Fashion Revolution Week: Who Made My Clothes?
Day 2 of Fashion Revolution Week
Fashion Revolution has a question for us all. Who Made Our Clothes? The idea is to give a voice to the humans behind our clothing. And to ask brands for more transparency, about who really made our clothes.
Ok let's talk sweat shops. I know fast fashion brands would like us to believe that their workers are all happy, and working for a decent living wage. But the reality is a lot different.
"The fashion industry is a significant contributor to gender inequality in many forms, with nearly 1 in 3 female garment workers having experienced sexual harassment in the past 12 months. And harassment isn’t the only aspect of their work garment workers have to fear. The Garment Worker Diaries project has found that less than half of the workers in their Bangladesh sample felt safe in their factories and 40% reported seeing a fire in their workplace."
"Around the world, the people who make our clothes predominantly live in poverty, lacking a living wage or the freedom to negotiate for their pay and working conditions. According to the Global Slavery Index (2018), the garment industry is the second most predominant sector driving modern slavery." - Fashion Revolution
These are facts that cannot be ignored or brushed under the carpet any longer. The fact the fashion industry is the second most predominant sector driving modern slavery, is beyond shocking. In the 21st century how is it right that slavery still exists, and worse it's being used to make the clothes on our backs?
So for today's post I thought I would share with you some of my favourite small designers who do actually make our clothes, or work closely with garment workers and compensate them fairly. Because while much of the fashion industry is incredibly toxic, there are plenty of good eggs out there who deserve our support!
Birdsong are a London based brand, who create brilliantly bold clothing. All the clothing is made by talented local women, who face barriers to work, for a London living wage. Birdsong aren't afraid to let their clothes do the talking, with catchy slogan tees such as this Dress in Protest one, or their fab Still European shirt created around the referendum.
Ilk and Ernie take left over fabric from the fashion industry and turn it in to stunning modern pieces. Be sure to check out their overalls, jumpsuits and suits, these babes really know how to create a bold all in one look.
If you're looking for celestial themed clothing, look no further than Mary Benson. Ethically made in London using deadstock fabric, Mary's clothes are truly one of a kind. Glam rock meets 70's boho meets space traveller vibes!
Olivia Annabelle ethically create gorgeous pieces that aren't afraid of pattern and statement tailoring. I love their hand designed silk scarves, and their Florence Nightingale Tee raising money for the NHS
Slow Garments create super flattering bikinis, swimsuits, lingerie and dresses from recycled plastic, carpets, and fishing nets. Ethically made in England, and this brand is also very affordable!
A long time favourite on my blog, Adorned offer beautiful boho clothes for ethical hippies. They sell a mixture of fair trade items, which other the makers a living wage, and upcycled second hand items, that are lovingly crafted by Margarita and Sarah, the mother and daughter behind the brand. Adorned are currently closed while they catch up with orders, that have doubled during COVID, but they'll be back soon!
Brighton Lace produce the most gorgeous lingerie. It's an all female team, based in Brighton, UK behind the brand, and everyone is paid fairly for their highly skilled work. They also send any fabric scraps to Brighton fashion students so they are zero to landfill. I once modelled for them, which was a hell of a lot of fun!
Garden of Heathens create fun festival clothing, from recycled materials which they source in India. They work closely with a small team in India and everyone is paid fairly. I brought this top last Summer at Green Gathering festival, and can tell it's going to be a festi fave for years to come.
Out Of The Ordinary Clothing create stunning collections that are rooted in extraordinary fabrics. They source stunning printed fabrics from around the world and create small sustainable collections with them. They work closely with family artisans to create employment that is both socially and environmentally sustainable.
The Emperor's Old Clothes create fun funky fashion from vintage and limited fabrics, which are ever changing but always beautiful. Everything is handmade and one of a kind, and they are a living wage employer based in Brighton. Creating truly unique clothing in sizes 4 - 28.
Cosmic Drifters create the dreamiest witch wear I have ever seen. Designed and handmade in the UK, in sizes 4 - 22. Each dress in the range is available to be made in the full range of witchy printed fabrics, which are also designed by Cosmic Drifters. So you have the ability to customise your clothes to your own taste, which I love.
Plus Equals create the most amazing, colourful, fun fashion for people sizes 14-42 and made to measure. All handmade here in the UK, they offer unapologetic gender fluid, loud clothing for plus size people. Something the ethical and sustainable market is incredibly short on. I love their stand out clothing, and they made an appearance in my Halloween shoot.
This just a short list of some of the brands I love and that inspire me. I think they are all proof that the fashion industry can change, and offer real hope to the people that work within it. All of these brands have an empowering relationship with not only their customers, and the people who wear their clothes, but the people who work to make their clothes. And all of these brands are more than happy to tell you Who Made My Clothes?
Shame we can't say the same for many of the retailers on our high street or making millions online. If you want to demand more transparency from brands send them an email, following Fashion Revolution's format which you can find here, and demand they tell you Who Made My Clothes?!
PS. All the photos of the brands clothing were taken from the brands Instagram, except the ones of me wearing the clothes.