What We Did In San Francisco For Fashion Revolution Week
Over the last 5 years I have spent living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area as an ethical fashion consultant, my network of local makers and brands has grown- from fashion designers, milliners, metalsmiths, jewelers and shoe makers to weavers, knitters, farmers, natural dyers, textile artists and creators in between. I am proud to say that I pretty much have access to an entire supply chain within my own backyard. Every time I meet someone new, the conversation often goes to “Well, do you know Sally Fox the organic cotton farmer?” or “I know a local knitwear designer or dyer who can help you with that”.
While Fashion Revolution Day was on its way, I had an urge to bring all these talented folks to one space. I reached out to Luke Swanson, West Coast Coordinator for Fashion Revolution Day to assist me in an attempt to start some conversations and connections in our local fashion economy with an official sustainable fashion community meet-up last March. This was followed by creating a Sustainable SFBay Facebook group, so that we all could connect in the digital realm, and I organically adopted the role of organizer for these sustainable fashion socials.
It was truly amazing to see about 50 – 60 people attend our first impromptu meeting on a weekday evening at a local brewery. After that, we partnered with the 25th Street Collective and Hiroko Kurihara who was kind enough to offer her space for other meet-ups in preparation for Fashion Revolution Day.
What began as a response to the worst garment factory disaster to date, the Rana Plaza complex collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh that killed 1,134 and injured over 2,500 in 2013, Fashion Revolution Day has ignited an international movement demanding transparency and radical change in the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased. This momentous grassroots campaign, consisting of tens of thousands of supporters in over 80 countries, has encouraged consumers to “be curious, find out, do something” by engaging on social media with the brands they purchase fashion from and asking the question:“#WhoMadeMyClothes?”
There was no way the Bay Area was going to sit this one out.
We held two more meet-ups before we collectively decided on three events to produce to commemorate the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse, as well as remind wearers of clothing to ask “who made my clothes”, which included:
1) A Fashion Revolution Kick Off Party and Panel Discussion featuring guest panelists Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed, Shamini Dhana, founder of Dhana Inc. and Associate Producer for the True Cost movie, and Starre Vartan, travel journalist and founder of Eco Chick.
3) A Fashion Revolution Day Press Event + “Who Made Your Clothes” FASH MOB Parade through Union Square in downtown San Francisco.
San Francisco marched in a “fash mob” parade, sponsored by Wildlife Works Apparel – the world’s only carbon neutral, fair trade factory protecting wildlife in Kenya, to ask for greater transparency in the global fashion supply chain. Co-produced by Ecologique Fashion and Eleanor Amari of LOLA Creative Agency, the parade’s objective was to ask for greater transparency in the global fashion supply chain.
The “mob”, consisting of models, designers, sustainable brands and ethical fashion supporters, recognized Fashion Revolution Day, a grassroots campaign sparked in response to the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh that happened three years to the day, leaving 1134 people killed and 2500 injured.
More than fifty people strong, the fash mob commenced in Union Square, continuing down Powell St. and into the Westfield Mall with participators cheering “Who Made My Clothes? Ask.” and holding bright signs as well as a parade banner, made from upcycled t-shirts, that read “Fashion Revolution”. Shoppers who joined the march were given the official San Francisco Fashion Revolution t-shirt by Wildlife Works Apparel, screen-printed locally by Social Imprints.
Participating brands, of which all are San Francisco Bay Area based, included Wildlife Works Apparel, The Tripty Project, Skunkfunk, Fibershed, Indigenous, Synergy Organic Clothing, Soko, New Market Goods, Ways of Change, Callina, PACT, Indosole, and Okiino.
Slow Fashion pop-up photos by Daniela Degrassi | Fash Mob photos by Bryan Berry