Who made my clothes? It’s Fashion Revolution Week 2021

April 19, 2021

Fashion Revolution Week 2021 is 19 – 25 April and was created to mark the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more in 2013. Rana Plaza was a factory complex in Savar, Bangladesh, making clothes for some of the biggest global fashion brands. 

The campaign calls for systemic change in the fashion industry. The fashion and textiles sector is one of the most polluting and wasteful industries contributing to the climate emergency we live in. The industry continues to lack transparency, with widespread exploitation of people working in the supply chain.

We spoke to Natasha Simpson a fashion design student at University of South Wales (USW) and Fashion Revolution Ambassador, who is hosting a Fash Rev event. She tells us more about her role and how it has changed her and affected her career plans.

“I am currently working on my graduate collection which is completely virtual. All the garments within my collection have a key theme of sustainability and design for longevity. I have interned in both London and Amsterdam, gaining experience in high end, couture and fast fashion.

I first heard about Fashion Revolution in 2018 when my lecturer Steven Wright encouraged us to take an active role in it. I started researching Fashion Revolution and applied to become the USW Fashion Revolution Ambassador. It’s a role I will always keep close to my heart and it has been an incredible experience.

The aim of the event is to create a social media buzz that will encourage consumers to think about the clothes they are wearing and how often they consume. I always aim to raise awareness for Fashion Revolution and I am also hoping to inspire someone to become the next USW Fashion Revolution ambassador after I graduate this year.

The USW Fashion Revolution Week is packed with social media interactivity such as Instagram Lives, a quiz and activities to do around campus such as take a photo with our own USW “Who made your clothes?” giant t-shirt that myself and Amber Jones, a fellow course member, made in 2019 for my first Fashion Revolution Week as an official ambassador.

I have always been one to consume clothes only when necessary but becoming a Fashion Revolution ambassador has made me a conscious consumer in terms of the brands I am buying from. When purchasing clothing I look at the Fashion Revolution: Fashion Transparency Index to seek which brands are preferable in terms of transparency.

Becoming a Fashion Revolution ambassador has really switched my career path and I am now looking to become a sustainability adviser within large brands to make a positive impact from the inside. It’s allowed me to become more confident in speaking up for things I believe in whereas before I might have acknowledged that change needed to happen but I perhaps wouldn’t have acted upon it. The fashion industry is in need of a revolution and I am more than happy to take an active role and help push the revolution forward with the aim to hold brands accountable for their actions.

Any tips on breaking up with fast fashion?

Research and remember that as consumers we hold an enormous amount of power. If you want more sustainable items in your wardrobe then you need to actively purchase those items to encourage change from brands that you love.

I completely understand that not everyone can afford to buy every item of clothing they need sustainably and ethically due to typically a higher price point but I would encourage researching a brands sustainability page to see if you align with their values.

Another great way to shop is at second hand stores and kilo sales, you can easily find true gems. As a final point, we need to normalise paying for clothes to be adapted to you by seamstresses and alteration companies rather than throwing them away because that garment doesn’t fit perfectly. We all know the struggle of trying to find a pair of jeans that fit!”.

Find out more about Fairtrade clothes, cotton and textiles.