Fashion Revolution Week 2018
Business workers, Mrs Ma and Mrs Sun with production supervisor, Mrs Zhang.
Sample maker Li Ai Zhong, business worker Mint Jia, pattern maker Liu Sui Hua, business worker Sunny Zhong, sample maker Zhang Fen Juan, sample administrator Zhang Fen Di, and office manager Li Yu Qun.
Fashion Revolution Week 2018: learn more, make a difference
Have you ever wondered who makes your clothes?
Fashion Revolution is a global movement that runs all year long. They believe in a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure. A fashion industry that is more transparent, safe, fair and environmentally friendly. This week is Fashion Revolution Week 2018, which marks the fifth anniversary of one of the worst industrial tragedies in history; the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1,134 and injured a further 2,500 people. The incident brought to light the terrible truth of fast fashion and the true cost of our clothes.
During Fashion Revolution week, customers are encouraged to approach brands to ask them, #whomademyclothes. And in turn, brands are encouraged to respond, demonstrating transparency in their supply chain.
Sample administrator, Zhang Fen Di.
The Thought team at our HQ in North London.
“Fashion can be made in a safe, clean and beautiful way.”
Our Thoughtful Way
Here at Thought, creating sustainable clothing isn’t enough. We consider each detail of the journey of our clothing, from the fabrics we use, to how we design, make and deliver our garments and our ongoing relationships with our production partners. We consider it important to ensure that the up-most kindness and respect is shown to the people and partners we work with. In fact, we’ve been working alongside the same few partners for around ten years now, and since then we’ve grown our businesses and skills together. We work hard to maintain these relationships and the two-way communication between our London HQ and our partners in China, ensuring that we visit them two to three times a year.
As proud supporters of slow fashion, our clothes are made to last, to be loved, and to be worn time and time again. With this in mind we tend to steer clear of short-lived trends and instead, create timeless, contemporary pieces that our customers will love, with the greater aim of minimising our environmental footprint. To read more, go to our Thoughtful Way page.
How you can make a difference
There are so many ways you can get involved and make a difference this Fashion Revolution Week (and generally). And they’re not difficult at all…
Show your label
This is what Fashion Revolution Week is all about. It’s your opportunity to challenge your favourite brands and ask them about the people behind your clothes. Simply take a label selfie, post it on Instagram or Twitter, tag the brand and ask #whomademyclothes?
Buy less, choose well
As well as buying from sustainable and ethical companies, try shopping vintage or second-hand. This helps slow down the fast fashion cycle and gives perfectly good clothing another lease of life, rather than sending it to landfill after just a few wears. As well as this, vintage or second-hand clothing is more affordable, durable and often enables you to have something totally unique and timeless. Plus, who doesn’t love rummaging through vibrant rails of one-offs?
Be a mindful shopper
There are so many things to consider when buying an item of clothing. It’s useful to ask yourself questions like is it a wardrobe classic or a short-lived trend? Do you really need it? Will you wear it just a handful of times or does it have longevity? Is it a good quality item? All of these are important to consider before you purchase any item. You can learn more in my conscious shopping guide.
Know your fabrics
It’s also important to know your fabrics so that you can make more informed decisions when purchasing an item of clothing. Knowing what your clothes are made of will tell you how much of an impact they have on our planet, how easy they are to care for and what their properties are. For example, a linen top only takes 2 weeks to decompose in landfill, whereas a polyester dress takes over 200 years. Hemp takes very little processing to turn it from a plant to a fibre, making it kinder on the planet. Bamboo is soft against the skin, with antibacterial properties. Cotton is known for being easy to wash and care for. Wool is very absorbent and therefore great at regulating your temperature. Knowing more about the materials you’re buying will help you decide whether your choices are responsible.
Care, repair, re-wear
Make loved clothes last by giving them the real care that they need. How you wash, store and care for your clothing makes all the difference. Here are some simple tips to get you started:
1. Wash darks inside out to prevent the colour from fading. Generally try to wash your clothes less to keep colours rich, maintain a fresh look and prevent stretching.
2. Avoid to using the dryer – this will help prolong the life of your clothes. When you can, hang your clothes out in the sun. However if you live somewhere that it’s likely to rain, simply invest in an indoor drying rack.
3. Using the correct type of hanger helps maintain the structure of the garment; for example, you should use sturdy wooden hangers for heavy winter coats. However, it’s best to avoid hanging some garments (like knitwear), as it can become stretched and lose its shape.
4. Ensure the items in your wardrobe have room to breathe. Consider investing in a larger space for your clothes if you find you need to pack them tightly together. This will avoid creases and wrinkles. It also means that any odour on the garment can be cleared, averting the need for it to be washed.
5. Always treat stains as soon as possible. Knowing the most efficient ways to remove different stains can be very useful. For example makeup can be easily removed by using shaving cream. And food stains or oils can be cleared with dish soap.
6. There are also ways to prevent your clothes from developing holes due to moths. Check out our natural moth repellant tea bag tutorial here.
“Repair and mending doesn’t mean we can’t afford to buy something new, it means we can’t afford something being thrown away.” – Fashion Revolution
When we wear our favourite clothes time and again, they are bound to show signs of wear and tear. But why let a missing button, worn knees or torn sleeve get in the way of you and a good outfit? It’s so easy to repair them with a patch, stitch or by darning. Be proud of the clothes you love. Repairing them “is a practical, symbolic, aesthetic, original, creative, badass, revolutionary way to say my clothes are me, my chosen skin, my principles, my story. Long live my clothes.” Check out our denim repair blog post here.
Recycle your clothes responsibly
If you aren’t able to repair the clothing you no longer want, why not get creative? Try upcycling your old clothing to make it into something new. See what we mean in our upcycled tote bag tutorial or our DIY bobble hat tutorial.
Alternatively you could have some fun and organise a clothing swap with your friends. This is an enjoyable, sociable way to give your old clothes a new lease of life, as well as refreshing your wardrobe without spending a penny. We’re holding our own clothing swap this week in the Thought HQ. Keep an eye out on our Instagram Stories!
Another option for unwanted clothing, is to pass the items on to organisations like Traid, who focus on the reuse and recycling of clothing. They request donations of clothing, shoes or homeware, to re-sell in their stores. To help you pass your unwanted clothing on responsibly, (as well as reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill), we’ve launched our new Pass Me On initiative in collaboration with Traid. Discover more about our initiative here or, if you live in London and the South East, organise a Traid collection here.
Learn more: what to watch
The True Cost
The True Cost is a fashion documentary about the journey of clothes we wear, the people who make them and the impact it’s having on our world, asking questions at every turn. It’s a must watch.
Loved Clothes Last
Also check out Fashion Revolution’s Loved Clothes Last film – a thought-provoking, three minute short film directed by Balthazar Klarwein.
Learn more: what to read
Make sure you pick up a copy of Fashion Revolution’s book, Loved Clothes Last. It’s the best thing we’ve read in a long time.