We are Fashion Revolution and this is Our Manifesto
It is with immense pleasure and utter joy that we enter our fifth year with the launch of our manifesto.
Although as a team we toyed with the idea of writing a manifesto from our very first meeting in 2013, it was forgotten at some point, overtaken by numerous other ideas generated by an overactive creative team.
It’s time for a Fashion Revolution
We always knew the importance of a manifesto for Fashion Revolution – a vehicle to share our credo, our vision of the future. But the time wasn’t right; we had to focus and push for transparency as we knew this was the first step to transforming the fashion industry. We always knew we had it in us, but somehow it was a patient impulse. Nowhere near, not yet, a guttural roar waiting to erupt.
Five years on, we have seen the effect of our #whomademyclothes campaign. We have seen how the industry can and will respond to pressure from the people who buy their clothes and how transparency has become fundamental for building trust. Now is the time for us to expand our mandate. We will continue, always, to talk about transparency, but that’s just the start of the conversation and we are ready to delve deeper.
Industries, like movements, are made of people, and people are individuals. Each one of us unique, with different tastes and different priorities, and we wanted our manifesto to reflect that. Just as the act of selecting the clothes we wear comes down to a personal choice, so too does our view of what issues are important in the supply chain.
We met in earnest as a team in the late autumn, each of us armed with our favourite manifestos from the past (the Futurist Manifesto, to Li Eldekort, the Guerrilla Girls, the Sandino Manifesto, the Storm Society) and set out to shape our own manifesto with some strong and ambitious goals.
Our name itself, Fashion Revolution, is indicative of the fact that we can’t really come up with a lacklustre set of words to encourage change. We can’t just go for a boring step-by-step “we believe” kind of approach. Revolutions come with manifestos and manifestos incite revolutions so the challenge to be provocative, poetic, inspiring, idealistic and yet focussed on creating real change was one we all relished.
We wanted a Fashion Revolution Manifesto that would be the starting point to a journey of improvement, to further understanding, and we want the people who sign it to say ‘here I am, this is my statement too. This is the journey I am sharing with others who sign this because together we make an unstoppable movement for change’. These are the principles we will take with us into the future.
Above all, we wanted a manifesto that would motivate as many people as possible: fluid and romantic, yet erudite and articulate. We wanted our tone to be tough and uncompromising, but peppered with a language that allows spontaneity and dialogue. We wanted our words to speak volumes.
This is some of the thinking we played with as we riotously sat down to write.
Revolutionary idealism is inspiring.
We need to talk about Utopia.
If everything is achievable, what happens when we have achieved it?
Abandon the past to embrace the future.
Fashion is about change / Fashion is about to change
If it’s truly revolutionary then it should be provocative to challenge the fashion industry status quo.
Belief in fashion as an empowering force
The benefits of the change we are demanding are shared by as many people as possible
And then the quiet impulse roared. It erupted like a beautiful wild beast, spontaneously and in unison. Our teamwork, yet again, provided the perfect playground for creative conception and, as we played with words and concepts, stretching through history, savouring art, being rational and irrational, we came back to earth with something that felt right.
This is our dream.
Our Manifesto is the synthesis of us; the beautiful dress we choose to wear. We want our manifesto to be inspirational and aspirational. We want to accentuate the positive, whilst simultaneously exposing its negative shadow. We have no doubt that fashion has the potential for this metamorphosis within it, and we know from our experience over the past five years that change can happen if we relentlessly speak out and call for action.
Because ultimately this is what we want to achieve, a systemic and meaningful change that is inspired by people who wear clothes, with the people who make our clothes and for the environment we all share. A manifesto that belongs to everyone, that defies elitism, and that gives us all agency.
We want millions of people to sign it.
We want your signature to be a part of a global legacy so that every time something is unjust, or people are exploited and the environment is degraded, you can reach back to it and reiterate that you can’t stand for abuse, you signed the manifesto, you are ready for change. You are ready to stand up and be counted, and the more citizens that are willing to put their signature to these principles, the more we will be able to quantify the demand for a better industry.
We are setting our vision.
We are raising our voice. We can’t know now what will change as a result, or what its effect will be, but this is our Manifesto and we pledge to always speak truth to power: this is our tool to do so. We will take it to policymakers, we will send it to brands, we will ask designers and producers to hang it in their workplace, we will use it in colleges and at events. We will share it widely on our social media and ask our friends and partners to do the same. We will not stop until we see that behaviours have changed, companies have changed, legislation has changed, fashion has changed. Unlike passing trends, this manifesto is here to stay.
Manifesto for a Fashion Revolution will lead you to an all singing, all dancing, proactive and pirouetting technicolour dream of a manifesto, with words that beg to be shouted, with statements that open your eyes in surprise and others that make you shut them to meditate further. Because we love fashion and our manifesto is also a bit of a love song.
Fashion has the potential to transform the world
Our Manifesto will bring you right into our world and show you a better future, starting now: please sign it!