Flash mobs, a fashion tardis and upcycling workshops celebrated Glasgow’s Fashion Revolution Day.
Campaigners met at the Glasgow Lighthouse (on April 24) to promote sustainable fashion and commemorate the Rana Plaza disaster. The 2013 disaster saw Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory collapse, killing over 1100 and injuring thousands.
This is one of many incidents that continue to haunt fashion supply chains.
In 2013, International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated accidents and diseases at work caused two million fatalities every year. ILO also forecast around 40% of the world’s workers earn under £1.30 a day, and over 50% lacked secure employment.
Oxfam’s website explained: “Workers producing for companies like Nike, Adidas, and Puma often endure low wages and long hours, in dangerous and hostile conditions.
“The sad fact is many workers in the garment industry are living in poverty, even though they have paid jobs.”
In 2009, the Ethical Trading Initiative reported that 48% of its corporate members’ weren’t paying workers in full. That year the Fair Labor Association showed 58% of its audited suppliers were underpaying wages.
Fashion Revolution campaigner, Niki Taylor explained underpaid labour is often used to make cheap garments.
She added: “We hope people will start to ask why their garments are so cheap and think more about what they are buying.
“We wanted to encourage people to ask ‘who made my clothes?’”
This question was carried on placards and pins that campaigners distributed on Buchanan Street (Glasgow). The ‘flash mob’ asked shoppers about their buying habits and invited them to the Lighthouse workshop.
Taylor said: “Fashion Revolution was at the Lighthouse to commemorate the Rana Plaza disaster and promote ethical fashion.
“We had a ‘fashion tardis’ changing room, where people could turn their clothes inside out, then get their photo taken, showing their labels and asking social media #whomademyclothes?”
The campaign encouraged fashion brands to share their factories’ locations and photos. It was supported by events held across 71 countries.
Joining the Glasgow campaign was fashion designer Iona Barker.
She said: “I ran the upcycling workshop as part of Fashion Revolution Day. The workshop was quite busy and there were a lot of tourist stopping by, wanting to know what it was all about.
“Some of the tourists hadn’t heard of the Rana Plaza disaster, so it was good way to raise awareness.”
The workshop also promoted sustainable fashion by encouraging people to create new clothes from old. Practicing this ethos was participant Novada Hale.
She said: “I came along to fashion Revolution Day to help my friend Jen campaign, but I ended up taking part in the upcycling workshop. I worked with Iona to transform an old t-shirt into a dress.”
Barker added: “I would encourage people to think twice before they throw things out. A piece of worn clothing can be changed into something cool and new.
“If people want to upcycle clothes, but aren’t very good with a sewing machine, they can always use fabric glue and paint!
“Upcycling newbies can also get help in haberdashery shops. Glasgow has a lot of great material shops and the staff are all very friendly.”
Barker explained that clothes can be recycled via charity shops or ‘swap parties’ (where guests exchange unwanted garments). She encouraged shoppers to look for ‘swapping’ events in their area.
Concluding, Taylor added that Future Fashion Revolution Events, such as documentary screenings, will be advertised on the group’s website.