Last year I attended an amazing event where I got to learn more about fast and slow fashion, watch The True Cost Documentary, and learn how to support the Maquila Solidarity Network. The event I attended was held in Kelowna, British Columbia and was put on by Julianne McLaren. If you haven’t seen The True Cost documentary, and aren’t sure what the problems are with fast fashion, I highly suggest you watch the documentary here.
One of the biggest problems is that fast fashion retailers exploit their manufacturers in developing countries. Workers (usually women and often children too) make clothes in often horrible conditions, for very little pay and many workers have died in factory collapses. One of the more well-known factory collapses was the Rana Plaza collapse of 2013 in Bangladesh. It killed 1,134 garment workers. Again, many facilities are simply not built well and threaten the lives of the people who make our clothes. The True Cost Documentary talks a lot about these and other issues and hardships facing fast fashion garment workers today.
The following is a quote from the Maquila Solidarity Network website:
“The Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) is a labour and women’s rights organization that supports the efforts of workers in global supply chains to win improved wages and working conditions and greater respect for their rights.
MSN works with women’s and labour rights organizations, primarily in Central America and Mexico, on cases of worker rights violations and on joint projects and initiatives focused on systemic issues in the garment industry.
At the international level, MSN collaborates with the Clean Clothes Campaign and other counterpart organizations on labour rights issues in global supply chains, including increased transparency and public access to information on where and under what conditions apparel and other textile products are made. As a witness signatory to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, we support the Accord’s efforts to improve worker safety in garment factories in that country.”
For a full list of the types of work that MSN does, click here.
View this post on Instagram
👀Watch this space in the very near future for more information about the impact of Fashion Revolution Week 2018 — which we will collate after a proper rest (yes, unbelievable but true, team Fashion Revolution will be laying low, taking hot baths, sleeping and recuperating for a bit). 🛁 😴Stay tuned to discover what we will be up to over the next few months. We have some projects in the pipeline that we’re super excited to share with you!⚡️💝 Fashion Revolution Week 2018 may be over, but we work all year long to make fashion better. Over the summer we'll be working on fanzine #3, launching an online course, creating more creative tutorials and resources, and planning the fourth-edition of our Fashion Transparency Index, which will look at even more brands! Find out how you can support our ongoing work by subscribing to our newsletter (link in bio)
A post shared by Fashion Revolution (@fash_rev) on
There are two ways you can support the Maquila Solidarity Network. First of all, you can donate directly to the Maquila Solidarity Network by visiting this page of the MSN website. You can choose to make a one time donation or you can donate monthly. You can even donate in someone’s name as a gift.
Another way to help support MSN is to host a fundraising event. The whole reason I found out about MSN was because I was invited to a fundraising event by Julianne McLaren. Julianne is very passionate about the slow fashion movement and so she put on a very successful event. She rented a small movie theatre and held a showing of The True Cost Documentary. After we all watched the documentary and had snacks, she talked to us about how the Maquila Solidarity Network is helping protect the rights of garment workers in Central America and Mexico. She also gave everyone a list of where to buy fair trade clothing in our city and online. Everyone donated to MSN and it was a very inspiring event. I interviewed Julianne about the event and this is what she had to say:
View this post on Instagram
The clothing industry sucks. 👎🏼The majority of clothes you buy in regular clothing shops are made of polyester &other man made materials which are really just types of plastic♻️These kinds of plastic fabric breakdown in your washing machine & every time you wash your clothes, more micro plastics go down your drains & into the ocean. Not only that but creating those fabrics burns fossil fuels.🌊 🤢 👚 The vast majority of clothing shops in your local mall exploit the people who make their clothes. The reason your clothes are so cheap is because the people who made your clothes are not being paid fair wages.👎🏼Furthermore they’re being put at risk for the horrible working conditions they’re forced to endure. Watch @truecostmovie to learn more about this. 👖 I’m so proud to say that in the last 2 years or so – I haven’t bought any piece of clothing that isn’t fair trade, made of eco friendly fabric OR that’s been found at a thrift store. 👚 I love thrift & vintage stores because they allow me to buy straight out of the waste stream cuz let’s face it – people throw out a fuck ton of clothes every year, when instead they could be repurposing or donating them. 👖 I still own clothes I bought years ago from unethical places & I still buy thrifted clothes made from polyester. To help you create less microfibres & waste when you wash your clothes, make sure to really fill up your washing machine all the way – only wash in full loads. Better yet invest in @thecoraball which catches microfibres in your machine. 👚 When your clothes get ripped, mend them yourself or visit a seamstress. When you no longer want to wear your own clothes, hold a clothing swap with some friends or donate to a thrift shop. Only buy items that you absolutely love & that will last you. Repurpose worn clothes & make them into new things like blankets, pillows & bags. 👖 Also be sure to check out the Maquila Solidarity Network online to find out how they’re helping women in clothing factories fight for their rights around the 🌎. And don’t forget to follow @fash_rev for more tips. 👗 Skirt from thrift shop @goodbyefolk here in CDMX. 📷 Mexico City 🇲🇽📍Náhuatl & Mexihcah Land 2018
A post shared by APRIL ✈ JUSTLEAVINGFOOTPRINTS (@aprilveralynn) on
Julianne McLaren runs a Facebook group called, ‘Fair Trade Clothing: Hope for Garment Workers’ on Facebook. It has a focus on where to find Fair Trade Clothing in Kelowna, BC.
Some brands you can buy fair trade clothing from online are also listed below.
April is the founder and main author for Just Leaving Footprints. She has written for numerous blogs and publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak. April loves writing about sustainable tourism, and promoting other sustainable travelers on her Facebook Group and Instagram Community, Ladies for Sustainable Travel. Currently, April is living and teaching English in Mexico City with her husband Arturo and they don’t plan on stopping their travels anytime soon.
If you’re new to the plastic free movement, chances are you may feel…January 11, 2019
It can definitely be overwhelming to visit a Spanish speaking country with dietary restrictions, especially…November 16, 2018