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Talking about a revolution

Ever wondered who is making your wedding dress? Or whether the clothes you buy really do come from an ethical source? It’s Fashion Revolution week and who better than our resident style bigger, Mette to talk us through just what exactly this campaign is fighting for. And the little steps we can all take, to help…

#WhoMadeMyClothes

The Fashion Revolution is a global movement, it happens at the end of April yearly, and has done since 2013. It started after Rana Plaza, a factory in Bangladesh collapsed and killed 1,138 people working in sweatshops to produce clothes for the western world. The victims were mostly young women.

Following the accident, many western companies signed up for improved conditions but things are happening very, very slowly, and perhaps it’s time you take part in this quiet Fashion Revolution.

Fashion is probably something you think about quite a bit… what to wear at your wedding, your friend’s wedding, what kind of capsule wardrobe pieces to take on holiday, hen-night, date-weekend, and those awkward events you get an invitation to when you don’t quite know how posh or relaxed an affair it is going to be.

But there is another side to fashion many people fail to notice or appreciate. Much of the global fashion industry exploits people working in the industry and exhausts the environment with demands for production and waste.

A century ago we spent half of our disposable income on clothes, today we only spend about a 5th and not only that, we now purchase 400% more clothes than we did only 20 years ago. The average American ditches 36kg of clothes a year, by far most of them to landfills.

#WhoMadeMyWeddingDress

So when it comes to your wedding dress, it traditionally has been the garment you spend the most on in your life. And I, obviously, am biased to my work, but I also love the trend of doing alternative wedding outfits.

I would like to ask you how would you feel if, after your wedding, you found that the dress you had had such a wonderful time wearing was made with child labour? Or extremely bad working conditions for the (mostly females) working in the industry?

The wedding industry products are very laborious, so the potential savings are massive for the producers if they move the production to areas where labour is paid very little and workers have no rights and severely bad working conditions.

It is time we see a dramatic change to our approach to fashion. The Fashion Revolution is all about Fashion, but fashion that is produced in a fairer, cleaner, safer environment, where workers are paid a reasonable living wage.

Take action

So, what more can you do? Well, first of all, you can consider if you really need what you want to buy. If we bought better quality and nice designs that didn’t date and would last, we could do with much less and would have much better clothes.

You could ask, “How was this produced?”, “Who made this?”.

Perhaps your friends have nice clothes, and you can swap and share expensive items like evening dresses, which don’t get worn very often. Perhaps you can restyle, or recycle, upcycle and do swap parties.

Perhaps you can write a letter or send messages on social media, asking your favourite brands to tell you who made your clothes?

If you go to the fashion revolution website, you can find lots more ideas about what you can do, it really starts with you.

After the Rana Plaza disaster, many of the big labels came together to improve conditions, but the truth is that far more still needs to be done. So now is time for you to take charge, if we all take little baby steps, we will get a better world. Shop and buy local, and ask when you shop #WhoMadeMyClothes.

Join the revolution here.

Huge thanks to Mette for sharing this campaign with us – we’d love to hear if you will be getting involved. Christina x

Originally hailing from Denmark but having now made Edinburgh her home (it was love at first sight!), multi award-winning designer dressmaker Mette Baillie is the incredible talent behind Freja Designer Dressmaking.