"Do you know where your blazer was made?" questioned Andrew Olah, founder of boutique denim trade fair Kingpins at the latest edition in Amsterdam. "The label on the inside only identifies only the country where it was made and how to wash it, but there is nothing about who made it. Don't you think that's terrible?" In this digital age of innovative, Olah is not alone in his opinion that it is time to make a change within the fashion industry.
The Fashion Revolution, a global coalition of designers, academics, writers, business leaders and parliamentarians have made April 24th, the anniversary of the deadliest garment factory accident in the history of the industry, the day for all consumers to stand together for a systemic reform of the fashion supply chain.
Consumers encouraged to ask retailers Who Made My Clothes?
Last year, on the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, British co-founders Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro launched 'the Fashion Revolution Day' with the social media campaign #WhoMadeMyClothes, which called on people around the world to share photographs featuring their clothing labels. The digital campaign was designed to call for more transparency in the fashion industry by encouraging consumers to ask retailers where their clothing is made and by whom.
The first Fashion Revolution Day saw tens thousands of people participating from over 60 countries and this year the coalition aims to grow bigger with 71 countries joining as well as the launch of a new initiative, which aims to promote transparency within fashion supply chains, named Trace My Fashion. The new project aims to track and document the changes which are occurring within the industry to help bring around a more substantial improvement in the ready-made-garment (RMG) sector of Bangladesh, whilst investing in the future.
"Our initial aim is to get the factories and brands to open up to us," writes Nawshin Khair, Fashion Revolution country coordinator for Bangladesh. "It has been two years since the tragic Rana Plaza incident took place. The incident has been a wake up call for the sector and in these two years we have seen a complete transformation of the Bangladesh Apparel Industry."
Trave My Fashion asks brands to be transparent with supply chains
Today the newly launched platform will share projects created in partnership with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT). #TraceMyFashion is an interactive experience, created with fashion and management students at BUFT, which encourages visitors to scan QR Codes to learn more about the ethical practices of case study companies such as Living Blue, Beximco Textiles and Desh Garments.
"The praise of reformation comes directly from the international experts like the International Labour Organization, the Accord, and Alliance who have been looking into the inspection of factories. Bangladesh RMG sector and BGMEA has amended labour laws; initiated relevant trainings, and with the help of Bangladesh Government, have compensated the victims of Rana Plaza, and rehabilitated the injured workers and their families. We encourage the commitment of the brands to provide support through these changes."
The ultimate goal of the new initiative is to add the certificates of audit firms such as the Accord and Alliance to the case companies featured online to gradually bring around an even higher standard for all RMG garment workers using ethical practices within the companies standards. "Since the movement has begun, change is inevitable," adds Khair.