3 Ways To Fire Fashion Revolution In Your Wardrobe

By Mariana Kirova

You probably have already heard about the growing Fashion Revolution movementIt began after 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed on 24 April 2013.

On one of the floors, clothing factory workers were forced to continue working despite the warnings how dangerous this building becomes for the workers. And this was not an isolated case. This article is telling more about the dreadful human story behind the clothes we wear today.

Fashion Revolution movement rises to gather and encourages people to ask fashion brands one simple question: “Who Made My Clothes?”. Last year, in over 70 countries around the world, tens of thousands of people took part in Fashion Revolution Day, 24 April (resource: FashionRevolution.org).

You also can ask fashion brands “Who made my clothes” and show that you care, thus you want better for the people who make your clothes. Send an email to the fashion brand you see on your clothes and ask the question. Check for the template at the bottom of the Fashion Revolution home page.

Different kinds of events are held by Fashion Revolution activists around the globe. Check about your country here.

This year I went to one of the few eco & ethical fashion related events here in Perth. This year Fashion Revolution Day event was a panel discussion about the ethical and fair trade relations that local designers build with third world craft communities and suppliers. It's very encouraging to see that local professionals care and produce their brand clothing responsibly in fair trade manner.

See the definitions of all these terms in this article.

The Fashion Revolution Day event on 24 April 2016

in Fremantle, Perth WA

Some organisations dig really deep, hence inform and make the mindset shifting possible when comes to how fashion is produced. Check this year Oxfam report about the transparency of the Australian fashion brands and their overseas suppliers (a detailed report is available as a downloadable file).

Now, lets head to firing your very own Fashion Revolution and the 3 ways you can start it today!

Way #1: Change Your Consumer Habits

Here are 5 simple tips to start the revolution in your wardrobe:

1. Buy Less

Buy less and ONLY when you NEED the certain garment. I can’t stress enough on this. The over-consumerism is the new philosophy we are being taught that is “right”. If you want to know more have a look at this awesome movie “The Story Of Stuff” at the Story Of Stuff project website. I promise, you’ll spend the best 20 mins learning some serious facts while being entertained;) Even created in 2007 for America, this movie is more relevant today for all of us than ever before. Make sure you don’t miss it!

2. Buy Natural & Eco

Buy clothes made from natural and organic or renewable fibres, like organic cotton, hemp, linen, silk, bamboo.

3. Look For Quality

I doubt I need to convince you that purchasing something a bit more expensive is better than buying the cheapest option. We all know this is true for clothing than ever!

However, don’t forget that generally more expensive garments will be most likely made from better, long lasting materials and will probably also have better design that lasts, high-end finishes, better fit and comfort when worn. Only few of those pieces worth more than any big pile of cheap ready-to-throw-in-two-washings clothing, don't you think?

4. Purchase Locally Made

Purchase locally made clothes from a local designer is beneficial in many incredible ways. Three of them are as follows. First, gives a chance to local designers to exists and sustain their small business. Second, gives local community opportunity to thrive, which surely creates the best environment for you and your family to live good life. And third, local buy cuts off the long transportation. Despite being convenient, logistics could be hidden yet very big modern world harm that exhausts Earth’s resources without us noticing it.

5. Buy From Vintage, Charity Or Op-shops

This tip should be first following our Eco Fashion Sewing blog's philosophy. But still many people are put off when hear the words “second hand clothing”. I agree, experience in the different countries is different in regards to charity shops (in some not that pleasant). Therefore, I’m placing this tip last on the list. Nevertheless, please consider that option and you'll do great good to reducing the over-consumption and to saving our nature from textile pollution.

Today my wardrobe consists of more than 95% thrifted clothing, accessories and footwear. This is my personal choice to make something and add my small bit of reducing textile waste. If we don't buy it, they'll need to produce less...

I recently learned from friends about this warehouse in my area. All clothes that can't sell in the charity shops of this chain, come back here. The picture shows only about 1/10 of the actual size of the place. I must tell, all of the clothes had so much life to live yet! Seeing this wasn't easy to comprehend. I definitely think it's time every one of us to take their own part of the responsibility what and why is going to the landfills...

