Fashion Revolution Day: The backstory of your clothes

Fashion Revolution Day: The backstory of your clothes

April 24, 2015

Fashion Revolution Day is about increasing awareness around what and who is involved in the creation of the clothes we buy and wear on a daily basis. With a progressively transparent world and information spreading quicker than a heartbeat, we can no longer be in the dark about the origin of these products. Time to find out!

What's the fuss?

The lifecycle of the t-shirt you are wearing today has been passed through the hands of lots of people; from the very shop you bought it from all the way back to the cotton farmers in countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

"Consumers’ appetite for more and cheaper clothing combined with companies playing into this desire, has led to the exploitation of labour and natural resources."

So one simple thing to bear in mind next time you pay for an item, is that all these people involved need to live off a wage earned working on that piece of clothing.

Cheap fashion means "fast fashion", a trend that has resulted in over-consumption and a throw-away culture. Consumers’ appetite for more and cheaper clothing combined with companies playing into this desire, has led to the exploitation of labour and natural resources.

Now, if we were to shift our habits towards quality over quantity, we could end up with garments that will actually last, because garment workers have been given the time to work on it. According to Safia Minney in the “Ecologist Guide to Fashion”, paying an additional 80p per item on our end could mean a lift to the living wage for garment workers and potentially a budget for safer and healthier working conditions.

Get a quick insight into the topic with some "#FashRev" facts on Pinterest.

Why would little old me make a difference?

It looks more appealing to buy 4 cheaper items instead of 1 more expensive one with your hard-earned budget. Well, beware that 3 of them possibly won’t survive the week. And you might feel that the offer is there anyway; the clothes have already been produced and are calling to you from the shop displays.

"..don’t be afraid to show that you want to do the right thing."

A change in shopping or consumption habits is never too late. Even though it can feel like a daunting area to take a stance on without knowing all the facts, don’t be afraid to show that you want to do the right thing. Each step forward counts and by no means is this an ‘all or nothing’ type of subject.

A complete boycott of high street brands isn’t the answer as it might result in the loss of jobs of those who need it the most. Though, you can make more informed decisions and be part of the consumer pressure resulting in a positive impact on the fashion industry.

Should I just buy the most expensive then? 

Don't be led by just the price of items. More expensive doesn't necessarily mean produced in better working conditions. But be aware that when you buy an item at a suspiciously low price, you're more likely to care less about it and, considering the small investment, will be tempted to quickly throw it out. 

That's what encourages the trend of "fast fashion", resulting in more pressure put on those creating and manufacturing the materials and products to meet the high demand from the customers. Awareness and informed decision making comes from looking inside the brand and the garments. 

So what can I do today?

On this very day, you can show your engagement by checking the label in your garment and asking brands on social media using the hashtag #whomademyclothes. Effortless.

Keep reading about it and challenge yourself to find out more. One of the books I’ve found useful was the “Ecologist Guide to Fashion”. Whilst revealing some shocking truths, it also addresses positive changes and inspires new ideas and initiatives. If you’re interested in fashion, show it by looking into the backstory.

Don’t just throw your stuff out. See if you can’t find another use for it at your own home or at a charity shop. Besides, we all know trends run in circles; so reuse and recycle.

Next time you walk into a shop, think if you know anything about their methods and practices. When shopping online, check for environmental policies and keep an eye open for brands that carry the Fair Wear Foundation label. The FWF works towards improving labour conditions for textile and garment workers by implementing the eight standards of the Code of Labour Practices.

Fair Wear Garment Label

You can also check how sustainable, eco-friendly and fair trade a brand is on Be inspired or surprised.

What about Glower?

Glower printed neck label hand printed in UK

As a start-up brand, we continuously learn about the production process and everyone involved. We try to ask the questions and set our aims high. Where possible, we choose to print on sustainable fabrics, such as organic cotton, modal and tencel. Organic cotton improves soil fertility and biodiversity thanks to crop rotations and is grown without chemicals. Tencel is 100% biodegradable and produced from wood pulp sustainably grown on farms. Some of our garments are also made of 100% recycled cotton and polyester. You can always just ask us questions and we'll be happy to answer. 

However, this post is not about beating our own drum. It’s about sharing what we learn along the way and spreading awareness. Glower was started to do something that we like and enjoy, not about looking to become millionaires whilst throwing all our beliefs and ethical standards out of the window.

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