Looking back: the best of Fashion Revolution Week 2019 on the East Coast

By Fashion Revolution

1 month ago

Fashion Revolution USA Roundtable Discussions in New York

This year, our New York team aimed to amplify the issues facing the fashion industry by creating an interactive dialogue on April 23, 2019 to mark a day of remembrance for the 6th anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse which occurred on April 24, 2013. The goal of the event was to deliver actionable solutions for three key issues: Human Rights, the Environment and Governance. A key leader in each area had a fifteen minute presentation followed by three twenty minute round table discussions with attendees and speakers.

Our key speakers included: Elizabeth L. Cline (Author & Journalist), Aaron Halegua (Human Rights Lawyer), Eszter Csicsai (Senior Manager, Reuse & Donations at NYC Department of Sanitation) and Mark Anner (Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations, and Political Science, The Pennsylvania State University).

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On April 24, 2013, over 1,100 people lost their lives and over 2,500 people were injured in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. Many of these individuals were women and children, working under unsafe working conditions to make clothing for over 29 brands that were later identified in the rubble. Six years later we reflect on this terrible tragedy, and vow to continue our collective and collaborative fight for a #fashionrevolution. Rana Plaza, never again. ————— 🔁📸 @fash_rev Today, we reflect on the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza that took the lives of over 1,100 people and injured another 2,500 six years ago to date. Most of these victims were young women making clothing for big global fashion brands. Earlier that morning, workers were threatened with loss of their monthly pay if they did not proceed into Rana Plaza to work. Despite the cracks being identified the day before and their requests to not return to the factory floors, without any form of union representation they had no collective strength to stand up for themselves. There were 29 brands identified in the rubble. It would take years for some of them to pay compensation. For some families, providing DNA evidence to claim that compensation, would never be possible. To this day a high percentage of survivors are unemployed and suffer from severe trauma. Never again. Fashion Revolution exists to ensure that no tragedy of this magnitude will ever take place again, and we won’t stop until every garment is made in conditions where workers are safe, fairly treated, and free from gender-based violence or harassment. We won’t stop until every garment is made in a manner that doesn’t pollute the earth or exploit it’s precious natural resources. We won’t stop until fashion supply chains are transparent, provide goods jobs for the people that work in them, and eradicate modern slavery and child labour. Today we think of the true cost of our clothing. We reflect on the tragedy and we use this momentum to forge ahead and create change. Today we encourage you to ask #WhoMadeMyClothes, and demand answers. Photo by rijans via flickr . . . #fashrevusa #ranaplazaneveragain

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GFX Clothing Swap and Rally in New York

The Global Fashion Exchange (GFX) team hosted one of their famous clothing swaps at Union Square Park as part of Fashion Revolution Week and the Earth Day Initiative. This swap also included a curated selection of ethical and sustainable brands from The Canvas by Querencia Studio.There was also a  peaceful rally aimed to inspire everyone to create a positive change for people and planet! The rally featured Model Mafia founder Brana Dane, and speakers from Ellen MacArthur Foundation Make Fashion Circular Campaign, and Milo McBride from Sunrise Movement.

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Speakers Announced! The GFX Global Swap Event with @fash_revusa + @earthdayinitiative in Union Square! We’re hearing from these inspiring activists at 5:15pm in April 23rd! Sonia Park @nycedc + @milo.mp3 @sunrisemvmtnyc + Climate Expert @danielpinchbeck + @modelactivist @branadane about what we can to push forward the agenda and make change! ✨✨ For more info click link in bio! Swap Collection starts at 1pm, opens at 2:30. Massive thank you to all our incredible partners 👉 @thecanvasnyc @theregenmag @futurefashionatnyu @make_fashion_circular @ellenmacarthurfoundation @sunrisemvmtnyc @hechoxnosotros @animana and more!! . . Come with your posters with messages of inspiration or make your own in our activism center inside the SWAP! Also, shop ethical + sustainable brands with @thecanvasnyc ! #sustainablefashion @unitednations @sdgaction

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Thre3fold Events in New York

Partners at Thre3foldwere excited to host their 3rd annual event in New York made possible by ethical/sustainable coworking space CSI (Center for Social Innovation), and even more excited for such a powerhouse panel that gave such a diverse perspective on what we can each be doing to make a difference now.

Cal McNeil from the CFDA brought an important perspective on looking for opportunities in existing organizations and how to navigate those changes internally. Ngozi Okaro discussed her transition from law to launching Custom Collaborative to tangibly provide sustainable employment through production for low income and immigrant women here in NYC. Jessica Schreiber, self proclaimed trash nerd, made a big career transition as well coming from city sanitation to launching Fabscrap to tackle our pre-consumer textile waste issue (it’s big)! She brought great insight into why non-profit was the route they chose and the challenges as they’ve scaled so quickly. And of course Patrick Duffy from Global Fashion Exchange brought his years of experience through collaboration to show just how much impact you can create when you bring people together, not to mention how much fun is to shop a swap!


After the panel there was a shopping event where attendees could discover and buy clothes from ethically made brands such as: Agaati, ONE432, Half United, Par en Par, ELMNTL, Kat Bond Co, Casa Ysla, Alajas, TL Brooke, Article 22, Voz, The Root Collective, Nineh, Blue Hair Days, Tai, and Volta Atelier.

Screenings and Events in Washington, D.C.

The DC team started the week with the screening of The Price of Free by Nobel Price winning human rights activist Mr Kailash Satyarthi. We were given a room at the Eaton Workshop. Approximately 15 people made it. The impact of the documentary was immediate. At the end, everyone left the room speechless, questioning their daily consumer choices.

On Wednesday, The DC Department of Energy and Environment, in conjunction with Optoro, hosted “Fashion in Full Circle: An Evening of Conversation About Circularity in DC’s Textile Industry”. That evening, panelist, Joelle Firzli, Co-Founder of the DC Sustainable Fashion Collective and founder of Tribute; Kaveri Marathe, Co-Founder of the DC Sustainable Fashion Collective and Founder of Texiles; and Rosalie Ferris, of Pattern Sample Sew, explored solutions to connect the global imperative to move textile production and consumption toward a more circular model with local efforts. Turnout was amazing, with approximately 80 people attending, engaging, and asking questions about how to get involved.

On Thursday, Green America hosted a clothing swap, “Don’t shop, Swap!” and finally, the Fashion Revolution USA team closed the week with an Open Studio at Tribute, a cross-disciplinary space that promotes sustainable and ethical fashion and design.  That day Tribute opened its doors, offering a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a conscious cross-disciplinary and multi-brand platform. The team, in collaboration with the DC Sustainable Fashion Collective, shared insights about how to operate a sustainable retail business. The open studio was a moment for gathering committed projects and persons with the same passion and interest for conscious and ethical fashion.