It's Fashion Revolution Week and yesterday was the 5th anniversary of the Bangladesh garment industry tragedy that was heard around the world. The anniversary marks an important call for change.
No other tragic event has touched Canadian clothing consumers as deeply as the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. That's when an eight-story garment factory collapsed, killing and injuring thousands of garment workers.
Despite obvious cracks found in the factory's structure, garment workers had been ordered back to work just before the dangerous workspace came tumbling down on the morning of April 24, 2013.
Canadians by the hundreds of thousands suddenly woke up to the horrible realities of fast fashion ... those ever-popular, cheaper-than-cheap, throw away garments from T-shirts to dresses to suits that are unwittingly hurting countless people around the world.
Boycotts of many different retailers were organized across the globe and change was demanded, including by Canadian consumers shocked by the disaster and their own unwitting role in it. By buying the popular throwaway clothing, Canadians had naively contributed to the dark circumstances of Bangladesh's garment workers.
So what's a consumer to do? No one wants to contribute to the poverty, unsustainability and poor working conditions of others. But consumers do have options. We can take the time to understand where our clothes come from; to ask who made them and to care whether that person is making a living wage for their efforts.
This year and every year, we stand with garment workers around the world and their fight for safe working conditions, sustainable practices and appropriate pay. The Fashion Revolution movement has called on consumers in more than 90 countries to honour the anniversary annually by focusing on garment industry reform and greater transparency in the fashion supply chain.
On the anniversary and on every other day, let's ask the questions that need to be asked and call on fashion brands to tell us "Who Made My Clothes?" Let's ask them because the answers really matter.
Just use the hashtag #whomademyclothes on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social outlets to tell your favourite brands that you care about garment workers and sustainable practices more than you care for cheaper-than-cheap pricing.
You can also speak to the employees and managers of the fashion stores you frequent to get the information you need.
Above: Designer Chloe Angus in her Vancouver-based local, sustainable and fair-pay fashion Studio.
And you can come to our Open Studio event this Thursday evening and all day on Friday and Saturday.
Along with a Spring celebration of warmer weather fashions, you'll enjoy a behind the scenes look at our local, sustainable and fair-pay fashion house and know exactly who made your clothes!
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