Fashion Revolution Week: The Transparency Index | Public Fibre | Sustainable, Ethical & Conscious Brands.
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Fashion Revolution Week: from H&M to Balenciaga – how transparent are your favourite fashion brands?

Fashion Revolution Week focuses on the transparency of the fashion industry, aiming to use this information to enact change across the industry;

from how the materials that make our clothes are sourced, produced, and consumed to what happens at the end of the cycle.

Image courtesy of The Fashion Revolution

The Fashion Revolution movement started after 1,138 people died at the Rana Plaza factory disaster, an eight-story garment factory collapse in Dhaka District, Bangladesh on 24th April 2013. The week is a remembrance of that tragedy and an acknowledgement of the need to change the industry; why should the people who make our clothes be under such danger so we can buy a new outfit every week? This week-long event is the Fashion Revolution’s ‘Fashion Week’, but their work stretches far beyond this throughout the year.

 

A global network of people throughout the industry: from designers, academics and policymakers to brands, retailers and the fashion-lovers (yes, that’s you and me). They celebrate fashion as a positive influence whilst also scrutinising industry practices and raising awareness of the fashion industry’s most pressing issues; from sustainability and transparency to ethical practice and conscious design – themes that we at public fibre exists to promote.

 

Self proclaimed “pro-fashion protestors” Fashion Revolution want to become a force for good, “by shining a light on the industry, whilst being bold, provocative, inquisitive, accessible and inclusive.” They avoid, protesting and victimising with a view that negativity will not facilitate the right change. The aim is to draw attention onto the entire industry and the need for change by everyone involved. They want to “unite people and organisations to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way.” 

The Fashion Revolution movement started after 1,138 people died at the Rana Plaza factory disaster, an eight-story garment factory collapse in Dhaka District, Bangladesh on 24th April 2013. The week is a remembrance of that tragedy and an acknowledgement of the need to change the industry; why should the people who make our clothes be under such danger so we can buy a new outfit every week? This week-long event is the Fashion Revolution’s ‘Fashion Week’, but their work stretches far beyond this throughout the year.

 

A global network of people throughout the industry: from designers, academics and policymakers to brands, retailers and the fashion-lovers (yes, that’s you and me). They celebrate fashion as a positive influence whilst also scrutinising industry practices and raising awareness of the fashion industry’s most pressing issues; from sustainability and transparency to ethical practice and conscious design – themes that we at public fibre exists to promote.

 

Self proclaimed “pro-fashion protestors” Fashion Revolution want to become a force for good, “by shining a light on the industry, whilst being bold, provocative, inquisitive, accessible and inclusive.” They avoid, protesting and victimising with a view that negativity will not facilitate the right change. The aim is to draw attention onto the entire industry and the need for change by everyone involved. They want to “unite people and organisations to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way.” 

 

Image courtesy of the Fashion Revolution

So far the week has shared a rich amount of information, from insightful conversations with innovative and conscious designers such as Christopher Raeburn, to sharing interesting and eye opening facts on the fashion industry – did you know that an estimated 150 billion items of clothing are produced annually (Kirchain, R., Olivetti, E., & Greene, S. (2015)?

On day 2 of Fashion Revolution Week, the Fashion Revolution team released the 2020 Fashion Transparency Index, a review and ranking of the world’s largest brands and how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impact – in short, how transparent they are with what they do (seems nonsensical, but the industry hasn’t been held accountable for some time). The Transparency Index is an extremely insightful document that we recommend anyone reads, you may be surprised to see some of your favourite brands names included on there for better or for worse.

Rated using a points system which thoroughly reviews brand’s practices, from Animal Welfare to Human Rights and Environmental policies across their supply chain, the report is extremely thorough. We’ve provided a quick round up of the key findings from the Fashion Revolution Transparency index below.

Image courtesy of The Fashion Revolution
  • H&M is the highest scoring brand this year (73%) followed by C&A (70%) Adidas and Reebok (69%), Esprit (64%) and then Marks & Spencer tied with Patagonia (60%). Gucci is the highest scoring luxury brand (48%).

  • 101 out of 250 brands (40%) are publishing their first-tier manufacturers, up from 35% in 2019. These places do the cutting, sewing and finishing of garments in the final stages of production. 

  • 60 out of 250 brands (24%) are publishing some of their processing facilities, up from 19% in 2019. These places do the ginning and spinning yarn, knitting and weaving fabrics, dyeing and wet processing, leather tanneries, embroidering and embellishing, fabric finishing, dyeing and printing and laundering.

  • 18 out of 250 brands (7%) are publishing some of their raw material suppliers, up from 5% in 2019. These suppliers provide brands and their manufacturers further down the chain with raw materials such as cotton, wool, viscose, hides, rubber, dyes, metals and so on.

  • The majority of brands and retailers lack transparency on social and environmental issues.

 

How much fashion do we produce and consume? Image courtesy of The Fashion Revolution Instagram. Sources: 1. Laitala, K., Grimstad Klepp, I., & Henry, B. (2018) 2. Textile Exchange (2019) 3. Kirchain, R., Olivetti, E., & Greene, S. (2015) 4.Euromonitor (2017)
The importance of transparency. Image courtesy of The Fashion Revolution.

Despite positive change being shown, Fashion Revolution state they are still yet to see brands regularly report on the outcomes, results and progress of the policies they are making. Brands are sharing the policies but not the results that address social and environmental issues across their business and throughout supply chain.  It’s a positive step, but more change and proof of change needs to be seen.

 

Overall, some great insights into the fashion industry, where we are now, where we need to be and what we can be doing. Continue to follow the week and the organisation on their Instagram @fash_rev and The Fashion Revolution website for more information on the sustainable, the ethical and the conscious.

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