It's Fashion Revolution Week. Setting the bar higher for everyone working in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry can be considered one of the past decade’s economic success stories. The industry has grown 5.5 percent annually and is now worth an estimated $2.4 trillion. Notwithstanding its economic success, the fashion and apparel industry represents one of the world’s most resource and labour-intensive industries and as such has a profound impact on questions of global concern like human rights, chemical pollution, water shortage, waste and climate change.

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more. The tragedy shone a spotlight on the appalling conditions many workers in the industry face every day. Around 75 million people, predominantly women between the ages of 18 and 35, work in fashion and textiles across the globe with too many of them at the bottom of the chain subject to exploitation, verbal and physical abuse, unsafe conditions and salaries below a legal minimum wage.

Soon after the Rana Plaza tragedy, Fashion Revolution was created by ethical fashion designers Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro, as a movement demanding more transparency in the fashion supply chain. Fashion Revolution Week has been established to raise awareness and encourage people around the globe to ask fashion and clothing brands ‘Who made my clothes?’, using the hashtag #whomademyclothes. Events and workshops are held all around the world to encourage people to think differently about the clothes they buy and wear and inspire them to make a positive difference. This year Fashion Revolution is also launching Open Studios, asking established international designers such as Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood to open their studios to the public and share their inspiration.

Finally, a film to launch the Campaign has been developed by the change agency Futerra. The video shows factory workers from around the world participating in a rhythmic, mesmerising dance, ending with a haunting question.

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Heike Schnell