Today, on Fashion Revolution Day 2020, let's look back and see how it all started.
On Apr 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed. The Rana Plaza was a commercial building, housing a bank, a few shops and a few garment factories. According to the investigation the reason for the collapse was a structural failure - the deadliest structural failure in modern history. Over 1,100 people lost their lives and 2,500 were injured in the accident.
Accidents happen, right? It's just that this accident could have been prevented, more than once. Cracks were discovered in the building the previous day which triggered the bank and commercial shops in the building to close and not reopen on the day of the accident. The garment workers, however, were ordered to come to work that day with some of them being threatened to lose a whole month's pay if they missed work. That's one.
The four upper floors of the building were built without a permit. The Plaza was built on a filled-in pong which compromised its structural integrity to begin with. Then there were these illegally built additional floors, only worsening the situation. So that's two.
Then, third, the building was built for commercial use, not industrial. This means it potentially couldn't withstand the weight and vibrations of big machinery.
And last but not least, the day before the accident, amid the cracks the owner of the building said to the media that the building was safe and work can continue uninterrupted.
It was a grim day for fashion. It was clear that all of the big, international and some luxury brands that produced in the Rana Plaza didn't care to vet their production facilities. That was the moment where many fashion professionals and customers said enough and started a movement. Movement that has attracted many more people since then.
Fashion Revolution is a not-for-profit organisation that was founded in 2013 as a response to the Rana Plaza disaster. The founders - Carry Somers and Orsola de Castero, have created by far the strongest, most popular and potentially most impactful movement in the industry. Their #whomademyclothes movement has gone viral and international with many big and small companies offering more transparency in their operations.
Fashion Revolution Day
Since 2014, Fashion Revolution Day happens every year on April, 24th - the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh. According to Fashion Revolution, on this day "we remember the lives lost and demand that no one should die for fashion".
It's hard to imagine that people die for fashion, isn't it? Unfortunately, this beautiful on the outside industry has a very dark side. To learn more, head to our Guide on Sustainable Fashion.
Fashion Revolution Week
This is the week surrounding Apr 24th. It is a week full of events, talks and articles on how brands and customers can act to improve the status quo in the industry. Whether you are a sustainable fashion rookie or you have been a fan for years, this week is a great time to learn more about the newest and hottest sustainable and ethical practices!
How can you help the change?
We do believe that anyone, without much effort, can turn up the sustainability level of their wardrobe. To learn more, you can head over to our beginner's guide on a more sustainable wardrobe.
Have we missed something important? What do you do to make sure your wardrobe is more sustainable? Let me know in the comments!