How the Movement Who Made My Clothes Got Started

Who began the "Who Made My Clothes" movement, why was it started, what is its significance, and what is its influence?

Colorful clothes are hanging on rack
Photo by Nick de Partee on Unsplash

The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in 2013 sparked the "Who Made My Clothes" movement.

It not only killed 1,138 Bangladeshi garment workers and injured 2,500 more but also removed the blinkers on a capitalist fast fashion industry that should be termed crapitalist.

An industry in which global brand owners believe it is okay to pay a pittance to offshore manufacturing employees while passing on a minuscule percentage of the savings to the public and stuffing their own hand-polished pockets with the lion's share of the pie.

Who Got Started the "Who Made My Clothes" Movement?

This global movement involving over 100 nations was founded in 2013 in England by two ladies, Orsola de Castro, and Carry Somers.

Orsola has a background as an internationally known expert in a sustainable fashion.

Prior to this, she worked as a designer for the pioneering upcycling label From Somewhere, which was founded in 1997 and lasted until 2014.

At London Fashion Week in 2006, she co-founded the British Fashion Council program Estethica, which she curated until 2014.

Carry Somers, co-founder, was moved to act following the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh in 2013. Carry's fashion label Pachacuti has pioneered radical supply chain transparency for the last 20 years, tracking the GPS locations of each stage of the production process, from the community plantations where the straw grows to each Panama hat weaver's residence.

Her creations, which championed the traditions, quality, and craftsmanship of the Andes, were presented in London, Paris, and Milan Fashion Weeks and sold in some of the world's finest luxury retailers.

What Sparked the "Who Made My Clothes" Movement?

With experience at the forefront of sustainable fashion, Orsolo and Carry were ideally positioned to lead the charge for a more equitable, safer, and transparent fashion sector.

Their objective was to bring together everyone in the fashion business, including designers, makers, distributors, and wearers, to change how clothing is obtained, produced, and consumed.

The only way to turn the sector into something resembling workability is for the entire value chain - from farmer to consumer - to work together.

The aim was to inspire change in a notorious sector for prioritizing profit over people, the environment, and innovation.

Fashion Revolution is self-described as "pro-fashion protesters," and they praise fashion while examining industry practices and raising awareness of the industry's most pressing challenges.

No specific companies are named and shamed because they believe that the entire sector, not individuals, should be held accountable.

Brands are encouraged to recognize that they have the ability to effect positive change. Therefore, they oppose boycotting for the obvious reason that it is ineffectual in achieving structural change.

What Is the Meaning of the "Who Made My Clothes" Movement?

The movement has gained such traction that alternatively worded posters such as #Imadeyourclothes are now being used by the producers whose working conditions have improved since Fashion Revolution's inception.

Sharing campaign assets and messages via social media is another activity that can be taken. There is also a list of event suggestions that the public can arrange.

The Manifesto of the Ten-Point Fashion Revolution

The ten-point Fashion Revolution manifesto is a collection of policies and goals for the fashion business. Of course, it will take time to become a reality, but it is long overdue.

1. Dignified work in fashion, from conception to creation to catwalk. Nobody is enslaved, endangered, exploited, overworked, harassed, abused, or discriminated against. Instead, fashion liberates both the worker and the wearer, empowering everyone to fight for their rights.

2. Fair and equitable pay in the fashion industry. It improves the lives of everyone involved in the sector, from the farm to the shop floor. Fashion lifts people out of poverty, builds vibrant societies, and fulfills dreams.

3. For fashion to offer people a voice, allowing them to speak up without fear, unite in unity without repression, and bargain for better working and community conditions.

4. Fashion must honor culture and heritage. It encourages, recognizes, and rewards ability and workmanship. It views creativity as its most valuable asset. Fashion never appropriates without proper attribution or steals without permission. Fashion pays tribute to the artisan.

5. Fashion, regardless of color, class, gender, age, shape, or ability, represents solidarity, inclusiveness, and democracy. Furthermore, it promotes variety as essential to success.

6. Fashion helps to protect and restore the environment. It does not deplete valuable resources, ruin our soil, pollute our air and water, or endanger our health. Instead, fashion safeguards the well-being of all living beings and our different environments.

7. Fashion never destroys or discards unnecessarily but instead redesigns and recuperates in a circular fashion. Fashion is reused, recycled, and upcycled. As a result, our closets and landfills are not overflowing with clothes that are wanted but not appreciated, purchased but not worn.

8. Fashion is accountable and open. Fashion appreciates simplicity and does not hide behind complexities or rely on trade secrets to create value. Anyone, anywhere, may discover how, where, by whom, and under what conditions their apparel is manufactured.

9. More than simply sales and profits, measure fashion success. Fashion prioritizes financial prosperity, personal well-being, and environmental sustainability.

10. Fashion is about expressing, delighting, reflecting, protesting, comforting, commiserating, and sharing. Fashion never oppresses, demeans, degrades, marginalizes, or compromises. Instead, fashion is a celebration of life.