In about a month, Fashion Revolution will launch it's annual social awareness campaign encouraging people everywhere to ask one simple question: "Who Made My Clothes?" This simple question is powerful because it reminds us to think about the people behind the things we buy, as well as the environmental impact that may have gone into making it. We often see objects as lifeless, but they were in fact, man-made with resources pulled from the environment.
April 24 is a significant date because it is the anniversary of the Rana Plaza incident, a huge watershed moment in fashion when a huge factory in Bangladesh (called Rana Plaza) collapsed and killed thousands of factory workers due to awful working conditions. Much of the world's biggest brands were made in that factory, brands that we support and buy from every day.
By participating in a social media campaign that asks brands "Who Made My Clothes", we can create several direct actions: 1) We can raise awareness about conscious consumerism among our peers and 2) We are forcing brands to take responsibility by vocalizing our concerns in a public forum. A social media post may take a few seconds, but if enough of us participate, it hits where it is most vulnerable: right in the heart of the brand's public credibility.
A recent example is this brilliant social media campaign by Chennai-born rapper Sofia Ashraf, who pressured Unilever to pay amends to the workers they harmed in a thermometer factory. After millions of hits, Unilever agreed to the workers' demands.
So if you think one Facebook post or tweet won't matter, think again. The power of the people is literally at your fingertips. And remember, your dollar/euro/peso/yen/etc. is your vote, so let's all do our best to use it well.
BONUS: I've come up with a list of ethical brands I've discovered along the way! Find it here.
If you found this blog useful, please re-share! And as always, feel free to connect with me on @rubyveridiano or via email so we can continue the conversation.