N°62 | FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK

aprile 24, 2024

N°62 | FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK

Involving some 300 million workers worldwide, the garment industry represents one of the most significant manufacturing sectors globally. Recently, this industry has gone through significant changes: the number of garments produced has almost doubled, while the average time of use of these garments has drastically reduced.

As a result, serious human problems have arisen: one concerns the environmental impact of such quantities and production rates, and the other concerns the working conditions and dignity of textile industry workers.

When a piece of clothing becomes damaged (often after only a few washing cycles), it becomes unusable and is thrown into bins dedicated to the separate collection of textiles. In Italy alone, about 143,260 tons of textile waste was delivered in 2019, corresponding to about 2.42 kg per capita. Some of these garments are recovered to be donated to people in need or sold on the second-hand market. However, most of the waste is too damaged to be reused and is therefore sent to less developed countries. Here, after minimal sorting, much of these textiles end up in landfills, where they decompose, releasing toxic substances into the soil or air through burning, causing significant damage to the environment.

Second, but not least,, is the human aspect. The now-delocalized industry involved in the production of these products does not allow for labor standards and safety as those in place in, for example, Europe. So workers work in very bad, dangerous conditions for many hours a day among harmful chemical agents, without rights and for truly miserable wages.

For this very reason, on April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building collapsed near Dhaka, Bangladesh. More than 1,100 people died and 2,500 others were injured. The collapse is one of the largest industrial accidents in history.
Images of the tragedy went around the world, prompting many people's first thoughts about the conditions under which their clothes were produced. Over the past decade, many changes have occurred: more and more people around the world are demanding transparency and improvements in the fashion industry, supporting the hashtag #whomademyclothes, which has been used nearly a million times.

Fashion Revolution Week is held annually during the week that includes April 24, the date commemorating the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. This event is organized by Fashion Revolution, a global movement that strives to promote awareness about the social and environmental impacts of manufacturing and offshoring in the textile and apparel industry. Fashion Revolution was created by two women, Orsola De Castro and Carry Somers, with the goal of promoting a clean, safe, fair and transparent fashion industry.

Sustainable or responsible fashion is the fashion industry that contrasts with everything described so far, where there is more focus on fabric characteristics such as quality and durability, and attention is placed on manufacturing and workers.

It is a different attitude to consumption, one that pushes more to reflect and be aware of what we are buying. Before rushing into a purchase, let's reason and question the origin of the clothes, try to read the labels, rather than just considering prices and patterns.

We all have a very strong power: we can ask and ask questions, we can make responsible choices.