Search This Blog

Sunday 19 April 2020

What is Fashion Revolution Week All About?

What Is Fashion Revolution and Fashion Revolution Week?

Fashion Revolution Week runs every year in the week surrounding the 24th April.

For most people the 24th April does not signify anything major but this date is the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse, a catastrophic tragedy which really brought the reality of the lack of rights and transparency in the fashion industry to the forefront of many peoples eyes and minds. Rana Plaza, a building in Bangladesh, housed a number of garment factories, employing around 5,000 people. Those working there were producing clothes for many of the biggest global brands.

The building collapse saw over 1,100 people loose their life and another 2,500 people were injured making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in our history. The victims were predominantly women.

The most heartbreaking part of the tragedy was that the loss of life was preventable. In the aftermath, survivors came forward and publically explained  how all the employees knew the building was hazardous and showing cracks in the days leading up to the collapse. Multiple workers told their supervisors that they were afraid to enter the building but were forced to continue working or were threatened with loosing their jobs. The retails shops and banks on the ground floor shut down their operations due to building safety concerns, but the demand of global brands and an insatiable fashion industry called garment workers back inside to meet the never ending deadlines. The factories remained open and sadly many of  these workers who made our clothes lost their life as a result.

The truth of the situation was that many of the clothes made during this period of fear before the building collapse actually happened were packed in boxes and shipped to brands and retailers around the world and many of us bought and wore these garments stitched together in tragedy. One thing to be very aware of though, is that the culpable brands weren’t limited to ‘fast-fashion’, but included mid-price retailers. The attribute that unified all of the brands wasn’t the low price, but lack of transparency within their supply change .

Fashion Revolution as a movement was born because of the disaster. To raise the voices of those who are suffering and to change the way we look at the industry to prevent something like this ever happening again.

You can find out more about Fashion Revolution Week on the Fashion Revolution Activist Guide

What are the conditions actually like in the Fashion Industry?

The fashion industries supply chains are complex and global. Our clothes pass through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, sewers and many more before they reach the shops where we come into contact with them (whether that is virtually or physically) and it is unknown how many people work within the industry as a result and child, trafficked and forced labour is something that is sadly rife.

77% of UK retailers believe there is a likelihood of modern slavery in their supply chain

Of the estimated 300 million people who work in the clothing industry, only around 25 to 60 million people are directly employed according to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and most of those employed in the paid work are young women. With nearly 1 in 3 (or 8 in 10 from a more recent poll) female garment workers having experienced sexual harassment in the past 12 months, a statistic which should shock us all, the fashion industries contribution to gender inequality should be clear. Sadly though, harassment isn’t the only aspect their work garment workers have to fear. Fashion Revolution's website states "The Garment Worker Diaries project has found that less than half of the workers in their Bangladesh sample felt safe in their factories and 40% reported seeing a fire in their workplace." Demonstrating that those working in the factories are still regularly put at risk!

Over 90% of workers in the global garment industry have no possibility to negotiate their wages or conditions.

For the low pay, often below living wages in the countries where they work, garment workers are still exposed to so many risks that they shouldn't have to face and yet unable to demand better. Even recently their has been battles around unionisation.

How to get involved in Fashion Revolution Week 2020?

This year, Fashion Revolution Week is having to be a little different due to the current lock down climate. That doesn't mean that there aren't lots of things to get involved with though, it can just take a little longer to find out what's happening.

There are some simple things that we can all do though.

1. #WhoMadeMyClothes - On any social media platform you can join in to ask brands #WhoMadeMyClothes? and #WhatsInMyClothes? Be sure to tag them, as although only a few may respond, demonstrating the need for more transparent supply chains for fashion.

2. Email specific brands to ask #WhoMadeMyClothes? and #WhatsInMyClothes? using this email template. If you want to go further, be sure to ask questions on issues that really matter to you. For me that's biodiversity and sustainability. Fashion Revolution created a list of brands email address which makes it very easy to reach out.

