Words by Georgia Brisco
Riddle us this: just over 100 years ago, we used to spend around 14% of our money on clothes. That’s more than one-seventh. Flash forward 118 years and we’re spending 4% of our moola on clothes. That’s one twenty-fifth (what is this, a fraction for ants?). But here’s the thing: we’re buying more clothes than we ever used to. Like, 400% more than we did twenty years ago, a figure that blows our minds.
So, how are we buying more than ever and spending less than ever, too? In a word: fast fashion (but you saw that one coming, right?). In a few more words: fast fashion is about delivering new styles faster and for less. This means our wardrobes and landfills are filled with clothes that we like for a moment, not for a while, clothes we buy but don’t keep. And it’s as bad as it sounds for our environment, people, and planet.
This is more heartbreakingly important than ever this week, because it marks the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza Collapse, a day that saw 1138 factory workers killed, and 2000 more injured, when a garment factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Most of these people were women and children; all of them had families and stories and dreams. The Rana Plaza factory supplied clothes to some of the biggest clothing retailers in the industry.
What happened at Rana Plaza was the deadliest garment factory collapse in history. And we don’t know about you, but we’d like to live in a world where factories don’t collapse at all. Where people aren’t killed because of corporate greed and where the illegal addition of three stories to a factory in the name of cheap and fast clothing isn’t a thing.
Which is where Fashion Revolution Week comes in. Founded by Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro, Fashion Revolution is a non-profit organisation that pushes for radical shifts in the clothing industry. For genuine change from conception to creation and beyond — “beyond” meaning the way we purchase and wear our clothes, and what we do with them when we’re done.
We know – this can all seem pretty overwhelming, but Fashion Revolution Week simplifies things by focusing on a simple question: who made our clothes? During this week, companies are encouraged to increase the transparency of their production chains by answering this question with the hashtag #Imadeyourclothes.
But it’s about more than a hashtag; by helping consumers meet the people behind their clothes, Fashion Revolution Week opens us up to having conversations we maybe haven’t had before (and is there anything cooler than a real, change-inspiring conversation?). It’s about helping us shine a light on what we maybe didn’t know needed lighting up at all. It’s about reimaging fashion and what it can and should be.
Which is where slow fashion comes in, and why we’re in love with it. Because we’re all for summer flings, just not with our clothes. Call us old-fashioned, but we’re all about the radical idea of falling in love with the clothes we purchase, long-term romance style.
This is how Holiday Romance Store was born — out of our dream to do things better, to make beautiful swimwear that has a kind and sustainable production chain. Which is why we personally get to know the people who help us create our swimwear at our family-run factory in Porto, Portugal. And why we’re head-over-heels dedicated to making sure we use materials that are sustainable.
The way we see it, the future of fashion is about being mindful and curious. It’s about asking the sticky questions and having the conversations. Because when we do, we’re creating something as wonderful as clothing made with love — we’re creating change.