Mini-fashion statements raise awareness for fashion ethics during London Fashion Week

With London Fashion Week well underway, the capital city is filled with fashion aficionados vying for a front-row seat to Tommy Hilfiger’s ‘See Now, Buy Show’ catwalk show, backstage passes to Hill & Friends presentation while squeezing in some very important last minute shopping in between rushing to shows. But those who make a purchase during the bi-annual fashion week may find themselves face to face with the darker side of fashion by the means of a handcrafted note.

Craftivist Collective, a group of gentle activists, aims to highlight the numerous issues the British fashion industry faces by hiding handwritten messages for consumers to find in high street fashion stores around LFW base near Somerset House. Also known as “shop-dropping”, this form of non-confrontational protests sees members of the collective writing out fashion statements which encourage shoppers to think more deeply about how and where their clothing is made and hiding them in the pockets of clothing for sale.

“The shops have no idea we’re doing it at all, but I can’t imagine they’d be happy if they knew,” said Sarah Corbett, the founder of Craftivist Collective, to The Guardian. “We’re targeting fast fashion shops that put profit over people and the planet, so I don’t think they’d be keen on us encouraging their customers to ask questions about how their clothes were made.” The messages are written out by hand onto miniature scrolls which are tied with a ribbon and read phrases such as “Please open me” on the outside to encourage shoppers to open them.

“We want people to discover the scrolls later on so that it’s intriguing. We hope that it might create genuine curiosity about how their clothes have been made,” she added. Corbett has been organizing workshops on how to make these fashion statements for the past three years, as she aims to ensure the fashion industry is beautiful inside and out. The Craftivist Collective first began “shop-dropping” during fashion back in Stockholm in 2014, after teaming up with Fashion Revolution, a global organization raising awareness for garment worker exploitation following the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster.

Photo: Courtesy of Craftivisit Collective