3. Join in some online events. Fashion Revolution have pulled together lots of events online which vary from educational talks to panel discussions. Just a few which I think sound fantastic are below but there are SO many more:

20 April

13.00 Virtual Conversation With Kirsten Scott & Nina Van Volkinburg.

Kirsten Scott interviewed by Nina Von Volkinburg on the future relevance of heritage knowledge, materials and techniques in formulating a new, alternative paradigm of luxury fashion that aims to be pro-actively positive for people and planet.

14.00 Making Clothes Without Making Waste

Learn the basic principles of making a simple zero waste shirt, using scaled paper patterns. 30m Q&A with Holly McQuillan + Cassandra Macindoe.

18.00 Meet the Innovators – Fashion for Good

learn more about the start-ups at the cutting edge of sustainable fashion innovation. More information can be found on the Fashion Revolution website.

21 April

16.00 Fashion Supply Chains: What's Next?

How is Covid-19 impacting the fashion supply chain? This virtual panel discussion, sponsored by Sustainability at GSA, will explore how each stage of the business model is shifting, and focus on positive actions to make much-needed changes post-crisis.

19.30 A practical Guide to Ethical Trade

Natasha Staddon from TOC will show you how to maximise your potential to positively impact working conditions in your business and supply chain, learning the foundations of ethical compliance guiding you to online resources to support you on your journey. 

22 April

12.00 Live Q&A with Bethany Williams 

British fashion designer Bethany Williams joins us for a live stream Q&A on Earth Day to discuss her innovative and inclusive creative practice. 

13.00 Heritage & Style Talk with Alice Wilby

Alice Wilby is a stylist, creative and activist in fashion.
She has been working closely with Fashion Revolution over the years.
A woman on the frontline of fashion politics and she recently panelled at Show Studio and spoken at Conde Nast about her consultancy called "A Novel Approach " which integrates sustainable practices in fashion.

22.00 Natural Dye Workshop: Dyeing w/ Kitchen Compost with An 

Late on due to the time difference with America. the workshop will cover the fundamentals of natural dyeing with a focus on kitchen compost as the primary source for colour. A demonstration walking through the steps of prepping fabric, extracting dye from avocado skins, pits, and onion skins, and a Q&A will close out the session.

23 April

14.00 Shaping Fashion: What’s in my Clothes Webinar

five industry experts come together to discuss what clothes are made of.
- Carry Somers - Founder & Global Operations Director at Fashion Revolution
- Morten Lehmann - Chief Sustainability Officer at Global Fashion Agenda
- Sandra Capponi - Founder of Good on You
- Mariana Anacleto & Kyra Vennings - Part of 'Dirty Laundry' student collective at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute

18.30 Sustainable Fashion in the Wake of a Global Pandemic

A panel of small fashion business owners will discuss the state of sustainable fashion in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

18.30 Manifesto for a Fashion Revolution

After Coronavirus, what kind of world do we want to return to? With this opportunity to reset our priorities, what do we want fashion to look like?

24 April

11.00 Mass consumption: The end of an era

Fashion Revolution is to stage a digital version of its annual Fashion Question Time event because of the current measures in place to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic

15.00 Craftivism – Collective Action in the Making

We will discuss the power of doing craft during these uncertain times and discuss some ideas of craftivism projects you can do at home.

25 April

11.00 Deconstructing Fast Fashion

This online workshop we will unpick an unwanted or damaged garment from our own wardrobes, so please bring an unpicker or small scissors and a garment.

15.50 Fashion Open Studio X Somerset House

Bethany Williams explains how to disrupt the system and make new business models with a social purpose.

All Week Tickets 

Ethical Brands for Fashion Revolution - £15 for week pass

The event showcases brands doing good through ethical practices, sustainable sourcing and circular production practices. Running from 20th to 26th April 2020, we have 7 days of virtual talks, workshops and virtual tours. The event will cover Why?, What? and How? we can all take action for the biggest movement that has no plans on stopping due to coronavirus.

So there we have it. I hope this guide proves useful and that you can understand why Fashion Revolution Week is so important!



  1. So much info and so many resources! Thank you for getting involved this week <3

    The Quirky Environmentalist

  2. Super informative, love the rundown of all this week's events! xx
    El //

    1. I'm just amazed how many things people have been able to organise! It's fantastic!