Do you know who made your clothes? Who grew the cotton, spun the threads, dyed the fabric and sewed them together? Two fashion entrepreneurs are making sure you ask those very questions by bringing the hidden people behind what we wear into the public eye – from the cotton farmer, seamstress, knitter and weaver to the factory worker.
Inspired to act after the deadliest garment factory accident in history killed 1,134 people in the Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 24 April 2013, Orsola de Castro and Carry Somers (below) decided to turn the fashion industry inside out.
Today their Fashion Revolution Week is a global movement across 89 countries (and counting) that throws light on fast fashion, asks difficult questions and campaigns to stop bad practices. But it’s not just for one week every April that fashion and ethics to go hand in hand. The pair invited us to enter the worlds of garment workers in Bangladesh and to the cotton farms in Egypt with their Top 5 projects.
“To be able to SEE what women garment workers’ real life looks like from their point of view (literally) is a wonderful way to create empathy and understanding. As people we are all different, but all equal. We tend to forget this. Lensational helps us remember.”
2. Junk Kouture
“At a time when the whole world seems hell bent on throwing away, we love those pioneering souls who do the opposite. Collecting rubbish and transforming it is not just fun and creative, it should become a political statement. Encouraging school kids to take responsibility is totally the right way forward for a cleaner future.”
“Female garment workers work long hours and are seriously underpaid, especially in Bangladesh. TRAID’s initiative helps to ensure their kids are in a safe environment whilst their mothers are at work. We all know how important good childcare is and often take it for granted. We applaud them for this initiative.”
“A super-advanced project that encompasses so many different aspects of sustainability, both socially via education and fair wages and environmentally, from organic seed to sustainable manufactured yarns. We admire Cottonforlife and will continue to work closely with them.”
“Women’s education is at the heart of everything: empowering women and young girls should be a global priority. When it comes to who makes our clothes, 80 percent of garment workers are female, often exploited and underpaid. We love this project that provides women in Bangladesh with free education.”