Montage of images of people promoting Fashion Revolution.

Fashion Revolution – creating an industry worthy of our love

Fashion Revolution Founder/Director Orsola de Castro answers our questions.

Fashion Revolution is now in its third year. We wanted to find out how it fits in with the aims of Love Your Clothes.

How would you describe Fashion Revolution to people who are new to the movement? What are its aims?

Fashion Revolution is a global movement in 89 countries. We have created a worldwide platform which we can all use to ask questions, raise standards and set an industry-wide example of what better looks like.

The movement is made up of designers, brands, retailers, press, producers, academics, organisations and charities calling for systemic reform of the fashion supply chain. Whilst much has been done by individual organisations over the years to bring about change, Fashion Revolution provides a platform for best practice initiatives from across the supply chain. Everything from Fairtrade, which focuses on the cotton farmer at the beginning of the supply chain, to the designers finding creative ways to reduce waste.

We know that the pressures and complexities of our global fashion industry make sustainability difficult to achieve, but by collaborating and collecting evidence, and by working alongside experts, Fashion Revolution will showcase realistic sustainable solutions and translate them into a reality that works for fashion.

Fashion Revolution is now in its third year. How has it developed since you started? What is your main focus this year?

Fashion Revolution has become a catalyst for change through a number of routes. We want to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion and its impact at every stage in the process of production and consumption; show the world that change is possible through celebrating those involved in creating a more sustainable future; bring people together the length of the value chain to ask questions and share best practice; and work towards long-term industry-wide change, getting consensus from the entire supply chain around what changes need to happen.

This year, we are introducing Fashion Revolution Week, from 18th to 24th April 2016, and brands and retailers will be challenged to take responsibility for the individuals and communities on which their business depends. By taking an inside-out selfie, posting it on social media and asking the brand Who Made My Clothes? people around the world can show support for greater transparency throughout the fashion supply chain.

Much of the fashion industry is burying its head in the sand. Fashion Revolution is a global movement and we will bring the message straight from the cotton farmer, the mill dyer, the seamstress, the knitter, the weaver directly to the consumer, to show the truth, to show where change needs to happen, and how we, as consumers, can make a difference. For real change to happen, every part of the supply chain has to make a commitment to change, and that includes us.

Fashion Revolution was inspired by supply chain issues, but how does this tie in with issues around sustainability and the way we consume clothes?

We are all an active part of the solution if we choose to act differently and make changes in the way we interpret and buy our clothes. By influencing the public to make better buying choices, by creating awareness and a sense of fulfilment in becoming a part of a movement for change, the public can play a part in ensuring a fairer industry.

Your How To Be A Fashion Revolutionary booklet highlights “mindset” – how we think about clothes – as one of the things that needs to change. Can we really expect fashionistas to give up fast fashion?

We don't want fashionistas to give up fashion! We are absolutely anti-boycott, anti-shaming. We want to encourage people to love fashion, to understand fashion, to appreciate fashion. We are a totally pro-fashion protest. But we want to see an industry worthy of our love and respect, an industry that is socially and environmentally aware, and respects its garment workers.

Fashion Revolution events this year include The Upcycle Project and Late Night Charity Shopping. How important are upcycling and charity shopping as an alternative to fast fashion?

With a global crisis related to the dumping of our clothes to developing countries and the loss of local crafts and skills this has generated (not forgetting the sheer amount of second hand clothing that is incinerated or landfilled because it cannot be recycled), we need to intervene at that level: it is incredibly important. To me, buying from charity stores, mending, customising and upcycling have become more than a fashion look – it's a political statement.

We love your #haulternative themes this year – creative ideas for not buying new. Can you see a time when these ideas become mainstream? And what impact would this have on the fashion industry?

Well, considering H&M has been “inspired” by our haulternative idea for its #hmrehaul, I would say our idea is already pretty mainstream!

What’s the best way for people to get involved in Fashion Revolution week?

Download our How To Be A Fashion Revolutionary booklet, do a Haulternative, Be curious, find out, do something and ask the brands #whomademyclothes. That's a good start.

Orsola de Castro