Fashion Revolution Day 1: The Cost of Fast Fashion

Hey, it’s been a while. During the break I took from this blog, I’ve spent most of my time expressing myself through movement. Words don’t seem to satisfy and comfort me the way they used to, which is something I never thought I would say. However, I’ve made a potentially disastrous decision to dive into a project for the next four weeks, which is the reason I’m forcing myself to revive this silly old blog. I say it’s potentially disastrous for two reasons: 1. Do I even know how to find my voice again to do that blogging thing? You know, that “let’s discuss serious issues but put a few Beyoncé jokes and funny gifs in there to make it relatable” thing? And 2. I don’t have nearly enough time to commit to this project and being the unprepared emotional mess that I am, this is probably going to result in a major stress fest. But hey, that’s for me to worry about, YOU have other things to worry about. Specifically, the Serious Issues™ I’m going to rant about today.

About two years ago, I wrote a post inspired by my mom’s fashion and my recent discoveries about the horrors of the fast fashion industry. This was around the time when I first learned about the Fashion Revolution and had made my spontaneous decision to ditch the brands I used to love and shift towards more sustainable shopping. Fast forward a couple years and here I am, back to talk about this stuff as passionately as ever.

On April 24th, 2013, a structural failure caused a building in Bangladesh housing several garment factories to collapse. This incident, known as the Rana Plaza collapse, caused the death of 1,134 people and injured another 2,500 individuals. These factories were owned by mainstream clothing brands, the ones we see at the mall and in cheesy ads on TV. I have grown up in a time where “Made in (insert the name of a developing nation)” is what I expect to see on a clothing tag. Our society, including those who didn’t even grow up with it, have gotten so used to this, that they fail to see what’s actually occurring.

“Made in (insert the name of a developing nation)” does not mean your clothes are “exotic.” It almost always means it was made by underpaid workers, often women, working in dangerous sweatshop conditions. Accidents like the Rana Plaza collapse are not uncommon in the fast fashion industry, as crucial regulations are not put in place and safety concerns are ignored. It is easy to go about our daily privileged lives and ignore these issues that seem so far away from us. It’s time that we open our eyes and recognize how we contribute to these issues and more importantly, how we can spark a change to make sure brands are held accountable for their actions.

The Fashion Revolution is a non-profit organization based in the UK that aims to spread awareness about the true cost of fast fashion. Each year on April 24th, the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, people who have joined the global movement to change the unethical practices of mainstream clothing brands, participate in Fashion Revolution Day. On this day, people are encouraged to share selfies on social media wearing their clothes with the tag showing to ask their favourite brands the big question: Who made my clothes? This encourages brands to be more transparent about their practices. Disturbingly, information gathered by Fashion Revolution shows that many brands don’t even keep track of their supply chain. Brands need to become aware of who makes their clothes and the conditions of their working environments, and they need be honest with the public about this information.

Aside from the social impact of fast fashion, the industry is also detrimental to the environment. People are buying cheap, low quality clothes to be trendy, which end up in the garbage as soon as they’re out of style. Producing such large amounts of clothing at such a fast rate also dramatically increases water and carbon footprints. It is not only garment workers paying for the price of fast fashion, but the whole world.

If hearing about all of this scares you as much as it scares me, I encourage you to be curious and to keep asking the big questions. Don’t turn a blind eye and settle for what is considered normal and expected. Because there should be nothing “normal” about an industry that destroys our planet and costs the lives of innocent people.

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