Fashion Revolution Week YYC

What if every single one of us had the ability to be a fashion revolutionary? What if each of us possessed the power to transform the fashion industry into one of radical transparency and Earth-friendly sustainability?  What if Calgary was hosting an entire week of events that could show you how to utilize this power?

Fashion Revolution week is coming to Calgary from April 23rd to 29th. It is a week of events to inspire and empower our community to learn about the exploitative nature of the fashion industry and how we can change it for the better. The week of events includes:

  • April 23: Ethical Fashion 101
  • April 24: Who Made Your Clothes? A Look into Modern Day Slavery
  • April 25: Ethical Fashion: Accessibility, Affordability, & Inclusivity
  • April 26: The Environmental Impact of Fashion: Panel Discussion
  • April 27: The True Cost Documentary & Panel
  • April 28: Repair Cafe
  • April 28: Fashion Revolution: A Celebration

Emilie Maine is the regional coordinator for Fashion Revolution Week in Calgary. She is an ethics and sustainability consultant, speaker and educator. Check out her website maineethics.com or @maineethics on Instagram for further details on each event and to RSVP to the ones you’re interested in.

All events are free, except for the celebration cocktail evening on April 28th. This week is for anybody and everybody! It doesn’t matter what brands of clothes you’re currently buying, how much money you make, or how much you know about fashion. The only prerequisite is that you have an interest in a fashion industry that respects people and the planet.

Why do we need a Fashion Revolution?

Being curious about who makes our clothes has become an international phenomenon thanks to the Fashion Revolution. This worldwide movement began after the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed on April 24th, 2013. The Rana Plaza garment workers made clothes for many well-known Western retailers. The collapse killed 1,138 garment workers and injured another 2,500. This tragedy ignited a global conversation to address the unsafe working conditions like the ones that led to the collapse of Rana Plaza, as well as the overwork, chemical exposure, lack of water access and low wages that are commonplace in the fashion industry.

Fashion is also the fourth most polluting industry in the world. Clothing production often involves releasing harmful byproducts that devastate air and water quality where the clothing is manufactured, and beyond. It is also responsible for 92 million tonnes of solid waste each year, from factory waste to the household clothing that we all throw into the landfill. This is more than twice the amount from supermarket food waste worldwide. The way the fashion industry exploits people and the planet calls for revolutionary change.

Joining the Fashion Revolution

Becoming a fashion revolutionary can seem overwhelming to someone who already has a lot on the go (i.e. most of us!) But, it doesn’t have to be complicated! There are several ways to take part in curating a more conscious closet:

  1. Appreciate what you already have instead of buying new
  2. Mend your clothes before throwing them out
  3. Swap or borrow clothes with friends
  4. Buy second hand
  5. Buy high quality clothing from companies who share a love for people and the planet

Personally, I started considering ethical shopping after watching a documentary exposing the unfair working conditions in a garment factory for an international clothing company known for its trendy and super cheap clothes. After watching this film, I began buying less from malls and more from thrift stores, while wondering how I could get other people to come together to stand against exploitation in the fashion industry.

After realizing that a lot of our friends were interested in ethical shopping, but felt like they didn’t have the time or energy to begin an ethical fashion journey, two friends and I created My New Neighbour. It’s is a Calgary based blog created to provide busy Canadians with a resource to make switching to ethical fashion easier. My New Neighbour actually began as a way to share the journey of our commitment to one year of ethical fashion. However, the experience was so rewarding we have continued our commitment to ethical fashion for almost three years now!

See You at Fashion Revolution Week!

Whether you’re simply looking to dabble in ethical fashion or you’re ready to take a deep dive, Fashion Revolution week is for you! Learn about what ethical fashion is, why it’s important and how to get involved from panels of experts and conversations with other folks on a journey to a more sustainable style. RSVP to any or all of the events on http://www.maineethics.com and follow @maineethics on Instagram for regular Fashion Revolution Week YYC updates!

Written by Shelby Schultz
Photography by Vian Esterhuizen / @heyvian