I’m very excited today to have a guest post from Andy Showell-Rogers and Andy Lower, two of the brains behind whomademywardrobe. Phase One of their challenge is complete, and they have launched Phase Two – and you can get involved! Over to them to tell you how…
Let’s get Visible
On 24th April 2013, 1,129 people were killed when the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapsed in Bangladesh. This tragic event was sadly a reflection of so much of the dark and oppressive world of global fashion today.
We decided to go through our wardrobes and only keep the clothes which we knew were produced by people that had been treated fairly. We were left with nothing. So at the start of 2014, we built a new wardrobe from scratch only containing items that we knew had been made fairly (read about the journey so far here).
It has been an incredible journey and we’ve learnt a lot. But building two new wardrobes is not enough and we believe that more needs to be done. We therefore decided to launch our own clothing label to produce clothes in the developing world by workers we know have been treated fairly.
Last Thursday, on the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, we started a one-month long crowd funding campaign to launch our new company – Visible: clothes you want to be seen in – and we’d love you to get involved. Visible focuses on three core distinctives – visible people, visible costs, visible impact.
It is easy to ignore the rights of individuals who make our clothes because we don’t know them. We don’t know their names, where they live, their daily struggles, or their dreams. We believe that by knowing even the smallest details about them, our mind-set can begin to change, and they move from being an invisible cog in the machine to a human being that deserves respect, dignity, and fair treatment.
We will therefore connect you with the people who make Visible clothes.
Throughout this experience of building a new wardrobe we have been consistently asked about the cost of our fairly made clothes.
The reality is that our new wardrobe is more expensive than the clothes we used to buy. Logically this makes some sense; if factory workers and farmers aren’t squeezed then the price of clothes will increase.
Yet, what has been perhaps the biggest learning on this journey is just how hard it has been to have visibility into the breakdown of costs.
Is it possible for a brand to have great visibility to show where all the money goes when someone buys an item of clothing? Can there be enough visibility into the production of fairly-made clothes to show that there aren’t excessive profits for company owners whilst the cotton farmers and factory workers get too small a wage to live on?
We will therefore tell you where every single pound goes when you buy an item of Visible clothing.
We have been meeting with different stakeholders in the clothing industry to source good quality clothes, where everyone is treated fairly, for a price point that more people deem as affordable – whilst making a positive social impact.
Can others benefit when we wear clothes we want to wear? We want to be involved in creating opportunities for extreme poverty to be eradicated in our generation.
We will therefore tell you how individuals and communities in the developing world benefit from you buying Visible clothing.
Please help us to realise our vision by pledging at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/visible
Andy Showell-Rogers and Andy Lower
Pledging as little as £15 will help Andy and Andy make Visible Clothing a reality – and you’ll get one of their first products for yourself to show your support…umm…visibly! Could you help make the clothing trade fairer? Visit their funding page now – and why not follow them on twitter to be sure you don’t miss any of the story. Thanks so much for reading.
Picture Credit: Andy Showell-Rogers (c) Oxford Mail