Slow Fashion Mindset

Some independent designers show their social and eco awareness on how fashion is produced and how often should be offered by embracing the slow fashion idea.

Coined by sustainability expert Kate Fletcher in 2007, the term "slow fashion" was used when fashion was compared to food industry. Having enormously fast, up to 4-6-week cycle offering of the next “new fashion trend”, fast fashion reminds a lot of fast food. The harm that fast fashion brings to the planet is not much different than what fast food does to the human body.

As a result our clothes don't have the same value as the clothes used to have for your mothers and grandmothers. Our garments seem meaningless to us.

The fancy “new trend” today easy becomes an unappreciated rag tomorrow that lost its “soul” incredibly fast. Have you ever thought that this only reflects what we have turned into, fast consuming creatures? Is this really the way you want to exist?

Anyway, it's never late to fix this. Simply by changing your behaviour and buying habits. Keep in mind, every single action counts! And makes the change...

Have a look on Kate Fletcher’s research project the “Craft of Use” about how people from different countries treat their clothing. These real life stories from all over the world are showing what else we can do instead of keep hunting for the next meaningless buy.

Way #2: What To Do When No Longer Loved?

We all experience it sometimes. We just don’t want that outfit anymore.

Here are 3 simple tips to make your Fashion Revolution happening if that's the case:

  • Pass forward! Give it to close friend or relative. Should be someone close to you that won’t be offended if you offer them your no longer fitting you jacket.
  • Donate! To your local charity shop, organisation, church group, community centre… the list can be long. Learn what’s near you and donate all clothes that are in good wearable condition to those who need them more than you do.
  • Swap! Swapping is quite popular in some areas. If you like that option, search for clothes swaps in your area. They all have slightly different requirement, but generally they ask you to bring number of your clothes with appealing design and very good quality. At the event you can choose from what other swappers have been brought and there’s a good chance for you to go home with new appealing article. Usually there’s an entrance fee to cover the costs of the event.

Way #3: Get The Best Of Your Unloved Clothing - rework it, connect to it and keep it!

The best way to make the Fashion Revolution in your wardrobe is to re-design the clothes you haven’t wear for quite a while. You already liked them once, therefore ended up buying them. You like either the material or the colour. Now you only need to figure out how to re-design or combine them. Our essential eGuide can help you out. It's especially made to boost your designing skills and upcycling techniques awareness.

If you still don’t have the sewing skills, a sewing friend or a local sewing group can give you lots of support in this (but also keep up with us, there's more to come!). Whatever the constrains, don't give up! There is a lot of joy in making a piece of beautiful clothing of your own and learning how to do it is definitely worth it.

The Slow Clothing Project

I recently found a wonderful virtual community of makers from all over Australia, gathered by Jane Milburn in her Slow Clothing Project. Jane is creator and owner of Textile Beat and this year involves more than 130 Australian makers in her project.

Jane’s commitment and dedication are extraordinary and truly inspiring! We all need to cherish people like her who make such efforts to keep our community consciousness alive. Visit Jane's Textile Beat website here.

We all can learn a lot from what Jane is being doing for years to rise awareness and encourage sustainable clothing choices. Read more about Jane's stories of natural fibres and slow clothing here.

When I understood about Jane’s project, I instantly felt I want to be part of it. Australians fashion mindset is mostly turned onto over-consuming big international brands or whatever cheapest is available.

When it comes to apparel, all these options like buy less, locally made or upcycle at home, are still alien here, especially in Western Australia.

The Slow Clothing Project gave me hope and I was extremely happy when my application was accepted! So, now I’m designing a cotton garment for it and I promise when time comes to share everything about it and what happened;)

​To your passion for starting your fashion revolution,

Mariana

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Mariana Kirova

Mariana is passionate about garment upcycling and helping others to make their own upcycled clothing. Graduated with Award in garment construction from WAIFT, Perth WA, Mariana is not a main stream eco fashion designer. She makes unique eco-friendly garments from unwanted clothes and materials and believes that small fashion professionals and DIY sewers can embrace sustainability in garment creation, thus changing the fashion world for good.

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