By SIMONE O’CONNOR
Miley Cyrus. That snapchat. Photos from your parent’s recent trip to Bali.
Some things remain better hidden. The factories where our clothes are made isn’t one of them.
As part of their Ethical Fashion Season 3things, an initiative of Oxfam Australia, recently released #hidden – a campaign that calls on labels and brands to fess up and release the location of their clothing factories. Our tags may read ‘Made in Bangladesh’ but that’s about all the information we are being given, and that’s not okay.
It’s been over 20 years since we first started using the lingo ‘sweatshop’ and the truth is that we’ve known for a while that these types of working environments exist. We know that workers, mostly women, are being exploited in the making of our clothes. And although companies say they conduct regular audits these remain confidential, making it impossible for us to know if safety issues are being adequately addressed. Rana Plaza had been inspected and deemed safe 3 times before the factory collapse in 2013. And while some big wigs like K-Mart have jumped on-board the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord there is still a long way to go in turning fast and disposable fashion on its head.
Despite funding cuts to Ethical Clothing Australia, and some stores releasing 65 new styles per week April has been a huge month for ethical and sustainable fashion in Australia. Sydney hosted Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Cleancut held MBFW’s first ‘green runway’ and fashion revolution had people in over 55 countries turning #insideout to commemorate the anniversary of Rana Plaza. Things tides are a changing and we need to support these movements to ensure ethical fashion doesn’t become just another fad.
So what would it really take to transform the fashion industry? Is it even possible?
Well, according to the panellists at the 3things Cheap and Dirty Breakfast, that change is possible, and it needs to be driven from the inside out.