Fashion Revolution shares key concerns of TCBL: "We believe that fashion can be made in a safe, clean and beautiful way. Where creativity, quality, environment and people are valued equally." Their main yearly event commemorates the Rana Plaza disaster: "On 24 April every year, Fashion Revolution Day brings people from all over the world together to use the power of fashion to change the story for the people who make the world’s clothes and accessories." Their main campaign concept is #whomademyclothes: a call for transparency where people are invited to ask brands who made the clothes they wear.
TCBL could help local factories and tailors answer that question, participating actively in Fashion Revolution Week (18-24 April) with our own approach to the issue, ie be giving value to local production. How many TCBL pilots (or potential pilots) are able to say to interested citizens "I made (or could have made) your clothes"? Let's give them visibility!
We could organise, in each of the pilot territories, a network of open house events. Textile and garment factories could open their doors (say for one day in the week) and let citizens see how their clothes are made and talk to those who make them. Retail outlets using local production could host "meet your maker" events, set up a bulletin board with photos of their local suppliers' factories and factory workers, and tell them stories about how their clothes are made, ideally inviting a local factory worker or tailor to the shop.
Let's show our local citizens what beautiful and impressive machinery produces textiles, what careful stitching goes into their garments, and the value of quality textiles and clothing. Let's tell stories about how their clothes are designed and the love and passion that goes into making them. Let's show customers why decent, locally produced clothing costs its fair price (and why a €10 skirt should make them suspicious). Are factories too busy to open their doors? Think of the positive marketing campaign they get in return (and the value that similar initiatives have brought to industries such as wine making). Let them know that Twitter has registered 63 million impressions of the hashtag #whomademyclothes...
Are any TCBL partners interested in organising such a "TCBL answers Fashion Revolution" week? Here are some ideas to be part of the movement:
- Connect and coordinate with Fashion Revolution. First, see if there's a Country Coordinator for where you are here: http://fashionrevolution.org/get-involved/countries. There's already news and plans for events in participating countries for 2016, and you can get some ideas of things you could do together with them.
- See what resources Fashion Revolution can offer you at http://fashionrevolution.org/resources/, and also at http://fashionrevolution.org/get-involved/ways-for-everyone-to-get-involved/. You can mix these resources with the communication and information resources of TCBL (we'll be adding some to our communication pack soon) as part of your plan.
- Decide how much time and energy you can dedicate to organizing your week. At minimum, you can focus on the basic Fashion Revolution Week participation: enlist some names, wear your clothes inside out, post selfies with the #whomademyclothes hashtag. To add the TCBL touch, one idea is to hang a bulletin board with the 7 TCBL principles, and artisans, citizens, industrialists, buyers, etc. can pin their calling cards to the board as a way of signing up.
- Some partners are planning more intensive events, such as the type of open house at one or two factories as mentioned above. If you want to do that, you should make a census of your local artisans and factories, see who's interested, plan open houses throughout the week, make a map for customers and citizens, and hit the social networks.
- Whatever you decide to do, let us know so we can give you visibility and let others know as well. For the TCBL community, post a comment in reply to this post with your plans and then don't forget to report your activities on the Recent Activity blog. Let your Fashion Revolution Country Coordinator know as well, using the contact form at: http://fashionrevolution.org/contact.
We know this is short notice, but let's do what we can to show our support. Certainly next year we can plan something more structured. From our first contacts with some "best practice" factories, it looks like the idea of a coordinated Open House week like this could develop into something interesting.