This week, Vogue reminds us of Rana Plaza and offers small solutions

Rana Plaza is one incident which was reported on, published and shown to us (see my post here)but how many people suffer due to our fashion system on a daily basis? The numbers remain in the dark. 5 years ago, there was alot of activism, such as the Spanish trade union UGT, who felt for their manufacturers in Bangladesh and staged a protest.

Activists of the Spanish trade union UGT (General Union of Workers) perform with fake blood in front of a Mango store in Barcelona on May 7 during a protest after the tragic death of hundreds of Bangladeshi workers who made clothes for western brands in precarious conditions. Photo: AFP

What can we do to make things better?

We can take small steps to initiate small solutions. For example, a few years ago, I staged this Barbie photo below, in order to remind us of the constant consumerisim we live in.

 

“Barbie’s Shopping Binge” Photograph by Olga Mitterfellner

 

I am pleased to see that Vogue has written a piece on “Fashion Revolution”, reminding us of Rana Plaza – the horrid catastrophe which shook the fashion world 5 years ago and I am reposting the article further below. Have a look at what Vogue’s Ellie Pithers suggests here below followed by my own special recommendation and do post your thoughts!

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5 Changes To Make This Fashion Revolution Week

Five years on from the Rana Plaza garment factory disaster, and there’s no better time to make more mindful, socially responsible fashion choices. Here’s what to do if you want a fairer fashion industry this Fashion Revolution Week.

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since the world watched an eight-storey factory collapse in Bangladesh. The Rana Plaza disaster claimed 1,138 lives and injured a further 2,500 garment workers – and has subsequently proved a turning point in the collective fashion consciousness.

In a special “Fashion Question Time” discussion at the House of Commons on Monday, numerous panel members argued that conditions have improved – albeit painfully slowly – for garment workers since the industrial tragedy, which forced factories, brands and governments to analyse the human cost of fast fashion.

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, and incidentally the first person of Bangladeshi origin to have been elected to the House of Commons, put it succinctly when she said: “[Rana Plaza] was a wake-up call to consumers in the west, and their governments. The awareness and public pressure both internationally and also domestically has meant that the workers in that sector have a stronger voice and more back-up which needs to be maintained. Overall pay and conditions have improved slightly. But the prognosis is a mixed one. There has been some progress but not enough. We need to make sure the legacy of the tragedy is that there are international agreements to make sure something like this does not happen elsewhere.”

Step forward Fashion Revolution, a movement founded in the immediate aftermath of Rana Plaza, to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed. This week marks the fifth Fashion Revolution Week, and the debut of a new manifesto which aims to make the fashion industry fairer. Here are five ways to get involved with Fashion Revolution Week, and shop mindfully in the process.


And No. 6 is my own suggestion, something I preach to all my students:

WEAR VINTAGE!

If you live in a fashion capital like London, there is an abundance of vintage stores and charity shops where you can find a designer piece that you personally can resurrect and give it a new life by wearing it! If you do not have physical access to those hot-spots then there is the internet which offers so many sites with beautiful vintage pieces.

The vintage clothes not only contribute to a unique appearance, they also break the chain of cruel production and mindless consumerism. They also make a great conversation piece for the office or a party! Below are some of the vintage items which I have purchase in the past:

Kansai Yamamoto sweater which I had previously blogged about here, shoes by Escada, Chanel and Pollini and a skirt by Karl Lagerfeld.

 

 

 

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