“We cannot continue to extract dwindling resources from an already stressed natural world,” Fashion Revolution says
Global campaign group Fashion Revolution is calling on the industry and governments to recognise the interconnection between human rights and the rights of nature as part of its annual global campaign.
The campaign will run from 19-25 April and coincides with the eighth anniversary of the Rana Plaza industrial tragedy in Bangladesh. The non-profit believes we need a radical shift in our relationships—with each other, with our clothes, within fashion supply chains and with the natural world—so that the rights of people and the rights of nature hold more of the power wherever decisions are being made.
Fashion Revolution argues that the human exploitation and ecosystem degradation we see all around us today are the product of centuries of colonialism and globalised exploitation, stemming from a western-focused worldview in which human and environmental prosperity are seen as isolated and disconnected from each other.
With garment production predicted to grow by 81% by 2030, according to the OECD Garment Forum, there is an ever-growing demand for agricultural land to produce cotton, viscose, wool, rubber, leather hides and other natural fibres. 150 million trees are logged every year to be turned into cellulosic fabrics, such as viscose, and cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in the Amazon, Fashion Revolution says, adding cutting down forests leads to habitat loss and makes the risk of disease transmission from wildlife to humans more likely, increasing the risk of future pandemics.
“Some of the most severe and exploitative working conditions and worst environmental damage happens deep within fashion supply chains where materials are grown and fabrics are made, as evidenced by recent revelations of forced labour of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region of China,” says Fashion Revolution. “The time has come to demand a deeper level of transparency, to ask not only #WhoMadeMyClothes but #WhoMadeMyFabric and who grows the cotton.”
Fashion Revolution will be campaigning for a revolution in the way the industry works, for the health of the earth and the oceans, and for our own prosperity and wellbeing.
“We cannot continue to extract dwindling resources from an already stressed natural world, pollute our land and our oceans, fall far short of climate change targets, dump our waste on the shoulders of countries we have culturally depleted and ignore inequality and human rights abuses in every part of the industry,” it says.
Over the course of the week, Fashion Revolution will host live panel discussions, webinars, and social conversations. It will also host a Q&A in partnership with the Victoria & Albert Museum today (19 April) and showcase the studios of 33 designers from 21 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia and South America to highlight sustainable innovation, indigenous craftsmanship, local cultural heritage, regenerative and equitable business models and new technology.
Fashion Revolution launched a campaign for greater transparency beyond Tier 1 supply chains last month, arguing millions around the world are working in often poor conditions to make the fabrics in the clothes we wear.