BWSS and MSC Join Fashion Revolution Week 2023
“We love fashion. But we don’t want our clothes to exploit people or destroy our planet. We are coming together as a global community to bring our manifesto into reality.”
– Fashion Revolution Week Manifesto
Battered Women’s Support Services, My Sister’s Closet, and Strategic Interventions are proud to take part in Fashion Revolution Week 2023!
Fashion Revolution Week is a global annual campaign bringing together the world’s largest fashion activism movement in over 75 countries from April 22-April 29, 2023.
Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) operates My Sister’s Closet, a social enterprise that advocates for zero-waste, eco-fashion, and the thrift movement. For decades, My Sister’s Closet has encouraged the apparel and textile industry towards more responsible ways of designing, producing, manufacturing, distributing, marketing, and selling their products.
We are excited to take part in Fashion Revolution Week 2023 as part of our ongoing, urgent work at the intersection of thrift fashion and ending gender-based violence.
Why Fashion Revolution Week?
According to Fashion Revolution Week: “The mainstream fashion industry is built upon the exploitation of labour and natural resources. Wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a few, and growth and profit are rewarded above all else. Big brands and retailers produce too much too fast, and manipulate us into a toxic cycle of overconsumption. Meanwhile, the majority of people that make our clothes are not paid enough to meet their basic needs, and already feel the impacts of the climate crisis – which the fashion industry fuels.”
Fashion Revolution Week 2023 marks 10 years since the Rana Plaza tragedy, one of the worst industrial disasters on record that shone a light on the horrific labour conditions faced by mostly women garment workers in the ready-made garment industry.
On 24 April 2013, the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which housed five garment factories manufacturing clothing for top global brands, killed at least 1,134 people and injured more than 2,500 others. Survivors are still suffering. Survivors like Shila Begum, whose kidneys and right hand were smashed under falling rubble. She can longer work and cannot afford to send her daughter to school, and continues her fight for compensation and justice.
Companies that manufactured goods at Rana Plaza included Walmart, the Gap, and Adidas, but most global brands denied responsibility and placed the blame on outsourced local suppliers and contractors.
Countries in the global South bear the heaviest social, gendered, and environmental burden of the fashion industry.
Like those killed and injured in the Rana Plaza disaster, millions of garment workers around Asia (known as the “garment factory of the world”) and the Caribbean – most of whom are women and girls – work for low wages in deadly work environments. This is especially true in the fast fashion industry, which is based on the model of mass-producing cheaply made, ‘of-the-moment’ items that are sold at a lower price point.
Women workers are toiling in sweatshops, where they work 14 to 16 hours per day, seven days a week, and endure labour abuse and sexual harassment. The fast fashion industry is also the third most polluting industry on earth.
Fashion Revolution Week responds to all these injustices by calling for living wages and safe working conditions for those who make our clothes; demanding a shift away from endless growth, exploitation, and ecocide in the mainstream fashion industry; and envisioning a regenerative, restorative, and revolutionary new fashion system.
How Can I Get Involved?
Given that exploitation, precarity, and feminization of poverty is disproportionately borne by women workers and producers in the fashion industry, we need to raise our voices and take feminist action for a fashion revolution!
If you share our vision for systemic change in the global fashion industry, you can join Battered Women’s Support Services, My Sister’s Closet, and Strategic Interventions in signing the manifesto for a Fashion Revolution: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/frw-2023/
You can shop in-person or online at My Sister’s Closet. As advocates of zero waste, eco-fashion and the thrift movement, we enable all genders to access beautiful new and second-hand clothing and locally made artisan creations by women. All revenue generated from sales help fund the violence prevention and intervention services and programs operated by BWSS: https://mysistersclosetvancouver.shop/