Having just passed the 3rd edition of Fashion Revolution Day, the 2nd for me personally, it’s time to think about the reach, the improvements and the challenges the next editions will be facing.
I cannot speak much for the 1st edition since I had only heard vaguely. At the time, I was already settled in France, already working in fashion, yet still totally unaware. I consider this to be normal since it was a brand new movement. Though I was of course aware of the events that took place in Rana Plaza in 2013, I guess I knew just as much as any regular citizen did by reading the news.
By April 2015 though, for the 2nd edition, I had already started developing my own fair trade project so I was out there looking for initiatives and people aligned to my life and new business philosophy. After doing my online research I joined the activities in Paris to find out the meaning behind this movement. It was basically a conference, held on a work day, sharing some interesting information and inspiring projects cases working to make a better fashion industry. This, plus the #whomademyclothes call on social networks. Though the content shared during this conference was rather good, the audience was pretty small. A couple of reasons? To begin with, (let’s be honest) media doesn’t find the subject very appealing so the majority of population are just unaware, then… an event hold during the 9 to 5 working routine? That excludes basically everyone if not for students and independents that can make the time. It seemed the #whomademyclothes open call worked pretty well though, again, a couple of reasons? One: it’s easy and you can do it from wherever, two: people are into selfies.
Then 2016 arrived! In this 3rd edition I was glad to see what I consider to be a big improvement. First, the Fashion Revolution Day turned into a Fashion Revolution Week! This is great not only because it gives us the chance to do more, but it gives people the chance to join for a bit even if they have complicated agendas. Let’s not forget that ultimate goal is to create awareness to make ethical the standard, to do so, we must reach as much people as possible.
This year in Paris there was no conference; there was a film projection, a fashion show, two ethical pop-stores, and a party! Not all organized by the same collective, but all within the same objective, it is all an addition for the good. Since the activities were somehow more “fun” media responded better this year as well. Thumbs up for the improvements!
But the question remains, how to make it BIGGER for next year? Because, here’s the thing:
While moving from one activity to another during the whole week, I would actually run into the same people doing about my same itinerary, most of us involved one way or another with sustainable fashion. In very few cases (mostly at the pop up stores) I would see people that randomly came in and discovered the movement. Even if they did have a first approach to what it means to develop fashion sustainably, how can we make this connection last until next year? Also, most of my fashion ex colleagues are still far away from this concept.
It is true that we are challenged to reach the regular consumer but how are we going to make it if the future fashion industry shapers are not committed or at least educated on the matter? My first thought is that fashion schools should seriously consider setting sustainable fashion as course. Come on, it could at least be an elective course.
Finally, I was pleasantly surprised by how Peru responded to the challenge this year: with conferences? Yes; with social media selfies? Of course; but most importantly, with decentralization. The AMSP Peru started their activities last year by showcasing the film “The True Cost”, smart, as you don’t need much economical resources for it and… let’s face it, people are more likely to stay captivated by a film than by a speech. Also, because the “The True Cost” is a documentary that shows both the ugly and the possibilities of redemption, I think it is the kind of material that can change your mindset for the good. So, for this Fashion Revolution edition, they made an open call for schools, collectives, or regular people, based wherever in the country to organize themselves to showcase this film (they provided the material), it didn’t matter how small your crowd (as long as you had a crowd). This is effective in mainly two ways: first, your reach is obviously larger; second, by inviting people that would normally be involved as spectators to take the leading role… they are twice committed. The result: five cities (besides Lima) organized their own Fashion Revolution intervention. How cool is that? Take note of this French committee!
Let’s remember that the objective of Fashion Revolution is BIG, the road is long, and so, all ideas are welcome for discussion! The question arises: How the make the impact BIGGER?