As the 6th edition of Fashion Revolution Week draws to a close, the questions it raised simmer on. Staged around the world, the event probed the issues most critical to the future of fashion, from climate change and ethical practice to gender equality. The aim? To seek out, as Martine Parry, Head of Press at Fashion Revolution and Fairtrade Foundation, puts it, “tangible solutions for brands, artisans, citizens and stakeholders alike”. Here, Parry breaks down the need-to-know take-outs from Fashion Revolution Week 2019 for Living It.
Though transparency is on the increase, there’s progress to be made
The push for greater transparency may be promising, but our Fashion Transparency Index 2019 shows that there is still a long way to go, with the average score amongst the 200 brands and retailers reviewed this year is 21%. This year’s highest score of 64% shows that even leading brands and retailers still have significant room for improvement when it comes to sharing their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts with their customers and stakeholders.
The future is… craft
Craft is beginning to be profiled as an enduring antidote to fast fashion – not a buzzword or passing interest, but a culture and movement in its own right. From discussions on how to preserve heritage crafts in the face of globalisation, to the practical challenges faced by 21st Century craftsmen, you can read much more on this subject in Fashion Revolution Week’s latest Fanzine.
Consumers are calling for change
In a recent Fashion Revolution consumer survey, more than one in three people said they consider social and environmental impacts when buying clothes. We need a bigger and faster cultural shift so that all people buy and use clothes more mindfully. While the sustainability of the fashion industry is increasingly under scrutiny, human rights abuses, gender inequality and environmental degradation remain rife. 72% of the public said that fashion brands should do more to improve the lives of the women making their products and 80% said that fashion brands should disclose their manufacturers.
To scale up sustainability, we need to focus on innovation
There is an ocean of truth lying undiscovered before us when it comes to the fashion industry of tomorrow. We urgently need to focus on innovation and we need sustainability to be scaled up. Several points from Bronwyn Serier’s piece on Lessons in Sustainability from Fashion Open Studio are particularly pertinent here – firstly, that the future is upcycled and fashioned from waste. Secondly, that natural processes rule. And thirdly, that technology may just save us. You can read more on these three lines of thought here.
For the curious, Fashion Revolution offers free online courses
Now that Fashion Revolution Week 2019 has come to an end, where do we go from here? So much awareness has been generated, but what can we do with that? Where does fashion sit in this turbulent global climate? For anyone wishing to learn more about the fashion industry’s impact on people and planet, what the UN SDGs are and how they are all intrinsically linked, we recommend taking Fashion Revolution’s free online course.
Whether you label yourself as a fashion professional, an activist, a student or simply someone that is interested in fashion’s social and environmental issues, this course will be insightful, thought-provoking and equip you with practical tools and ideas to help you achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through your own wardrobe. The 4-week online course is completely free and run entirely online — so anyone, anywhere can participate. Course registration is now open.
Words: Mary-Jane Wiltsher