‘Fashion’; I believe, is a perfect concoction of your mood and material embodiment. I could be sipping coke in my Giorgio Armani or maybe finishing up a blog in my comfortable boxers, it’s all relative no? Fashion through ages has developed not only as a way of draping something around your genitals, but as an industry which helps you carve your style and reflect your personality.
If you have worked in the backstage committee of your college fest, you know the third world crisis that takes place there. Similarly, on the Runway or on your fav IG influencers’ page, all you see is the perfection poured at you to make your jaw drop and eyes drool.
But, what you don’t see is how the cotton was plucked by hunger stricken child labourers, how the fabrication was done in an enclosed chamber filled with toxic chemicals and cramped with abuses to meet the deadlines by working 16-17 hours a day and 7 days a week and how 10,330 litres of water and 342 million barrels of oil was used to make your pop-up “environment cautious” faux leather jacket stand out in the club! And the shame in all this is how you invest in all these ‘52 seasons a year’ fast-fashion hoaxes to only wear them thrice a year.
These problems were highlighted to the world after the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, and led to the establishment of ‘Fashion Revolution Week’ held from 20th to 26th April each year worldwide to raise awareness for those who made our clothes and under what conditions.
Fashion Revolution Week 2020
In wake of the Global pandemic, as retailers round the globe are shutting their doors and closing factories, the people behind the needle are facing a thread of problems. Bloomberg reports that about 1,089 garment factories in Bangladesh have had orders cancelled worth roughly $1.5 billion due to the coronavirus outbreak. This threatens the families of thousands by not only unemployment but also hunger and poverty. Thus, Fashion Revolution Week 2020 focused on four key areas: Consumption, composition, conditions and collective action, showing how the current situation is affecting the people who make our clothes, as well as the impact our clothing has on the earth and the oceans.
How your Fav brands are doing their bit?
In recent years the heightened awareness about the environmental damages created by the Fashion Industries, urged the founding of ‘Global Sustainability Campaign’ by collectively adopting sustainable materials and practices throughout their design, development and supply chain.
The two predominant global campaigns are:
- The “2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment,” introduced by the Global Fashion Agenda.
It focuses on ;
-Implementing design strategies for cyclability
-Increasing the volume of used garments and footwear collected
-Increasing the volume of used garments and footwear resold.
-Ninety-four companies signed on (represents 12.5% of the global fashion market), including ASOS, H&M, Nike, Inditex, Kering, and Target.
- The “Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) 2020 Commitment,” introduced by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
Focuses in delivering industry led targets of 15% reduction in carbon, water and
-Reinventing how clothes are designed and produced
-Rethinking how we value clothing by extending life of clothes
-Redefining what is possible through reuse and recycling
-Eighty companies signed on (represents 58.5% of the UK’s retail sales volume), including
ASOS, Marks and Spencer, Ted Baker, and others.
- Many local brands, including us have already adopted these practices while producing your fav boxers. We at ‘Whats Down‘ ensure safety at each step and equal pay for all, in optimum working conditions, completely abolishing use of any harmful chemicals or dyes in the process.
How to do your bit?
Well, certainly we do not expect you to go on a guilt trip and out of insanity of the current isolation, burn down all your clothes! NO, there are more realistic and simpler ways as to how you can make a significant contribution in the comlex Fashion Industry dynamics and bring out a potential change in the livelihoods of the millions of people who helped you look dapper in that Jake Gyllenhaal outfit.
Fundamentally, you can start by;
1.Stop falling for the ‘trending scam’- This is a psychological trick to make you buy the same design in a different colour.
2. Reduce your frequency- It is not necessary that you buy that jacket because Ranveer Singh wore it and it is available on 60% off value.
3. Increase the number of times you repeat your clothes: Just by wearing your clothes nine months longer, you can reduce the carbon footprint for the garment by 30%.
4. Buying one used item per year- Factually it could save nearly 6lbs of CO2 emissions
5. Buy from local shops- Thrift stores/ Linking road/ Sarojini Nagar should be your next fashion destination for your fashion spree after this quarantine.
6. Buy from Local Start ups– If you prefer online shopping and also wish to make your contribution, this is how you can do it. Buying from local startups and encouraging your entrepreneur next door helps maintain liquidity in the market and helps the laborers get a well deserved pay for their work, and not a tax cut organization funded slave salary.
7. Understand -We do not always need to hold protest placards and be on the streets to signify solidarity and concern. Fashion Revolution launches its yearly Fashion Transparency Index 2020 and ugers you to simply ask #WhatsInMyClothes #WhoMadeMyClothes , these hashtags are portals to help millions around the globe earn the respect and wage they deserve. It may not bring a magnanimous change in the entire industry but the acknowledgement and action will certainly contribute in a marginal drift.
Start questioning your brands and retailers about their commitment to using virgin plastics to reduce micro pollution. Participate in this by simply asking!
And remember, do it for the ‘Gram but also don’t forget that you are saving your planet too by these minor contributions.