ethical fashion: join the fashion revolution

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remembering rana plaza

today we commemorate the 1,134 garment workers who lost their lives on april 24, 2013 when the rana plaza factory in bangladesh collapsed. thousands more were maimed + injured. nervous workers had stepped out on this day after cracks in the building were detected, but they were ordered back into the building by management despite structural neglect of the building + safety hazards. why? for the production of low cost clothing: to meet the demand for fast fashion.

here's what you can do to become a part of the solution

today, workers still toil long hours in unsafe working conditions around the world to make clothes, shoes + accessories. put your activism pants on + let the world know you will be a voice for those who can’t be heard. here are six simple steps to join the fashion revolution:

1. take a pic

take a picture of yourself wearing one of your favorite items of clothing turned inside out, with the label in full view. hop on social media and post the pic asking fashion labels "who made my clothes?" use hashtags #whomademyclothes #transparency #livingwage #fashionrevolution #peopleoverprofits

2. abstain

an important way to contribute involves what not to do. over consumption feeds the demand for apparel manufacture, with shoe + clothing companies racing to meet customer demand and forcing factory workers to labor for long hours in dangerous conditions to meet production deadlines. so this, my friends, is the moment to embrace quality over quantity. remember: loved clothes last. shop less + shop your own closet.

3. act

beyond conscious consumerism, learn how to engage decision makers by calling representatives and sending emails to government officials. fashion revolution encourages us to take immediate action in the political sphere + to become active citizens in the campaign towards policy + legislative change. 

become more politically involved by thinking beyond ethical purchases. to contact your government leaders in the u.s.a., simply enter your zip code here for state rep’s or here for state senators, then click on the “contact” page and write from your heart.

4. ask

one of my fave clean fashion advocates is livia firth. livia has an informative instagram account, and she + her staff answer questions about the world of sustainable living + ethical fashion to help you on your journey to greener, kinder living. to learn more, follow slave to fashion by safia minney, a pioneer in fair trade fashion + labor rights activist; labour behind the label, an organization that campaigns for workers’ rights in the clothing industry; and clean clothes campaign, a global alliance dedicated to improving working conditions + empowering garment factory workers.

5. read

the most seminal book i've read since embarking on this sustainable living + ethical fashion journey is to die for: is fashion wearing out the world? by journalist, environmentalist + slow fashion activist lucy siegle. each chapter changed the way i think about my consumer habits and how i choose to spend my money, time + energy. knowledge is the start to making thoughtful decisions as an active citizen.

elizabeth cline is the author of overdressed: the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion. this is an engrossing + edifying read, and she just published her second book, the conscious closet, which you can pre-order now.

6. research

remember to look for fair trade labels to ensure decent working conditions + fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. if you can't find a label, be sure to ask a manager or customer service representative. when you walk into a restaurant, you are able to ask about the ingredients in your menu offering. in the same way, you should be able to walk into a shop {or browse online} and find out more about the clothes you may invest your money in. if a retailer doesn't respond to my email inquiries, then i shop at those companies where transparency is a part of their mission.

7. watch

each year, i recommend the documentary true cost by director andrew morgan. this film is about “the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the fashion industry is having on our world.” this movie introduces the hearts + hands that stitch our clothes, and it will forever change the way you think about your purchases as a citizen.

learn more about the families + brave survivors of the rana plaza disaster. financial donations to fashion revolution can be made here to continue the work of disseminating information + spreading awareness. your voice matters. policy makers + fast fashion companies must know that low wages, environmental degradation, unsafe working conditions + factory disasters are unacceptable in the work places where fast fashion companies offshore the manufacturing of their products. demand transparency + let your voice be heard.

{image via fashion revolution}

{fashion revolution} take action: ask "who made my clothes?"

today marks the beginning of fashion revolution week, which brings people together from all over the world to use the power of fashion to change the story for the 75 million garment workers who toil in the apparel industry every day in perilous + unsafe working conditions

Fashion revolution is a movement towards transparency, ethics and sustainability in the world of fast fashion.

fashion revolution seeks to inspire people to think differently about the clothes they buy + wear. they ask citizens + consumers to explore the cause + effect relationship between our purchasing habits and the lives of those who make our clothes. fashion revolution encourages each of us to use our money and our voices to transform the fashion industry into a force for good. 

today we commemorate the 1,134 workers who lost their lives when a garment factory in bangladesh collapsed. thousands more were injured. nervous workers had stepped out on this day after cracks in the building were detected, but were ordered back into the building by management. why? for the production of low cost clothing.

here's what you can do to become a part of the solution

put your activism pants on + let the world know you will be a voice for those who cannot speak. here are six simple steps:

1. take a pic

take a picture of yourself wearing one of your favorite items of clothing turned inside out, with the label in full view. hop on social media and post the pic asking fashion labels "who made my clothes?"

