Published on April 28, 2014 | by Kate Lismore

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Fashion Revolution Day: A Year On From Rana Plaza

The ‘Fash Mob’ show off their protest labels, designed by LCC graphics students

Thursday 24 April marked the 1st anniversary of the disaster at Rana Plaza which killed 1,138 and injured 2,500 workers in a factory in Bangladesh.  The factory that was built on marshy land, was poorly constructed and had reports of serious cracking at the foundation just days before the earthquake caused the building to collapse.

Students from UAL organized a ‘Fash Mob’ – a protest march from Oxford Street to Carnaby Street – starting at LCF John Prince’s Street, to commemorate Fashion Revolution Day. The ‘Fash Mob’ was co-hosted by Evolving Fashion UAL, #INSIDEOUT and LCC graphic design students. The initiative has also had support from celebrities including Olympic medallist Louis Smith, actress Jane Horrocks and Livia Firth, businesswoman and wife of Oscar winning actor Colin Firth.

Fashion Revolution Day is an initiative aimed at educating shoppers about their power as a consumer to force retailers to be transparent about how their products are made and the working conditions of their staff.

Sara an MA fashion and sustainability student at LCF said #INSIDEOUT was a great way to make people more aware about the issues with mass-produced clothes:

“The idea is to ask people about the brands they are wearing, to encourage them to turn their clothes inside out and take a ‘selfie’ using the hashtag #INSIDEOUT. Brands will do anything the public demands, so if they start demanding transparency- that is what will happen.”

There has been significant tightening of safety initiatives in Bangladesh, with high street brands Mango and H&M signing a contract called the Bangladesh Safety Accord, to make independent safety inspections mandatory in garment factories.

By asking people, ‘Who Made Your Clothes?’ ‘Fash Mob’ organisers aimed to get people thinking about the people behind the stitching, in the hope of finally getting compensation for those affected by the Rana Plaza disaster. #INSIDEOUT was the ‘Fash Mob’s’ way of creating and promoting the event through social media.

M&S is currently the ‘most ethical’ high street brand with others such as Primark donating around 8 million US Dollars to the victim’s compensation fund.

The ‘Fash Mob’ start their march towards Carnaby Street.

The mood was positive and the protesters were keen to share their message with the public. Amanda Johnston, an associate lecturer at LCF said:

 “I passionately believe that the only change is going to come through the consumer. When the consumer cares about what they buy that will have impact on what’s actually produced.”

As the ‘Fash Mob’ marched to meet the press at Carnaby Street a separate group raising awareness on Fashion Revolution day protesting for the victims of Rana Plaza saw activists chain themselves to the doors of The United Colors of Benetton. Closing their main Oxford Street store entirely. The display was in protest of Benetton’s refusal to contribute to the Rana Plaza compensation fund, despite having clothing produced in the factory.

These protesters asked passersby to Tweet: “@Benetton #payup for the victims of #RanaPlaza it is long overdue!” They caused quite a stir, and confused many tourists attempting to shop at the store.

Protesters raise awareness by chaining themselves to the Benetton doors.

Using bicycle locks to make sure they can’t be moved. Protesters raise awareness about the Rana Plaza victims.

 

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