Before explaining what Fashion Revolution Week is, it’s important to note what fast fashion is and why it is so harmful. Fast fashion is clothing produced at high speed to meet the demands of customers. The items are usually sampled from celebrity culture or fashion shows which results in short-term fashion trends.
Due to the nature of the fast fashion industry, our environment is negatively impacted. In an attempt to produce the items as quickly as possible and as cheap as possible, brands often use materials which are known to be harmful to the environment. For example, a popular material used is polyester. This is particularly harmful as it a) derives from fossil fuels and b) sheds microfibres (plastics) into the ocean. Producing these products is also harmful to the environment – the industry itself emits 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 each year.
As well as environmental issues, there are also social implications. Within the factories that make these products are overworked and underpaid garment workers; most of which are women and ethnic minorities. According to the Fashion Revolution Impact Report 2019, being a part of the garment industry puts workers at high risk for modern day slavery, with garments being the second highest at-risk product. Many of the female workers are also experiencing gender-based violence from managers for not producing products at an unrealistically fast pace. This often goes unnoticed by consumers as the workers stay quiet in fear of losing their jobs, despite the offensively low pay.
So, what is Fashion Revolution week?
Fashion Revolution Week is an annual campaign across seven days which spreads awareness of the challenges that come along with the fast fashion industry. Since the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, there has been a shift within the fast fashion industry. Following the incident in 2013, the Rana Plaza Strategy was set up to bring awareness to the social and environmental impacts caused by the fast fashion industry. Fashion Revolution Week is an important development of the strategy and aims to continue to bring awareness to the dangers of the industry. Not only does the campaign create awareness, but it also aims to eradicate the issues and to create a sustainable fashion industry.
How can you help the movement?
There are so many cheap and easy ways to help the cause and reduce these social and environmental implications. Examples include:
- Selling and buying clothes on applications such as Vinted (my personal favourite), Depop, Facebook Market Place, Ebay etc.
- Buy from local charity shops – these are easily accessible and can be found in most towns/cities.
- Buy from independent and sustainable businesses rather than clothing companies.
- Upcycle current clothing rather than throwing it away.
- Buy more eco-friendly clothing.
Written by Sadie Tivey
Fashion Revolution. (2019). Fashion Revolution Impact Report 2019. Available at: https://issuu.com/fashionrevolution/docs/fashionrevolution_impactreport_2019_highres
Fashion Revolution. (2023). Fashion Revolution Week 22nd – 29th April 2023. Available at: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/frw-2023/
Good On You. (2022). What Is Fast Fashion and Why Is It So Bad? Available at: https://goodonyou.eco/what-is-fast-fashion/
Yousefi, Y. (2020). Environmental and Social Impacts of Fast Fashion. Available at: https://sdwatch.eu/2020/02/environmental-and-social-impacts-of-fast-fashion/