supportive working environment. By sharing these positive stories, we hope to inspire our readers to look for fair trade certified brands that empower producers.
Both overt and subversive, the fanzine reveals ways that people can shop in a way that makes a positive difference to producers’ lives, such as looking for the Fairtrade label, demanding accountability by asking #whomademyclothes, and using apps that make it easier to find ethical clothing.
The fanzine also makes it easy for people to push for policy changes that will improve working conditions and wages for producers. A postcard template allows people to send concrete demands to their local policymakers, while a pre-filled letter helps people contact brands directly to find out what they’re doing to ensure living wages are paid to producers.
Fashion Revolution believes that the key to catalysing consumer demand for ethical and sustainable fashion is through creative communications that present new narratives and visuals more relevant to today’s globalised audience.
MONEY FASHION POWER is available for free online, or you can order a printed copy while supplies last.