Lalesso + Fashion Revolution Day
Interview by Nicole Danielle
Nicole Danielle: Tell us a bit about Fashion Revolution.
Olivia Kennaway: Fashion Revolution was started as a result of the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh which killed 1133 garment factory workers and injured another 2500. This factory produces clothes for well-known high street retailers. Fashion Revolution is about saying enough is enough. We, as consumers, have the power to make a change and we have a responsibility to do so too. It’s about asking the retail giants: "Who made this garment? Was it made under fair conditions? Is the person who made it paid a fair living wage?"
N: What is the main aim of Fashion Revolution Day?
O: The main aim of #fashrev is really to get consumers on board and for them to take responsibility for what they are consuming and passing this on to retailers. If as consumers we simply do not tolerate factories using substandard conditions then eventually the retailers will be forced to change. Fashion Revolution Day falls on the anniversary of the day the Rana Plaza collapsed (24th of April) and honours the lives that were sacrificed to fast fashion consumerism and gives everyone who has come on board with the movement, the means to get their voice heard.
N: Why did you personally decide to join the Fashion Revolution South Africa committee?
O: Lalesso, since its inception, has always been committed to ethical fashion, to sustainable production methods and improving the quality of living for those we work with. We were absolutely devastated about the Rana Plaza incident and when Fashion Revolution was started we could not wait to jump on board. It supports everything we stand for and what I particularly find so powerful is that it’s a global movement. There are over 70 countries involved and it really has the power to get the message across.
N: Last Fashion Revolution Day you wore your clothes inside out, which I’m sure turned many heads on the street!
O: The idea of wearing your clothes inside out on Fashion Revolution Day is to show the label which indicates where your garment was made. It has a double purpose though – when you wear your garment inside out strangers will go out of their way to tell you your clothes are inside out and this is the perfect opportunity to engage in conversation about why you are doing it. You tell them about the revolution and hopefully get them to join.
N: How is South Africa celebrating International Fashion Revolution Day?
O: When we were brainstorming about what to do on the day we felt it was important that we targeted everybody – from students to everyday consumers, from media to industry players. From 9:00am until 13:00pm we will be hosting workshops and talks at the Bello Studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. This is open to the public and the aim is to educate people on methods of sustainable and ethical fashion, why it is important and examples of businesses already doing it. In the afternoon we will be hosting the media for a preview of the 24 portraits exhibition and the Roots to Retail fashion film. The media obviously play a crucial role in getting the message out to consumers. In the evening we will be presenting the 24 portraits exhibition and the Roots to Retails fashion film to industry players at a champagne and canapé affair (all eco of course). On top of all of this we will be doing a huge social media drive and getting everyone to wear their clothes inside out and more. It’s also a chance for South Africa to show the rest of the world that we are really serious about this and that we want in on the revolution!
N: How does one become part of the Fashion Revolution?
O: Change the way you shop! Buy local, ask your retailers who made your clothes, be curious, have a voice, take responsibility. This can happen all year round. On the day get on the social media train. Last year #fashrev was the highest trending topic on Twitter for that day. The key hashtags are #whomademyclothes and #fashrev. Link with @fash_rev on social media platforms so you can see what the rest of the world is doing. And of course wear your clothes inside out so you can start spreading the message too!