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in the news: H&M, Fashion Revolution, & the Pope

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…

– Thane: Massive fire breaks out at garment factory in Bhiwandi, 80 people feared to be trapped

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.

– Pope Francis sees links between exploiting the planet and exploiting people

– The Truth About Your Clothing Donations

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. 

– Pants to Poverty drops its ethical stance

– Am I a fool to expect more than corporate greenwashing?

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.

– Bangladesh: Tanneries Harm Workers, Poison Communities

– Against Activism

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.

– Let’s Celebrate The True Heroes

Fashion Revolution’s response to H&M’s recycling campaign that curiously coincides with Fashion Revolution Week.

What have you been reading? What are your plans for #fashrev?

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Leah Wise

Thursday 14th of April 2016

That's a good point. Sometimes my posting here feels ineffective because I'm not a new convert to the cause anymore and I don't feel as much of a need to talk about what I'm buying. Ethics has become integrated into what I do, so I don't need the space to hash it out. In many ways, this blog has intentionally moved to a more insider approach, trying to parse out the finer details of the movement rather than talk about it broadly. I think H&M Conscious Collection and companies like Everlane can do a lot to propel the industry forward. I like your idea of encouraging a sort of artisan or higher end line within the brand as a way of encouraging less consumerism without losing the business model. Small, incremental changes are the only things that'll work.

Eimear Greaney

Thursday 14th of April 2016

Sometimes I feel that the 'green' 'eco' pages and groups etc I like, are preaching to the converted. I decided not to buy new and sew my own some time ago, with a become the change you want to see in the world etc. so if anyone asks about my clothes etc I say I made it myself and will sometimes explain why, the negatives of fast fashion etc -and the response is varied. I figure people do care, but only for so long, and prefer cheap clothes and cheap food and I can see why also.... its far easier. I think it could be preferable if the pret-a-jeter clothing chains started a classic line of higher priced/ better made/fewer lines/higher quality (with a healthier attitude to the makers and environment) to promote a slower fashion could work, but who knows, I do think the 'donate for good' posters in tk maxx are awful, they are just keeping the cycle going and absolving people of donating crap clothes to buy more tatt...........Ultimately, I find the whole cycle of consumerism bewildering

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