This Fashion Revolution Week marks the seventh anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, in which 1,134 people were killed and thousands more injured, serving as yet another tragedy that shone a light on the appalling working conditions so many of our clothes are made in. Fast fashion has long been know as unfair and unsafe, yet transparency within its supply chains has remained a challenge.
Often it is the most vulnerable and the lowest paid in the fashion industry supply chain that feel the worst effects. Fashion Revolution has been campaigning since the disaster for a fairer system but as we enter a new decade 2020 has seen another seismic blow to the industry with the impact of COVID-19. Pandemic or not, the people create our clothes from designer, fabric producer and garment factory worker, through to the teams behind managing and distributing brands) depend upon the fashion industry. In the last few weeks we’re seen the devastating news of monumental orders being cancelled, layoffs and already unsafe working conditions now in an even worse position. Imagine this being your reality and then to be told you are either being laid off, or all the hard work you have done is no longer being purchased by the supplier? We know most of us would be asking, ‘Do we not get paid then? But we did the work?'
With the focus of Fashion Revolution Week firmly on keeping supply chains fair and transparent, it's our opportunity to speak up. As a store that prioritises the welfare of our brands and their supply chains through ethical production, we wanted to put our money where our mouth is and get sharing some of the differences that are possible if we choose to invest in small, local, fair and ethically monitored brands. We asked the most important question to some of our brands so you can get to know the faces behind the fashion we choose to stock. See behind the factory doors below and keep asking, who made my clothes?
One of our bestselling brands is also one of our most passionate about transparency. OhSevenDays was founded after Megan Mummery found a small area in Istanbul that sold the off-cuts of fabric left over from big fashion manufacturers. Usually doomed for landfill unless bought for reuse, she started up the brand to create something out of this 'waste' and her approach to ethical production has woven its way into all elements of the brand from seed to sewing.
All the OhSevenDays pieces that we stock are created in Istanbul with a team of four tailors who all hold multi-faceted roles within the production process. head tailor Tayyar Bütün has run his own factory for over 20 years and not only is talented, is now a firm friend of the brand - even being a witness at Megan's wedding! The team is valued and cared for, with Megan hoping that sharing the story of the OhSevenDays production allows us all to give some thought to the many people it took to create it.
When founder Signe Rødbro started Danish brand By Signe, she knew she wanted to stand for honest and sustainable fashion without compromise. With a huge empathy towards the people behind the fashion industry she set about producing a product that she could vouch for in full - covering every element of each piece's creation from design to fibres to care labels. By setting up her own production in-house, she wanted to prove that it is possible in today’s industry to combine design and handcraft ethically and sustainably correct to create an honest way of making fashion.
Before the collections reach us to then share with you all, Signe has already taken care of the process. This time last year she set up her own socially responsible atelier in Turkey called ‘Moon Tekstil’ and it's the first of its kind; an ethical- and socially responsible manufacturing facility in Turkey build on European principles, applying positive changes directly to the lives of the employees and honouring the handcraft of manufacturing in a safe and healthy environment. All fashion should look like this.
Thinking Mu have long been looking after fashion and the people that work within it. Taking care of every single step of the process of creating the clothes that then we stock and you style is part of the brand DNA, encouraging us all to think differently when it comes to the norms of the fashion industry. Starting at the seed, they only use fabric made from organic materials, ensuring that the farmers who produce the crops needed work and live on healthy lans, in healthy conditions and avoid all use of harmful chemicals and pesticides.
Late down the chain they keep their word. Knowing that safe conditions, fair living wages and long term relationships with the people that work in the factories they use equals happy workers. In the brand's own words? We are in this together.
When it comes to changing the face of fashion things are looking brighter. By supporting brands like these to help turn the tide in a normalised industry you are literally pushing for a better fashion future. Want to know more about some of our other brands or have some thoughts on where you'd like to see us show behind the scenes of next? Send us a DM on Instagram, live chat via our website or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.