FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK 2019, Where do we stand?
You may already know that the Week of April 24th every year is called the fashion revolution week.
On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. The building contained clothing factories that were producing garments for some big-name fashion brands. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making the event one of the deadliest garment-factory accidents in history.
At the time of this event, I was working as a buyer in the construction industry and never thought one day my contribution to the fashion world would be a bit more than a customer. Till then I haven’t even given much thought about what or who is behind the beautiful clothes I have had the joy of purchasing.
The collapse of Rana Plaza was like a wakeup call.
It made me think more about what makes the cheap 5 Euro shirt so cheap and that it is probably not all due to the production efficiency and optimized manufacturing methods, maybe the cheap price is coming to me at the cost of someone’s dignity, safety, and freedom. I did not want to have a share in that process.
I became a more conscious consumer and I started to investigate brands more before buying from them. I started to learn more about different fabrics and their impact on the environment.
I learned and that styling what I have properly, choosing clothes that are right for my body shape and lifestyle, and going for colours that match my skin tone will eventually make me buy less, but higher quality clothes. Not to mention the power of accessories and how you can lift up a simple shirt just by adding a scarf or jewellery that has been hiding in the wardrobe since the beginning of the century.
I am still learning.
When I started Narosib in 2018, I knew I wanted to produce in a sustainable ethical way.
It may cost more to manufacture when you pay people a fair wage and work in a condition that causes less damage to the environment but that is the only human way to go forward.
We have chosen North of Italy for producing our scarves. We work with several manufacturers in the region who follow the same work ethics.
Not that anything is wrong with manufacturing in low-cost countries. I admire the brands who create jobs and help the economy in less privileged parts of the world through eco-friendly and fair production, but with the resources and possibilities we have at Narosib, I have considered manufacturing somewhere physically close.
Somewhere which may not be perfect, but still has a lower risk of exploitations due to the regulations imposed.
And luckily that “somewhere” happened to be in a region famous for being the heart of premium textile manufacturing for the last centuries.
We don’t use polyester in our scarves because it is one of the most unsustainable fabrics imaginable. Only natural biodegradable fabrics are used in our scarves. However, it must be said that we don’t condemn the use of Polyester, there is already so much polyester in the world and kudos to the brands that are using recycled polyester in their manufacturing.
We try to use environmentally friendly packaging. Our packaging has changed a lot in the last months. We send our orders in recycled plastic poly bags and try to use as less plastic as we can in packaging.
I would have loved to ditch the polybag but so far haven’t been able to find a reliable waterproof replacement that can guaranty safe delivery of our sensitive garments to our customers. I would welcome recommendations for anyone who knows of better options.
And being totally honest, we do not (yet!) have 100% control over every aspect of the supply chain that starts from the mulberry leaves being fed to the silkworms to the yarns and eventually the end product.
Our impact might be small, but we can at least control the parts of the process that we can.Step by step we shall learn more about how to be better.
And last but not least, we are a family owned/ female run business. Even most of the freelancers who have provided their service to Narosib (and continue to do so!) are females. Daughters, mothers, wives, sisters, cousins, and girlfriends but also proud professionals at the same time.
Narosib has been blessed with tremendous support from the female community and empowering women will always stay as the focal part of our business.
So, ladies and (possibly) gentlemen! Fashion revolution week 2019 is coming to an end but the change has just started.
Education is the key to the change: I invite you to investigate more and be a conscious educated consumer. What do you think?
If you like to learn more about the impact of fashion on our planet and its people you can have a look at the following resources:
The Fashion revolution organisation
Stacey Dooley Investigates: Are your clothes wrecking the planet?
True Cost :A documentary film by Andrew Morgan about the people who make clothes for the fashion industry.
Justin Leconte is a French fashion designer based in Berlin who also has a channel on YouTube. You will get addicted to her short, engaging but super informative videos on a diverse range of topics such as fashion, style, design and more.
**Photo by Alena Koval from Pexels