Posts Tagged ‘Transparency’

Fashion Revolution Day 2014

Today is the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh were more than 1100 people died, over twice that number were injured and around 800 children orphaned; tied into a global system based on production of cheap clothes that are ‘consumed’ in high volumes in the West (see an earlier post here). It is both a day for reflection and action. For reflection on the relationship fashion has with its supply chain, with citizens, with the environments in which resources are cultivated and utilised. And for action, for to wear clothes is to realise the agency inherent in getting dressed each day, the political power, the potential to act in ways other than that which the dominant system assumes we will. And so on 24th April, on Fashion Revolution Day, garments are being worn inside out, to reveal the label, the seams, the stitching and labour ‘hidden’ in the garment, and to put pressure on the brands who sell us these clothes to be transparent about their supply chain. The hope is that such openness leads to improvement (see related post on transparency here). That the attention that full disclosure brings, creates a flow of positive energy for change. Only then perhaps we can begin to honour the memory of those who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza complex and the numerous other workplace tragedies that have taken place in recent years.

Numerous resources are available online for more information about Rana Plaza and Fashion Revolution Day, including the Shirt on Your Back interactive documentary from the Guardian.

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The fetishization of transparency


Making the production chain transparent has become a big deal in sustainability circles. Over little more than five years, the pursuit of a knowable, traceable garment supply chain has gone from being a bit of a kooky and idealistic venture to now an almost fetishized pre-requisite of being in business. The logic behind the pursuit of transparency is undeniable: how can you possibly hope to improve the efficiency of your operations, know that your supplier factories have safe building structures, guarantee that workers are fairly paid, etc., if you don’t know who is doing what, where, when and how? New web-based interfaces, track and trace technologies and databases are powering the collation and management of this information. They act as a feedback loop, channelling information as a potential lever of change. Depending on which brand is gathering the data, some are sharing it publicly and in great detail, like Bruno Peters’ Honest By. It seems like we are becoming more informed and maybe even a little more imaginatively connected with the manufacture and distribution of our clothes.  [Read More]

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