5 ways to help fashion become a force for good

This week’s Fashion Revolution Week, a movement that started in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster, rallies people to change the course of the fashion industry. Heather Poore from Hubbub UK suggests 5 ways to become a ‘fashion revolutionary’

Led by Fashion Revolution, the message of Fashion Revolution Week is clear. It’s time for fast fashion to make a U-turn, for brands to become more transparent and to start becoming a force for good.

We are often told as consumers that we hold the power to shape the fashion industry but facing a sprawling, globalised giant, the challenge can seem overwhelming. Fashion Revolution Week is an opportunity to be loud, to challenge the brands you love and be a disrupter in an industry that desperately needs shaking up.

Being a fashion revolutionary doesn’t mean you have to stop buying and wearing the things you love

Being a fashion revolutionary isn’t as hard as you might think. Be curious – take a peek at your label. Find out where your clothes were made and think about how they were put together. Jump on to Instagram and ask brands #whomademyclothes to find out more about the people behind your favourite togs.

British actress and author, Baroness Young of Hornsey. Image: Trevor Leighton

Find out – do some digging online before you buy something; download apps such as Ethical Barcode for when you go shopping. It pays to be clued up about where you’re putting your money and figure out what you expect from brands as a consumer.

Do something – this is the fun part. Being a fashion revolutionary doesn’t mean you have to stop buying and wearing the things you love. It’s about being bold, creative and thoughtful with the way you buy, wear and dispose of clothes.

Here are five ways to get started:

1. Buy better

Invest a little bit more in something that you think you’ll wear for a long time and will become a wardrobe favourite. Follow in the footsteps of Livia Firth and Emma Watson and join the #30wears challenge. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap, buy it because you love it!

2. Go charity and vintage shopping

Charity and vintage shops are the Aladdin’s caves of sustainable shopping. Hidden gems abound and you’ll be getting better quality pieces for your money. Secondhand shopping gives you the opportunity to give new life to a look and stop beautiful clothes from going to landfill. If you need a little inspiration (and live in London) check out this guide to the capital’s hidden secondhand shops.

3. Swap

Dive into your wardrobe and dredge out the dresses you’ve never worn and jeans that don’t fit, it’s time to give them to someone who will love them like they deserve to be loved. Go to a big swishing event or swap with friends.

It’s about being bold, creative and thoughtful with the way you buy, wear and dispose of clothes

4. Mend and customise

The internet is jam packed full of tutorials on ways to mend, upcycle and customise clothes you’ve fallen out of love with. Let your creativity roam free: it’s cheap and easy to tailor clothes, dye them or fix up rips and tears. If this is up your street then have a go at making your own clothes, they’ll fit you perfectly and you’ll be completely in control of the style and process.

5. Donate responsibly

Think about the afterlife of your clothes. While donating is a good way to get rid of old clothes, unwanted second hand clothing being sent to predominantly African countries can cause big problems by disrupting their local textile economy. Have a look at the organisations you want to give to and find out where your clothes might be going before you donate them.

Find more ways to get involved here. Fashion Revolution Week will run until 30 April. 

Featured image: Fashion Revolution Week