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The story begins on 24th April 2013, the day the Rana Plaza disaster happened in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 1,130 people were killed; 2,500 more were injured. In the aftermath of the collapse, almost every newspaper was calling for a more ethical fashion industry. The revolution has to start somewhere: driven by their love for the artisanship and beautifully made garment, Carry Somers and Orsola De Castro had just declared The Fashion Revolution.

Their lever of change? The instant language of immersive fashion experiences —the 2€ Tee-shirt Experience for instance, and its 7,609,418 views. Without shaming the consumer or making them feel guilty, Fashion Revolution loves to tell the true story behind what we wear. And taking fashion more seriously seems to give conscious to clothing. It may be the only way to bring joy and beauty back into fashion. Isn't it time for a Fashion Revolution?
What is sold 2€ in the Western world cost lives in the Third World. It seems that the sweatshops and the problems we used to experience on our lands decades ago have just been exported into others places. Would you say that fashion can be a tool for social progress? Or is it just impulsing negative impacts?
Fashion can undoubtedly be used as a tool for social change, and many independent brands are showing how this can be achieved through sustainable and ethical business practices. Before I founded Fashion Revolution, I was founder and director of Pachacuti and over more than two decades we monitored how our fair trade practices made a difference not just to our producer groups, but to their families and wider communities. Some large fashion brands and retailers are leading the way in terms of social progress and showing how social and environmental responsibility can be incorporated into business policies and procedures. The garment industry has the potential to raise millions of people, particularly women, out of poverty, but they need decent, safe and dignified jobs and they need to receive a living wage.
Fashion is intrinsically looking for the latest, for exclusivity. Those are its driving forces. To what extent is it compatible with a more sustainable approach of clothing? 
We must start changing consumer habits and slowing down the current cycle of fast fashion in production and waste, both of which are unsustainable. Everyone wears clothes. Fashion Revolution is encouraging everybody to wear clothes as an instrument of change, using personal style as a political statement. We launched the Haulternative last year, with YouTube vloggers including Noodlerella, CutiePieMarzia, Shameless Maya and Bip Ling. It’s a different kind of haul; a way of refreshing your wardrobe without buying new clothes, from up-cycling to swaps to finding gems in charity shops. We call it the #haulternative. We had almost 2 million views of the #haulternative videos online last year. This year we again had some top bloggers and vloggers posting videos, and we are asking fashion lovers from all over the world to join in and create their own haulternative videos. We hope that this will inspire consumers with other ways of buying and experiencing clothes.
How much social medias are essential to spread your statement? 
Social media is an easy way for customers to contact brands and ask them #whomademyclothes and also an easy and immediate way for brands to respond and demonstrate transparency. Social media also gives visibility to the producers throughout the supply chain through out new hashtag this year #imadeyourclothes. However, Fashion Revolution is not just a hashtag campaign and we use many channels beyond social media. #whomademyclothes is an important question as we can’t start to tackle social or environmental exploitation unless we can see it. We can then start to dig deeper and ask those other questions which desperately need answering. What are their pay and working conditions like? What are the environmental consequences of clothing’s manufacture? Could things be better? Are things better? And what can we do if we don’t like what we find?

What resonances have you noticed on the consumers trends?
The Globescan Corporate Responsibility Radar 2016 found that transparency is a critical driver of trust in business. According to the report, being seen as open and honest is the most significant driver of trust, yet consumers across the world rated the performance of companies poorly for “being open and honest.” Answering the question #whomademyclothes requires transparency, and this implies honesty, openness, communication and accountability. This information also needs to be made available to the consumer in a way which informs and educates and starts to rebuild public trust in the fashion industry. We are certainly seeing a shift towards transparency in the fashion industry. Some of the reasons for this is undoubtedly due to new legislation and protection of brand reputation. However, I believe we are seeing greater levels of disclosure mainly because citizens around the world are holding brands to account. In September the Business of Fashion published The 10 Commandments of New Consumerism outlining the 10 factors that define new consumerism, and what this change in shopping habits could mean for fashion brands and retailers. Coming in at number 1 is Provide Transparency Into Your Business Practices. 
What can fashion lovers do to take action? After Rana Plaza disaster, some people called for brands boycott while others disagreed as it would cut the resources from an entire population.
We’re not asking people to boycott their favourite stores, we need to change the fashion industry from within. By asking the brands and retailers where we like to shop “Who Made My Clothes?” we can put pressure on them to be more transparent about their supply chains.We want people around the world to show their label, post a photograph on social media, tag the brand and ask the question #whomademyclothes. By doing this, we are applying pressure in the form of a perfectly reasonable question that brands and retailers should be able to answer. We are asking them to publicly acknowledge the people who make our clothes. Brands’ advertising and PR strategies rarely acknowledge that the clothes they sell have been made by thousands of people working in factories, fields and other hidden places around the world... If fashion lovers want to take action, there are plenty of ideas in our How to Be A Fashion Revolutionary guide. 
Fashion Revolution is about to launch a new fashion fanzine. Can you tell more about it?
Fashion Revolution is collaborating with Microfinance Opportunities on The Garment Worker Diaries project which will provide an unparalleled level of detail into the daily lives of garment workers in Cambodia, India and Bangladesh. On-the-ground research partners are meeting with 540 garment workers on a weekly basis for an entire year. We are planning to share the data through several ways but initial analysis will be featured in the Money Fashion Power fanzine, which will launch in January. Through 72-pages of poetry, illustration, photography, graphic design and editorial, this collectible zine explores the hidden stories behind your clothing, what the price you pay for fashion means, and how your purchasing power can make a positive difference. Our exciting list of contributors includes artists, illustrators, animators, embroiderers and many submissions from the Fashion Revolution community across the world.
There is this idea that consuming fairly may be a privilege. When discussing fair trade, sustainability and consumption with friends, the strongest argument raised against it was that some of Primark or H&M's consumers have low income and can't afford it. What do you think of that?
Three quarters of those questioned in a YouGov/Global Poverty Project survey said they would be likely to pay an extra 5% for their clothes if there was a guarantee workers were being paid fairly and working in safe conditions. It has been estimated that putting as little as 25p onto the cost of a garment made in Bangladesh would provide the producers with a living wage and pay for factories to meeting fire and building safety standards. Is this too much to pay to ensure the next cheap garment you buy has not been made at someone else’s cost?

Doria Arkoun

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