Ethical fashion became a main factor of those advocating for fairer fashion after the 2013 Rana Plaza Disaster in which over 1000 garment workers lost their lives. When discussing ethical fashion, it’s important to know who the key players are, what tools they use to create results and what those results are.
A global organisation created as a direct result of the Rana Plaza Disaster. They campaign for ‘a clean, safe, fair, transparent and accountable fashion industry’ using ‘research, education, collaboration and advocacy’.
Every year, they host ‘Fashion Revolution Week’ where ethical fashion advocates from around the world come together to create a better fashion industry. This event takes place around the 24th of April, the date of the Rana Plaza Disaster.
From their online presence alone, they have gathered over 500 million impressions on social media posts using the ‘who made my clothes’ hashtag with over 2000 brands responding with ‘I made your clothes’.
Fashion Revolution Week has been monumental, particularly in 2020, where not only did people ask, ‘who made my clothes’, they demanded brands ‘Pay Up’ to the factories where they had cancelled orders due to the global lockdowns.
The ‘Pay Up’ campaign was created by another key player pushing ethical fashion forward, Remake.
A community of ‘designers, feminists and all-round fashion aficionados’ who advocate for a fairer fashion industry. Founded by Ayesha Barenblat, they campaign for living wages, gender and climate justice and long-term systemic change.
With many brands taking advantage of consumers want for fairer fashion, many are turning to green washing to stay relevant. This can really compromise existing, ethical fashion brands. By using experts in Human Rights, climate, water and waste experts, they evaluate the data that brands publicly share and determine their impact so consumers can decide whether they want to support them or not.
Pay Up is a social media hashtag that spread widely through ethical fashion advocates and many other organisations at the start of the pandemic. Due to the closure of most stores, many brands cancelled orders from their factories, however the factories had already produced the mass amounts of clothing and therefore where unable to cover costings or the wages of their garment workers which roughly equated to $16 billion worth of goods.
The Pay Up campaign success story was featured in Vogue, arguably one of the most influential fashion magazines to exist. The campaign has unlocked $4,840,000,000 in unpaid contracts and has had over 270,000 people sign the original Pay Up petition asking brands to pay their factories what they owe.
Though there are still 21 brands yet to pay up, the sheer exposure of this campaign has been a massive win for ethical fashion and shown consumers the real face of fast fashion.
The Clean Clothes Campaign is one of the longest standing organisations aiming to ‘improve working conditions and empower workers in the garment and sportswear industries’.
They have worked to ensure the rights of workers are respected since 1989, educating consumers, lobbying companies and governments whilst providing support to workers who are fighting for their own rights and better working conditions.
This is precisely how the Pay Up campaign came into action. Clean Clothes Campaign began the first Pay Up hashtag after the Rana Plaza Disaster when brands were refusing to support the families of those killed in the tragic accident.
Their Rana Plaza Pay Up campaign led to the set-up of the Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund, in which they met their target of $30 million in compensation for the families. This helped to grant over 5,000 awards to support families and workers suffering as a result of the disaster.