Featherings: a fashion revolution…

I have become increasingly interested in the slow fashion movement.

I realize that “slow fashion” sounds like an oxymoron, but it is not. The concept of slowing down the trend machine, repurposing clothing beyond a vintage label, and going green and sustainable in the fashion industry is cutting edge and very hip.

Slow fashion also embraces handspun yarn, hand knit and crocheted, and hand woven textiles. They are the very incarnation of slow fashion. These methods require time, thought, and careful planning. They merge design and textile creation as one force.

Add to this renaissance of craft, the deep concern for Mother Earth.  I have read that it takes 50 gallons of water to make a pair of manufactured jeans. The leather tanning processes used in the industry are huge water polluters. Worse than any of this (hard to believe there’s a worse?) is that slave labor is too often employed in the factories that give us our super cheap garments. It also fuels and sustains constant new collections that arrive every two to six weeks. In the not too distant past, new collections were shown two to four times a year. Not only are they birthed more rapidly, many designers have gone to a show and buy business model. This form of fashion translates to: show Fall collections in January or February and buy and wear right away. The projected Fall/Winter of a year out becomes the now. This new phenomenon is brought to us care of the internet.

The plus side of fast fashion is that we are all equals on the fashion playing field. Fashion is affordable in all economic demographics, Walmart to Nordstrom’s. This sense of equality in looks, not necessarily in quality by the way, allows for a great sense of individual style and a plurality of fashion. The down side, as previously mentioned, is the horrible human slave trade underworld, worker abuses, and pollution that is the seedy underside of this business.

On Earth Day, I spent an entire afternoon reading various articles related to lowering my carbon footprint. In doing so, I came upon a great website dedicated to reforming the fashion industry. It is appropriately called, Fashion Revolution.

Let me share a bit about this movement. On their website, this group identifies itself and mission as follows:

We are Fashion Revolution. We are people from all around the world who make the fashion industry work. We are the people who wear clothes. And we are the people who make them.

We are designers, academics, writers, business leaders, policymakers, brands, retailers, marketers, producers, makers, workers and fashion lovers. We are the industry and we are the public. We are world citizens. We are you.

Our vision

We believe in a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure.

Our mission

We want to unite people and organizations to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way.

We believe that collaborating across the whole value chain — from farmer to consumer — is the only way to transform the industry.

Our mission is to bring everyone together to make that happen.

We are a global movement

Fashion Revolution is a global movement that runs all year long.

We celebrate fashion as a positive influence while also scrutinizing industry practices and raising awareness of the fashion industry’s most pressing issues. We aim to show that change is possible and encourage those who are on a journey to create a more ethical and sustainable future for fashion.

Fashion Revolution strives to be action-oriented and solution focused. Rather than making people feel guilty, we help them recognize that they have the power to do something to make a positive change.

We often call ourselves pro-fashion protesters because we love fashion and want to  it become a force for good.

We try to always be bold, provocative, inquisitive, accessible and inclusive. We tend to avoid negative protesting, victimizing and naming and shaming. We do not target specific individual companies because we believe that the industry’s problems are bigger than any one company’s actions. We do not advocate boycotting simply because we don’t see it as an effective way to achieve systemic change.

Fashion Revolution Week

Fashion Revolution Week is our #whomademyclothes campaign in April, which falls on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1138 people and injured many more on 24th April 2013. That is the day Fashion Revolution was born. During this week, brands and producers are encouraged to respond with the hashtag #imadeyourclothes and to demonstrate transparency in their supply chain.

[as accessed at http://fashionrevolution.org/about/]

I encourage you to go to this website and give some serious thought to how your style intersects with the fashion industry. It can be a bitter realization to discover that our favorite stores or designers may not be practicing the best of ethics. Then again, you might discover that they do!

Over the next few weeks, I will be introducing you to some of these slow fashion heroes and upstarts. Then it’s up to each of us to figure out how to find our style, wear it and do so with a clear conscience…

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