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Today is the first day of Fashion Revolution Week, an annual campaign for fair fashion which marks the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, where 1.138 people were killed and many more were injured.
Not much to celebrate
There is still a long road ahead before the fashion industry will be fair, durable and transparent. And sadly, the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is a very big obstacle. Large fashion chains withdraw already produced orders, new orders are postponed or limited in number, the lockdown prohibits textile worker to work (safely), a lot of them have lost their jobs and for many of them that means they will have no income.
The small brands we have in our webshop all try their best so that their workers can maintain a sustainable livelihood. Textile workers who own a sewing machine can work from home, people whose factory is closed still get paid, the workers that still can safely work in their factory make cloth masks for non-medical purposes (more on that later) or make official medical masks that are donated to hospitals.
Textile workers in the Coq en Pâte factory (picture taken before the coronavirus outbreak)
Our suppliers already work in a more revolutionary way: they don't replace every "old" item (i.e. from the previous season) at the launch of the new season collection. They regularly make new items, but that doesn't mean the older items lose their value (or get burned or thrown away). We all work with beautiful, but relatively timeless designs which make it possible to keep them in stock for a long time, sometimes even years. This obviously doesn't mean that we don't want to give our customers a nice discount. It only means that our margins are a lot smaller which unfortunately also makes our discounts smaller. We hope we can compensate this by making our customers happy with high-quality clothing that is manufactured in an ethical and eco-friendly manner.