A Craft and Design perspective for Fashion Revolution Week #WhoMadeMyClothes
Micro-breweries, mini gin distilleries in people’s living rooms and garden sheds, independent coffee shops, delis, specialist bakeries, and boutique chocolate shops…These are just a few of the businesses appearing in the food sector, redefining provenance as they take the world by storm with stories of places, of ethically sourced ingredients, of handcrafted yummibles and of people behind the counters (and sometimes in front of them) who have a genuine passion for their wares and know the journey of their coffee beans or cocoa or grain from plant to plate.
Why am I talking about food, you might be wondering? Put simply, everybody eats. Food is vital, and immediately relatable. But the phenomenon we have experienced in the food and drinks industries over recent years, the revolution in small companies who excel at what they do, who pride themselves on the quality and knowledge of their work, is also increasingly true across retail. The human cost of production in unsafe facilities, with under-paid and over-worked workers is abhorrent, and many are rejecting companies that lack transparency in their production lines for those who can guarantee the ethical background of their products.
Fashion Revolution is one such organisation, founded in the wake of the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 that killed 1,134 and injured over 2,500. They campaign for transparency by encouraging consumers across the world to ask their favourite brands #WHOMADEMYCLOTHES ? On April 24th – the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster – each year Fashion Revolution Week begins, a week to unite people around the world who envisage fashion as a catalyst for change and who stand up against unethical and dangerous production within the industry. Join them this week and ask #WHOMADEMYCLOTHES
Fashion Revolution isn’t alone. Organisations such as ProvenanceHQ are similarly spurring responsibility and transparency in business by providing the technology to tell a production story from start to finish, and integrating this openness into the core of the company’s ethos and appeal. Companies across the world are under increasing scrutiny and pressure to produce work in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, and to be transparent in their dealings.
Meanwhile the British Fashion Council ran Estethica from 2006-2013 which made it possible to celebrate fashion businesses which were socially and environmentally sustainable. It has more recently been replaced by Positive Fashion, with a wider brief including diversification and inclusivity within the fashion world. Their 2017 brief places emphasis on Sustainability, Diversity and exploring the potential for local manufacture and craftsmanship. They are also developing a Designer Manufacturers Database to make it easier for fashion businesses to identify ethical supply chains, all based within the UK.
Sourcing work and makers locally not only cuts down on the carbon footprint and makes it easier to verify the conditions of the workers and equipment, but it also creates sustainable opportunities within the local economy, and increases the possibilities of forging lasting relationships which are fulfilling for all parties concerned.
Stepping away from mass-production lines, sourcing your manufacturers is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the creative and productive input that can be sourced locally. Designer Makers based across the country offer unique collaborative possibilities, enabling businesses both big and small to tap into a wealth of expertise, innovation and exclusive designs, by those who know their disciplines intimately. Limited edition collections, bespoke prints, whatever you are looking for, working directly with designers and makers you can watch as this becomes a reality, sharing a creative experience. The British craft industry is exceptional, and in keeping with renewed commitment to sustainability, innovation, diversity, local manufacture, quality and craftsmanship, are the collaborative opportunities they offer really something you can afford to pass up?
British craft is at the forefront of ethical, sustainable, transparent and high quality work, and we are honoured to work alongside some of the craft and design community’s most authentic members. Designer makers who take pride in their work, who have spent years honing and pushing their techniques, who honour the materials they use and take the time to source them, whether they use wood felled from certain forests, or wool from flocks of sheep in a certain region, whether they use found objects as the centrepieces for their jewellery, or travel across the country in search of the best gemstones. Many are inspired by their surroundings, many choose to honour nature over artifice, using natural undyed fibres, or highlighting the plight of local endangered species, and prioritising zero-waste practice wherever possible. Sample some of their work at www.craftdesignhouse.com …
We know who made our coffee mugs. Do you know who made yours?
If you found this post interesting then please share it.