Black Friday represents a sore spot in an industry that runs on overproduction. We won't be taking part. We've teamed up with Fashion Revolution to support the cause.
We spoke to Orsola, Founder and Creative Director of the movement, to find out more about their Black Friday initiative, and why it's so important...
Tell us about you, your history with fashion and why you decided to create Fashion Revolution?
“The original idea for Fashion Revolution came from our cofounder, Carry Somers, who called me as soon as the thought popped into her head. Carry and I had long walked on the same journey as part of a group of committed designer activists in London. Many of us met and collaborated with each other at Estethica, the hub that I co-curated for the British Fashion Council at London Fashion Week. So, Fashion Revolution as the global movement, was born officially as a result of the Rana plaza collapse in 2013, but really, we are a group of committed fashion professionals who have been campaigning in some way or another a long time. And the rest as they say, is history. Our hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes? has been used millions of times, and we are now one of the biggest, if not the biggest, fashion activism movement in the world, with a presence in 92 countries globally.”
As a brand, we’re on a path to create more responsibly and are excited to be a part of your campaign this Black Friday. With more brands withdrawing from this sales period, what can we all achieve together?
“Black Friday is typically thought to signal the start of the holiday shopping season. By offering big discounts and drumming up a sort of frenzy amongst consumers, brands often lead people to purchase things they don’t really value that end up being treated as disposable. We aren’t calling for an end to consumption, but we’re trying to create a mindset shift, whereby we more carefully consider the lifecycle of the things we buy and only purchase products we’ll treasure for years to come. Instead of incentivising customers with large discounts, we hope that brands communicate to their customers the idea that loved clothes last.”
How do you think we can all be better consumers when it comes to buying fashion?
“Simple! Let's look at the etymology of the word ‘consume’. From the Latin word ‘consumere’ it actually means to wear out, to wear something until it falls apart. So if we all consumed, we wouldn't have this problem whereby clothes are discarded long before they are well worn. In a nutshell, longevity and care are the issue. If we buy for love and treat our clothes as if we mean to keep them, we would be defying this system based on speed.”
What does the money you raise go towards doing within the industry?
“Fashion Revolution creates change by raising awareness about issues in the fashion industry, educating citizens and creating tools for them to take action on these issues as well as amplifying the voices and perspectives of producers along the supply chain. We do this through in-house research and industry advocacy, such as our Fashion Transparency Index and Freedom Fund Report, as well as our creative campaigns and amazing global network. In 2020, we mobilised more than 44,000 people to ask brands #WhoMadeMyClothes and we’ve delivered a free online course to more than 25,000 learners. This fundraiser helps us keep driving these changes into the year to come and beyond.”
What is your vision for Fashion Revolution and what can both brands and consumers do right now to help?
“The vision would be a world where the Revolution wouldn’t be needed at all, because it would have already happened. There are several things that consumers can do, from buying less, to mending and repairing the clothes they already have to make them last as long as possible, or look at the secondary market by buying second hand, swapping and sharing. There is only one thing that brands need to do, and that's to stop exploiting their supply chain workers and the planet's finite natural resources. Because ultimately that is what choice should be about, and brands should provide their customers with an ample choice of clothes that are affordable and afford workers a dignified lifestyle, and regenerate rather than deplete the environment we all share.”
As part of our monthly charitable partnerships, for November, we will be joining forces with Fashion Revolution. We plan to donate 5% of our sales over the Black Friday weekend to support them towards funding the work they do in campaigning for a fair, safe and transparent fashion industry.
Find out more about our Black Friday pledge here.