Monday marks four years since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1,138 people and injured more than 2,000. To commemorate the tragic event, sustainable fashion non-profit Fashion Revolution is using social media to share findings from its latest transparency report and educate consumers about workers’ rights.
Fashion Revolution published its second Fashion Transparency Index, ranking 100 of the largest global fashion companies on policy commitments, traceability and governance. In the report, the organization found that, while brands are increasing transparency by disclosing their factory lists, they are sharing little on the impacts of their practices. For example, 34 out of the 100 brands have made commitments to paying living wages to workers but only H&M, Marks & Spencer, New Look and Puma are reporting on how they’re tactically improving salaries. What’s more, only two of the surveyed brands — Gucci and Levi’s — have repair services designed to increase the life of clothing.
Perhaps more troubling is that not a single company received a score of higher than 50 percent. Gap, H&M and Adidas were among the highest scoring brands, while several luxury brands comprised the lowest scorers — Miu Miu, Prada, Chanel, Dior and Giorgio Armani included. This comes after a recent report from LaborVoices that found Turkish apparel workers experienced rampant verbal abuse and poor working conditions.
“Transparency is a first step. It’s opening the door and allowing people to look through,” said Fashion Revolution founder and creative director Orsola de Castro. “If another tragedy like Rana Plaza were to happen, we would know exactly which brands were producing at the factory and how much they’re liable. We can’t fix what we can’t see. This vision was denied to us completely up until a short time ago.”
Chart courtesy of Fashion Revolution
In an effort to bring these disparities to light, Fashion Revolution is sharing the results of its report on its social media channels as part of “Fashion Revolution Week,” held annually during the week of the Rana Plaza collapse. It is also encouraging followers to share photos with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes to create dialogue on transparency throughout the week. In 2016, 70,000 people used the hashtag on their social media accounts, including celebrity supporters Amber Valletta and Rosario Dawson. The movement has spurred responses like #IMadeThis from producers and designers around the world.
Thank you Laura Wells @iamlaurawells for joining the revolution with @mightygoodundie and asking #whomademyclothes! 💙 #Repost @mightygoodundie ・・・ Laura Wells, biologist, environmentalist, model bares all for the Fashion Revolution. What is your wardrobe love story? I love really understanding where my clothes come from. I love how much I have learnt. Fall back in love with your wardrobe this #fashionrevolution day. See more at www.bareforgood.com.au @fash_rev_ausnz @iamlaurawells #whomademyclothes #ecofashion #sustainablefashion #fashionrevolution
Model and biologist Laura Wells participates in the #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign.
Actress Rosario Dawson shares an image from the Fashion Revolution campaign.
This year, Fashion Revolution is bringing back the #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign, as well as launching a new push around clothing preservation called #LoveClothesThatLast that encourage shoppers to take care of their clothes and steer clear of fast fashion. De Castro said social media campaigns like these are designed to help position the fashion industry as a leader in the sustainability space and influence peers.
Though Fashion Revolution was founded in the U.K. in 2013, just a few days after the Rana Plaza collapse, de Castro said her intention to start the organization began far before that. Prior to starting her non-profit, de Castro worked for the British Fashion Council for several years, during which she started a sustainability working group called Esthetica, designed to increase environmental programs during London Fashion Week. Launching Fashion Revolution was an attempt to expand upon that work in a more tangible way, and Rana Plaza served as the foundation to do so.
“When Rana Plaza collapsed, there was a sense that it was a very predictable and avoidable catastrophe,” de Castro said. “In many ways, Fashion Revolution itself was born very much as a result of the disaster. Rana Plaza was a catalyst and a metaphorical call to arms. We had already seen plenty, and enough was enough.”