2. abstain

an important way to contribute involves what not to do. over consumption feeds the demand for apparel manufacture, with shoe + clothing companies racing to meet customer demand and forcing factory workers to labor for long hours in dangerous conditions to meet production deadlines. so this, my friends, is the moment to embrace quality over quantity. shop less + shop your own closet.

3. act

beyond conscious consumerism, learn how to engage decision makers by calling representatives and sending emails to government officials. this provocative + clear-eyed article by alden wicker of eco cult urges us to take immediate action in the political sphere + to become active citizens in the campaign towards policy + legislative change. 

become more politically involved by thinking beyond ethical purchases.

4. ask

one of my fave eco heroes + clean fashion advocates is kate black. kate has a column on her blog magnifeco "ask kate" in which you can send questions about the world of sustainable style + ethical fashion. she provides honest + practical advice for compassionate living.

5. read

the most seminal book i've read since embarking on this sustainable living + ethical fashion journey is to die for: is fashion wearing out the world? by journalist, environmentalist + slow fashion activist lucy siegle. each chapter changed the way i think about my consumer habits and how i choose to spend my money, time + energy. knowledge is the start to making thoughtful decisions as an active citizen.

6. research

remember to look for fair trade labels to ensure decent working conditions + fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. if you can't find a label, be sure to ask a manager or customer service representative. when you walk into a restaurant, you are able to ask about the ingredients in your menu offering. in the same way, you should be able to walk into a shop {or browse online} and find out more about the clothes you may invest your money in. if a retailer doesn't respond to my email inquiries, then i shop at those companies where transparency is a part of their mission.

learn more about the families + brave survivors of the rana plaza disaster. financial donations to fashion revolution can be made here to continue the work of disseminating information + spreading awareness.

{artwork by ev / image via fashion revolution}

{eco boutique} trunk collective: 3 questions to ask to shop consciously

what exactly does it mean to shop consciously + live mindfully? to build an ethical wardrobe you're looking for a design-led piece {of course you have to love the way it looks + feels} but you're also seeking transparency in the supply chain, so as a consumer you're asking important questions. here, the folks at trunk collective, a unique online boutique offering eco wares for you + your home, break it down for us:

there are many hands that touch our clothes before they reach the racks we peruse, finally choosing an item based on style, color, fit, fabric + price. the frock or handbag you decide upon first starts as a fiber grown by a farmer {synthetics are sourced differently, stay tuned for a post on eco textiles that i've been working away on; i promise to make the world of sustainable fabrics less snoozy and more shopper friendly}; these fibers are then spun, treated with finishes, processed, embellished, printed, dyed, cut + sewn. 

the questions we need to ask as consumers + citizens are less about whether a top is the right shade of blue or the best budget price, but more about whether it is made with respect to worker rights, animal rights + environmental practices. workers in the fashion industry often face abuses such as poverty wages, gender-based violence + reprisals for speaking up to improve substandard conditions

while the triangle shirtwaist factory of 1911 in new york inspired labor law reforms in the united states, the majority of clothes today are manufactured in developing countries in workplaces lacking adequate safety oversight for workers or regulations to protect the environment.

the solution? use your voice to be heard. ask questions. 

from our friends at trunk collective:

trunk collective was created on the simple belief that we can do better. 

in traveling to places that have literally taken our breath away, opening our eyes to the beauty of the environment also meant seeing just how much waste and environmental damage has been created by fast-fashion and every-day products. we began to ask ourselves some very important questions:  

who :: who is making our products? 

where :: where do they come from? 

how :: how are materials sourced? 

beyond asking questions, we are intent on challenging our own purchasing decisions, community contribution and moral compass. 

we are all agents of change through the brands and companies we support. by choosing fair trade, sustainably sourced and ethical brands, we are changing the world of tomorrow. 

we invite you to our collective space where we feature brands we not only love, but believe in, while sharing tips and insights on leading a more sustainable, conscious lifestyle everyday. 

every quarter, trunk collective will be choosing a new charity partner focused on environmental and wildlife conservation and 7% of all sales will be donated. 

don't be shy about asking the managers or sales staff at your favorite retailers, "who made my clothes?" this simple question helps shed light on the growing movement of citizens who are actively seeking out information + making buying decisions based on this information, or lack of. the smart + stylish set, that's you, believe compassion + fashion go hand in hand.

head on over for some serious transparency, timeless, minimalist pieces + some beauties for your home.

until next time, stay green, dear hearts!

{pippin's picks: above fold over clutch by urban grey whale + bottom clockwise: yvonne long bar earrings by starfish project // repurposed industrial plastic billy cross body clutch by medusa // nontoxic + cruelty-free nail polish by gloss // handmade scarf by sasa designs by the deaf // images via trunk collective}