Fashion Revolution Day is coming up fast. If you haven’t participated before, I encourage you to read up on the event’s purpose and suggested ways to get involved (The Ethical Writers Co. will be creating a series of posts around Fashion Revolution’s #haulternative concept, so stay tuned). In 2013, 1,134 people died brutally and tragically when a garment factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed. The factory contracted with prominent brands like WalMart, Gap Inc., and British discount company, Primark. This was the crystallizing moment for a lot of us in the conscious community. Even those of us who were considering our purchasing decisions before were rocked by the bloodshed. And we became determined to hold ourselves accountable for our complicity in a system that allows negligence at the cost of human lives.
In related news…
Since the fire engulfed at the ground floor of the building and there’s no second exit, people inside the building have stuck. The fire is travelling upward from the ground floor posing more threat to stranded people inside the building.
But it wasn’t until the onset of fast fashion in the 1990s that things took a turn for the worse. Unsurprisingly, the sharp decline in clothing prices has had a dramatic effect on shopping habits. Americans now buy five times as much clothing as they did in 1980, and this trend has had far reaching side effects. In the 1990s, donations to Goodwill increased by 10 percent every single year.
I may be a fool to let my heart get crushed by corporate green marketing, but it’s not just the audacity I object to: it’s the timing. H&M’s Recycle Week clashes exactly with the grassroots Fashion Revolution campaign.
To be an activist now merely means to advocate for change, and the hows and whys of that advocacy are unclear. The lack of a precise antonym is telling. Who, exactly, are the non-activists? Are they passivists? Spectators? Or just regular people? In its very ambiguity the word upholds a dichotomy that is toxic to democracy, which depends on the participation of an active citizenry, not the zealotry of a small segment of the population, to truly function.
Fashion Revolution’s response to H&M’s recycling campaign that curiously coincides with Fashion Revolution Week.