Like many people, I’ve known myself to buy and love clothes from Zara and H&M stores. Some pieces, I still own after all these years. I loved them without having second thoughts, naively thinking that, for what it’s worth, at least the people who made them had been able to be employed.
When I started working for a fabric making business in Montreal back in 2016, I had no idea of the impact the clothing we wear could have on our planet or on the humans who made them.
At the time, I worked for a person who had made the choice to solely produce fabrics from organic fibers, here, in Montreal. This choice had been made in the early 2000s, as an effort to save a dying industry suffocating at the hands of more profitable markets at the other end of the world. Sadly, this remarkably brave choice didn’t pay off on the long run, but the fifteen-year hustle is well worth mentioning.
Hence the starting point of my many questions regarding the textile industry, along with some of our customers sharing outlooks and opinions, fuelling my thought process even more. As I researched the topic in depth, I stumbled upon The True Cost, : A shocking documentary unveiling the obscure reality of fast fashion, triggered by none other than the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh. I will further discuss this horrific event as you read on, but I still remember how grief-stricken I was, as I sat in my appartement on St-Joseph street.
Following this fashion revelation, I discovered Fashion Revolution: a splendid website for those seeking further knowledge and understanding. Fashion Revolution is an organization founded in England after the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, causing the tragic deaths of over 1000 textile workers, for the most part women. This production center was held in a vile building that hosted thousands of workers who worked for big world renown fast fashion brands, gaining nothing but inhumane conditions and unspeakably low wages in return. In a nutshell, the Rana Plaza was one in thousands of sweat shops that still operate worldwide, including in Canada and in the USA.
Fashion Revolution aims to inform the public on the impact and the dangers associated to the fast fashion industry, but also to promote fine craftmanship and other forms of sustainable, humane production alternatives. The organization initiated the Fashion Revolution week that occurs every year, in memory of the Rana Plaza tragedy. The event starts on the 23rd of April this year.
« Who made my clothes? » is the question Fashion Revolution recommends we ask our favourite brands. A key question that sheds light on the root of the issue. Fashion Revolution’s request is for large fashion brands to offer more transparency and provide more humane working conditions for all employees of the fashion industry. A few of their fanzines are available for free download on their website.
Among so many others, I recommend Riverblue a great documentary, or Fibershed, a book by Rebecca Burgess. Fibershed organization also recommends loads of worthy resources that can be accessed for free on their website.
If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen an article we recently shared (in french only). We loved it so much that we’re linking it here
Du charbon dans le coton - Pourquoi la mode doit réduire sa production
It sheds light on the importance of reducing textile production worldwide in order to respect the 2° threshold concurred during the Paris Agreement for Climate in 2015.
Before giving you few easy suggestions to rewire how we think about fashion, here is who, at Montloup, makes your fabrics!
Repair: Learn (or relearn?) how to mend the clothing we love rather than throwing them out.
Reuse: Why buy a new version of something we already own? Why not reflect on ways to use it in a whole new way?
Reflect: Reflect on the carbon impact of the garments we wear. Rebecca Burgess proves, in her amazing book Fibershed, that it is possible to produce carbon neutral wool.
Rethink: Reconsider your clothing’s lifespan in circular motion rather than a linear one, by taking into account the way it was produced, but also how it will be disposed of.
Having said all this, with 2021 already being vibrant with challenges, I bought myself a ticket to participate to the Sustainable Fashion Forum that will take place from April 20th to 24th. If you wish to join, it’s right this way.
Enjoy the journey!