Why You Should Pay Extra Attention To Your Clothing Tags This Week

It's a revolution.

Fashion Rule Breakers is an original A Plus Lifestyle series: Each month, we profile a fashion designer, model, organization, or icon who is a fashion rule breaker — someone who acts outside mainstream industry standards to make a positive difference.

During the week of April 22 through 29, you might notice an odd trend on social media — people wearing their shirts inside out to show their tag. No, they aren't bragging about how much they pay for certain brands or how cool they are. Rather, participants are making a statement about the need for transparency in the fashion industry

The social media movement #WhoMadeMyClothes is part of Fashion Revolution Week meant to commemorate the April 24 2013 Rana Plaza factory fire in Bangladesh, in which more than 1,100 people perished. The fire made apparent how disconnected people, and even brands, are from those who manufacture clothes and their factory working conditions. 

After the tragedy, Fashion Revolution was founded in the U.K. by Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro. Now, it's a global movement — with hubs existing in most major American cities and in countries all over the world — encouraging designers, academics, writers, business leaders, policymakers, brands, retailers, marketers, producers, makers, workers, fashion lovers, and more, to network with like-minded folk who want to know where their clothes are made, what they can do to ensure supply chain transparency, how to get policymakers to enact legislation to protect factory workers, and how to encourage brands to be more sustainable

Lifestyle Editor Sarah Barness
Lifestyle Editor Sarah Barness A Plus 

"[Fashion Revolution] is for people to have a ground zero to go to for information once they start thinking about who made my clothes and what's really happening in the fashion industry so they can start educating themselves about the different layers — whether that's environmental, whether that's human rights, labor rights — they can delve into different topics based on their interests," Lauren Fay, executive direction of Fashion Revolution USA, told A Plus. 

According to Fay, one of the goals of Fashion Revolution is to create more interconnectedness in the cities, so that people who are starting to think about these issues will have a building network and know there is a national team they can engage with through social media, workshops, conferences, etc. 

Campaigns such as #WhoMadeMyClothes also help close the gap between consumer and producer, as manufacturers and factory workers are responding to the posts with their own photos, hashtagged #IMadeYourClothes.  

Brands are invited to join the movement and to share the stories of people involved in their supply chain, and to encourage others to do the same. A wide range of retailers, from PACT Organic, to The Real Real, to Stella McCartney, are participating in a variety of ways. 

"It's important for us to get involved in this global movement that calls for a fairer, safer, cleaner, and more transparent fashion industry. We want to hold ourselves accountable as well as the industry as a whole," Karla Gallardo, co-founder and CEO of participating brand Cuyana, told A Plus. "Cuyana is a great brand to celebrate during Fashion Revolution Week because we encourage our customers to invest in pieces with longevity, which is one way to care for the environment. Being thoughtful about the way you consume is so enriching and when everything around you has a purpose and a story, you can feel a sense of a larger contribution to the clothing ecosystem." 

Cuyana's "fewer, better" philosophy for making clothes for women by women also encourages patrons to keep their closets lean, and to care about sustainable fashion. "Fashion should be accessible to everyone, but that doesn't mean you should have to compromise on quality and design. We've traveled the world to find the best materials and the most passionate craftsmen out there. Each product we create is carefully considered from beginning to end, and this fresh, accessible approach to fashion really resonates with consumers." 

Fay notes that brands have all different levels of involvement and commitment to making the fashion industry more sustainable and ethical, and says she doesn't believe in "green-shaming" any brand that may not be doing as much as another. Instead, she celebrates anyone making an effort to go green in any capacity. "I'm more of a believer in creating community around people making moves in the right direction — and that's really what we want to do, is just do better," she told A Plus. 

And certainly, there are lots of strides being made in the right direction as more and more brands hop on board the Fashion Revolution train. This year, for example, Fashion Revolution reports 36 major brands, including Burberry, Adidas, Kathmandu, and Timberland, are pledging to use 100 percent sustainable cotton by 2025. 

With brands, designers, consumers, and general world-lovers working together, we can continue to create initiatives and revolutions that inspire those in the fashion industry to close the gap between consumer and producer — something that will always be important, because the more transparency in supply chains we have, the better our world, and the people in it, will be. 

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