Who Made My Clothes image via People Tree
Today marks the tragic 2nd anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. 1,134 people died in the collapse, largely women and children, who were at the time hard at work in overcrowded and poor conditions making clothing for Western fast fashion retailers.
The issue of clothing is a difficult one and a disjointed one. In the West we don’t see sweatshops where women and children work long hours in poor conditions to make our clothes. We just see the £3 t-shirts in the shops and fill our baskets without thinking about how a £3 t-shirt can possibly be made for £3, and the actions that take place along the supply chain to make that £3 top. Rana Plaza, and other factories like it, are so far removed from home that we simply cannot imagine what it’s like for the workers of these factories or indeed who might be making our clothes.
In response to the Rana Plaza tragedy, and to help bridge this gap between the clothes in our shops and the people who make them, several ethical fashion advocates came together last year and created the first Fashion Revolution Day. This sought to remember the dead and injured, as well as demanding transparency from clothes manufacturers about “who made my clothes”.
I first shopped with People Tree back in 2005, and over the last 10 years it’s a site I’ve turned to time and time again when I want to buy something new that I can be sure of it’s ethical credentials. People Tree are so out and out proud of their ethical credentials that they’ve put together this “I Made Your Clothes” guide on the people that make the clothes for People Tree. This really helps to bridge that all important gap between the garment and the people that make the garments.
People Tree recently sent me their Juliette dress to model and it’s fast becoming one of my favourites. They clearly state on the website and on the label that it’s made of 100% organic cotton, and that it’s produced by CAOS; an enterprise based in South India which adheres to strict ethical standards.
One of my biggest hopes for the near future is that all retailers can be like People Tree and have such high levels of transparency when it comes to who makes your clothes. Wouldn’t it be amazing if one day we didn’t have differentiate particular clothes as being “ethical clothing”, and if all clothing was made ethically? If we didn’t have to keep asking retailers “who made my clothes”?
Who Made My Clothes?
The good news is you can be part of this change through Fashion Revolution Day. It’s really easy to take part through social media to help encourage retailers to have greater levels of accountability. Here’s what you can do today:
- Turn your item of clothing inside out to reveal the label
- Take a photo of yourself wearing the item inside out
- Upload the photo to the social media platform of your choice
- Tag the fashion brand you’re wearing and ask #WhoMadeMyClothes? to help demand greater accountability from the company in question and#FashRev. You can also tag 3 friends to join in on the fun and help spread the message further!
- Keep track of all the goings on via Fashion Revolution
Disclosure: People Tree sent me a dress to model but all words and opinions are my own.