The Fashion Revolution Movement Has Officially Hit Miami
At the end of April 2017, Miami launched its first official Fashion Revolution event. I was invited by Karina Gonzalez- a kindhearted, passionate Eco-preneur, and founder of the Trunk Collective- an online marketplace for sustainable, fair trade, cruelty free brands from around the world that give back. The event was anchored by a panel on sustainable fashion, in the context of a clothing swap and pop-up shops by local designers and entrepreneurs of this segment.
So what is the “Fashion Revolution” and why should you care about it?
Fashion Revolution is a global, non- profit organization that was founded in London 3 years ago. It was founded in response to the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh by Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro. The key purpose is to campaign for a cleaner, safer, fairer, more transparent, and more accountable fashion and textiles industry.
I know, I know, another negative subject related to inhumanity and unenforced policies that no one wants to think about. With innocent children dying from chemical warfare in Syria, hunger and disease in Africa, human trafficking, the list of atrocities is endless and often times pushed way in the back on our minds.
One could even make a case that the modern day slavery and environmental degradation linked to high volume/low cost garment production is trivial next to other human rights ignominies. Nevertheless, the volume of affected workers is huge (estimated at around 30M) and the environmental impact is surprisingly harsh (it is the second most polluting industry after oil. Furthermore, we are talking about a situation that we as Western consumers drive and support, and thus have the capacity to influence through our purchasing power. Fashion is no longer what is was 40 or even 20 years ago. Today, fast fashion changes every 2 weeks, including offers so cheap we sometimes buy just because we can, only to leave it in the back of the closet.
In sum, there is waste related to our purchase patterns, and injustice and opaqueness within the supply chain. The brands themselves often times do not know the details of the factory they outsourced the work to, and are even less aware of the welfare of the workers, and if waste is being disposed as per polices. The Fashion Revolution sets out to change practices with a focus on inciting transparency throughout all levels of the fashion industry supply chain.
What about this uniquely formatted event?
In spite of the heavy subject, the actual event was fun and uplifting! The eclectic beauty and authenticity of this event is yet another sign that Miami is moving towards becoming a much more conscientious, forward thinking city. The Love Life Wellness Center and their delicious vegan café was the perfect setting to swap clothes, drink wine, and make new friends. The panel featured below expertly presented the topic of sustainable fashion, the principals of the campaign of the Fashion Revolution, and what we as consumers can do to help through our purchasing power and our voices.
So who are they? Much more than what I can include in this article today, but there will be more to come. They are all passionate entrepreneurs within the fields of sustainable fashion and/or green living. Karelle Levy of KRELwear, Veronica Pesantes of The Onikas , Coleen Coughlin of The Full Edit, Karina Gonzalez from Trunk Collective and Valeria Hinojosa of Water Thru Skin. The dynamic team was brought together by Natalia Orquera, of Marialovesgreen.
I learned many new and interesting things from this panel of passionate and knowledgeable women. I went in with no knowledge of the campaign or of the subject, but I left inspired to watch the documentary The True Cost, and to make some changes in my habits and to spread the word. What I most appreciated, was such positive encouragement of small changes in consumption habits and respect for diversity in beliefs and practices. It’s wise to recognize that small gestures and simple awareness contributes to a collective consciousness and this alone is part of a powerful catalyst for change. And you don't have to be a vegan or an eco-freak to make a difference and be part of this.
What I mean by small contributions is that simply deciding to buy an article of clothing at a consignment store, or Poshmark, or renting a dress vs buying for an event contributes to slowing down consumption and building awareness for the cause. And when someone pays you a compliment it, you can proudly explain what prompted you to not buy it new: Hey, I’m doing my part for the revolution..
In reality ALL contributions, either big or small have been simplified through a hyper-organized and user friendly library of tools located on the FR intranet. I suggest at least a quick peek at http://fashionrevolution.org/get-involved/ways-for-everyone-to-get-involved/. The total package is so well put together, that any PR or marketing professional can appreciate the project as extraordinary. It’s also bursting with interesting articles and databases as well as fun ideas for social media and resources for revamping your clothes.
The key message during the Fashion Revolution week (April 24-29) is that by simply asking the question- “who made my clothes?” to the brands we buy, we can make a difference to incite reform. Super easy to do on Instagram..
I cannot say how happy I was to have attended this event. Besides the informative panel, the clothing swap was fun, the flowing Whispering Angel was delightful, and it was exciting to have access to designers and their work at the pre-launch stage (more to come in a future post). In sum, I feel lucky to have been introduced to a movement where individuals can have an impact just by changing a thought pattern- think before buying, and ask questions…
I leave you with the quote below that is something I think about after having attended this event.
BUY LESS, CHOOSE WELL, AND MAKE IT LAST- Vivianne Westwood