Looking back: the best of Fashion Revolution Week 2019 in the Midwest

By Fashion Revolution

11 months ago

ABLE Behind the Scenes in Nashville

For the 2019 Fashion Revolution Week, ABLE, a Nashville-based women’s ethical fashion brand, hosted an inside look for members of the community.

In addition to answering the question #WhoMadeMyClothes, ABLE also fielded questions from curious and educated consumers on their sustainability practices and shared how they’re challenging the culture of the fashion industry to create transformative opportunities for women.

Attendees also previewed designs coming for Fall and Holiday 2019 and were among some of the first to see the brand’s new apparel and shoe designs. They wanted to know how the brand sources its leather and selects its materials, in addition to how to make trends wearable in your wardrobe for years to come.


Then, the group moved into ABLE’s onsite jewelry studio, home to up to 28 jewelers – many of whom have overcome extraordinary circumstances and received all their jewelry training on the job at ABLE. They learned about the jewelry making process, the materials we choose, how the brand recruits women in need of opportunity, and more.

Since the brand is also focused on creating opportunities for women around the world, attendees also heard via video from a partner in Ethiopia on how she’s helping transform her community by partnering with ABLE.

THR3EFOLD Event in Chicago

While many great events during Fashion Revolution Week focus around consumers (how we shop, how we recycle) at THR3EFOLD we work everyday to equip the people working within fashion to make better decisions to collectively build an industry that is strong for people, planet, and profit. We love gathering every year to check in on how much progress the fashion industry has made and be inspired by the great work people within the industry are doing.

These days we see more and more fashion professionals working outside traditional fashion cities and so this year we were honored to branch out of our annual New York City party to more cities like Orlando, Copenhagen, and Chicago! We especially loved connecting with the industry in the midwest and learning so much from the panel of powerhouse women making big waves in fashion in Chicago.

Every panelist brought such a passionate perspective on the role they are playing to make a difference. We garnered wisdom from Theresa Vandermeer, Founder of Work + Shelter, on what it really takes to launch and sustain an ethical factory. Whereas, Hoda Katebi was able to bring a unique perspective on how to uplift women in our own country through fashion as she prepares to launch Blue Tin Production to employ immigrant and refugee women through production. From there we dove into the design side of product and discussed how the fashion industry is beginning to catch up to inclusivity through modest fashion by Adilah Muhammad, Designer & Founder of Adilah M, and radical sizing inclusivity by designer/artist Abigail Glaum-Lathbury.

Each woman had a different take on the many issues that make up where we stand as an industry today, and while they were not always of the same opinion, they perfectly exemplified how many practical paths there are to take in order to be a part of the solution. Complex problems require complex solutions so if we all do our part we can make fashion a force for good together. The Chicago fashion community is up to a lot of this change and we cannot wait to come back and continue the conversation soon.

Shaping Fashion event in Minneapolis

This April, Threaded and Global Shapers partnered to collaborate on Shaping Fashion – the kick off to the 7+ events happening across Minneapolis and St Paul for Fashion Revolution Week. Shaping Fashion was a day-long event with speakers, sewing workshops, and an ethical marketplace experience ready to give individuals the opportunity to explore their own sustainable fashion journey.

A diverse group of 200 designers, makers, academics, students, stylists, community members, and activists gathered to connect and discuss the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry, but also learn tangible and inspiring actions they can take to be a part of the solution!

Throughout the day, 15 industry leaders were brought together over four inspiring conversations on key topics including, What is Sustainable Fashion vs. Ethical Fashion, Building an Inclusive Fashion Industry, Fashion + Feminism, and Styling Secondhand Fashion.  Attendees got curious, asking deeper questions about the working conditions in Bangladesh from artist and activist Rachel Breen, who has met and interviewed survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse. The value of regenerative farming practices in fashion came to light when Maddy Bartsch, ED of Three River Fibershed, shared how their fiber systems are rebuilding soil, focusing on local land and labor, all while protecting the health of the biosphere. The theme of intersectional feminism threaded through all the conversations, but was spotlighted by Joy McBrien, the founder of Fair Anita, a fair trade social enterprise jewelry company, investing in 8,000 women in 9 countries.

In between conversations, attendees explored a curated marketplace spotlighting clothing and accessories by seasoned slow-fashion designers, fair-trade labels, and sustainable brands you can find locally. The marketplace also held a fully functional pop-up sewing lab with sewing machines, demo stations & workshops, lead by University of Minnesota faculty and students, featuring local designers who specialize in re-design, alterations, and creative mending. Attendees brought items of clothing from their own clothes to refresh or repair, and explored techniques in overdyeing, visible mending, embroidery, hand stitching, and more.

Making Sustainable Fashion Matter event in Detroit

Fashion Revolution Week 2019 in Detroit is truly reflective of the promising fashion, design and art community that thrives on. A thoughtfully curated panel discussion was generously hosted by Eileen Fisher , Somerset Collective store in Troy, Michigan to highlight women owned businesses in sustainable fashion in categories of design, marketing, retail and manufacturing. It covered topics from need of sustainability in fashion industry, initiatives that need to be created from Detroit to enable the same, inspirations for consumers to take home with mainly to do with educating about the impact of sustainable fashion on human labor and environment.

The panelists included : Jennifer Guarino: Chairperson at ISAIC / Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center , VP Manufacturing Shinola , Erin Wetzel : CEO of Orleans + Winder, Detroit based purveyor of the finest slow fashion & high design @orleansandwinder, Candace Johnson : Owner of Hi CanDace, Detroit based Digital Media firm focusing on small sustainable, luxury lifestyle brands @hicandace and moderated by Anjali Purohit, founder of Studio Variously, a sustainable design company based in Detroit area, collaborating with artisans globally. @studiovariously

The panel discussion was wrapped up by showcasing a short documentary Confluence by Studio Variously , which features artisan dialogues shot onsite in Nepal. This documentary has also been chosen as an Official Entry for LA Fashion Film Festival 2019.