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Fashion Revolution Day 2015: Reflections

We were delighted to take part in our first Fashion Revolution Day last Friday 24th.  In rememberance of the victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, Fashion Revolution Day is all about asking questions about our clothes and the all to often dangerous and exploitative supply chain that produces them. 

As a retailer we wanted to bring you, the customer, closer to the very people who make your clothes, to put a human face to the hands that carefully design, cut and sew our treasured items together.  Hearing the real life stories of seamstresses like Patricia from Osei Duro or Ruta from Riyka helps establish the human connection to the pieces we wear.  The feedback we have received has been fantastic and we want to thank everyone who took an interest and asked the question Who Made My Clothes.

There is still such a long way to go.  We were lucky enough to attend a Business Of Fashion debate on the True Cost of Fashion with Lucy Seigle, Livia Firth and Andrew Morgan. Ms Firth launched proceedings exclaiming a recent trip to Bangladesh left her "seriously pissed off", whilst Lucy claimed bargain price fashion is "like cat nip or worse, crack cocaine". There is a real problem here that simply cannot be ignored any more and it is down to governments, brands and consumers to act. As director of forthcoming film The True Cost said, "Superman isn't coming" - if we want to do something about it we have to make choices with our wallets and pressurize fast fashion companies to be transparent and take responsibility.

The problem is that the lure of the big fast fashion, high street brands is so great and their growth and massive profits mean that they are expanding to constantly keep up with the market. We need to promote the alternatives - so many small scale brands like those available at Gather&See provide exactly that and behave in a responsible way. It is these brands that should be given more air time and offered as a genuine alternative. Susie Lau brought up the price point - ethical fashion is more expensive - but you can still find tops and skirts around the £30 - £40 price that matches Topshop only brands like Osei Duro and Della work directly with seamstresses in Ghana and pay them a fair wage. Yes you won't find a T-Shirt for £5 but that is because someone has to exploited somewhere to get the price so low - its not natural and we need consumers to understand that and become fully aware, conscious customers, rather than shopping with their eyes closed.

So on that note we want to thank everyone who got involved with Fashion Revolution Day and all those that continue to support Gather&See and the wider ethical fashion movement.  Things have to change and they are starting to, if we all take responsibility it will happen a lot faster.



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