Well, hello again! Four weeks into the new year, I make an appearance on the blog. I had a great Christmas break, during which I also became a proud auntie for the first time, so some quality family time was top of the list. I did, however, also find the time for some new year resolutions. You know, being more active, stop procrastinating, travel lots… the usual. There is one area, though, where I feel I don’t need to make any promises, because I’m already maintaining them: the care of my wardrobe and the slowing down of my shopping habits. Well, after all, how could I call myself a Slow Fashion Consultant, if those were not my top priorities, and I didn’t give a good example?
I also love that I’m now part of an ever growing number of individuals and groups working towards the goal of a more conscious style for all. Indeed, 2014 comes with a host of amazing projects that you can follow for inspiration. January is not over yet, so you still have time to make resolutions. And here I’ve compiled for you a list of the most interesting initiatives for you to be motivated by and hopefully adhere to.
- Fashion Revolution Day - On 24th April 2013, 1133 people were killed and over 2500 were injured when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Bangladesh. Catastrophes in our fashion supply chains continue. Fashion Revolution Day has been initiated by a global board of industry leaders, campaigners, press and academics from within the sector and beyond, who see the tragedy at Rana Plaza as a metaphorical call to arms. This annual appointment on the anniversary of the disaster will help to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion, show the world that change is possible, and celebrate all those involved in creating a more sustainable future. How can you take part I hear you ask? The theme of the first Fashion Revolution Day is Who Made Your Clothes? No, not which brand, but literally who: from the machinists who sewed it, all the way down to the farmer who grew the cotton. This is to raise awareness of the fact that buying is only the last click in a long journey involving a huge invisible workforce behind the clothes we wear. You can make your contribution by wearing an item of clothing inside out to show what the label on it says. Often it’s not much: which should spur us to want to know more. Or perhaps you know all about that garment’s history: then tell the story! Share it through all your social media platforms with the hashtag #InsideOut – FRD are hoping to have hundreds of thousands of people make a gesture which will, in turn, raise awareness within the fashion industry that they need to continue the process of change. Fashion Revolution Day also has a chapter in USA and one in Australia: here’s a great video the American contributors put together for maximum impact:
- AWEAR2014 – A project by Kestrel Jenkins, a sustainable fashion stylist (also involved in FRD USA), Awear gives us ideas and guidelines to reach the goal of a more conscious wardrobe throughout the year. This is a community of mindful consumers and stylish changemakers, helping each other get creative with what they have & ask questions before buying new stuff. Again, this idea harnesses the huge impact of social media to aggregate beautiful images and instigate action. Don’t just follow them, but add your contribution via instagram, twitter and facebook.
- Knowing who’s behind our clothes is so important to Andy, John, and Andy, that they have made a really drastic decision. “We’ve decided to try something different, and we’re going all in. We’ve given away all our clothes and are buying a new wardrobe from scratch. A wardrobe where we know that every item was made by someone who was treated fairly. A wardrobe where, sometimes, we even know the names of the individuals who made our clothes. It’s going to be a journey of figuring out what we can do individually to make a difference.” While I personally don’t advise the ‘throw everything away’ approach – unless they have found super sustainable ways of discarding previous possessions – this certainly makes for an intriguing challenge. Follow their progress on Who Made My Wardrobe.
- Pip is from Australia, and she’s also started a personal, yearly challenge, that will see her embrace a 100% ethical style. She pledges to: “a) Buy from ethical makers or b) Buy second-hand or c) Make it myself or d) Wear things I already own or e) Borrow or swap garments with friends”. She how she fares on Meet Me At Mike’s.
- Amy Dufault is a sustainable fashion writer, consultant and outspoken activist. One day, the tailor she regularly commissions wardrobe updates to, said something that made her think: “It’s hard being a tailor when the clothes people want you to fix cost less than the actual fix”. She realised the profession of tailors is in peril: “consider the youth of today currently being raised on throwaway fashion and why they would ever need someone to fix a $5 shirt when the fix is double the amount of the shirt”. So she started The Tailor Project, and she’ll be updating her wardrobe this year solely through the skilled work of her tailor Kathryn Hilderbrand. Again, this is something you can join in to. Share your own alterations, designs and revamps of clothing you love on The Tailor Project’s facebook page.
- Finally, another initiative to commemorate the tragic events of Rana Plaza. On 24th April 2014, you can be part of Raising For Rana, a charity evening with a silent auction. A lot of fabulous Slow fashion brands have already donated pieces from their collections, and all the profits raised from the event will go directly to the families of the disaster victims. For the event, Raising For Rana have collaborated with the charities War On Want and TRAID, and the film production company Rainbow Collective CIC, to produce a documentary about the aftermath of the disaster and the direct impact it’s had on the families affected.