24th April marks Fashion Revolution Day. On 24th April 2013, 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza complex, which housed several garment factories, collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was the biggest disaster in the history of the garment industry. Since then, each year on the 24th, consumers have used social media to call out brands and companies on who exactly made their clothes.
Ethical fashion has been on trend recently but what does it really mean? For us, it means taking responsibility for how our clothing is made as well as using our brand to support causes that matter. We want to be as transparent as possible with our manufacturing processes and our philanthropic efforts in India. Over the next few weeks we will be showcasing our factory workers, who are based in Yorkshire. As consumers, we’re so far removed from production line, so Shaleena and I decided we’d put some faces to our garments.
Tony, the cutter, at our Yorkshire factory
As startup owners, we’re in full control of where our sportswear is made but when it comes to our day to day shopping, we’re just like the rest of you. We’re definitely guilty of turning a blind eye on how our everyday essentials are made. So often the excitement of a new product drowns out the reality of the manufacturing process and we choose to ignore, for our own peace of mind, the reality of the situation. Slick marketing and beautiful packaging cloud our better judgement. We know we own things that were made in sub-par conditions but we don’t lose sleep over it – how can we change this apathetic attitude?
With so much choice, consumers hold all the power and we need to wield this responsibly. The unfortunate fact is that most people are unaware of the origin of their clothing, so it doesn’t play a role in their consumer decisions. Fashion Revolution Day is all about increasing transparency on these issues. As a small company, it’s easier to disclose this information but the main message we want to convey is that products made in a safe environment should not be a luxury, but the norm.
Our next campaign is called ‘Socially conscious but not self-conscious’. We hope this sparks conversations about ethical manufacturing processes, social enterprises and brands with purpose.