Painting on cardboard using fashion magazine pictures + acrylic paint + oil sticks ★ 2016
This piece was painted thinking about the tragedy that happened at the Rana Plaza factory building on April 24, 2013 in Savar, Bangladesh, where the garment factory collapsed killing over 1,100 people.
This was a garment factory that supplied fast fashion companies such as The Gap, Forever 21, and more. The workers were not well paid, and according to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEbFnAMHHps, numerous workers stated that there were signs of the building about to collapse, and still they were forced to return to work: “We heard there are some cracks and they said to go now and come back at 2pm.” – said a woman worker. Less than 24 hours after these people were not taken seriously after discussing numerous problems seen in the building, the building collapsed the following day killing many of them.
This is unacceptable on many levels.
The Fashion industry needs to WAKE UP!
Fortunately, the demand for Ethical and Sustainable Fashion is increasing, and along with the companies’ role to perform Ethical and Sustainable practices, it is also up to the people to Choose what companies they agree and disagree with.
“Slow fashion” companies, as opposed to “fast fashion” companies like Walmart, Mango, The Gap, The Children’s Place, Joe Fresh, J.C. Penney, etc, deliver products that are better in terms of fairness in production and quality. “Slow fashion” involves having a fair production process meaning to treat people equally with fair pay, and make sure that they always work in safe conditions. “Slow fashion” also means that the quality of materials are better, meaning organic, natural, probably bought locally (as opposed to somewhere cheap online where there could also be unfair working conditions in making fabrics, etc). Companies that work with a “slow fashion” approach produce less altogether, and take the needed time to produce to make sure that the product is being made ethically and with high quality.
How can we all support “slow fashion” companies over “fast fashion” companies?
- Educate yourself! Get in the habit of checking your tags! There should be a tag on every product that says Where the product was made and What it is made of. Currently, I am taking an online course called “Fashion Revolution: Who Made My Clothes?” Fashion is in a terrific revolution towards being more Ethical and Sustainable, and luckily professionals in the industry are teaching others how to do it as well! This course is Free – so I invite everyone to Sign Up! (FutureLearn link on bottom)
- Ask questions! When you’re shopping, ask about any locally made goods to see what products they offer, if any. Send e-mails and make phone calls to companies that you’re interested in supporting, to ask them if they sell local goods and moreover, how their goods were made. If there is not enough transparency with how a product was made, perhaps this is not an ethical company to support!
- Support local, vintage, fair trade, and small businesses that use organic products with natural fibres! A well made item, though more expensive usually at first, will last you much longer in the end. You will actually save money by buying good quality products that last longer, as opposed to needing to always buy inexpensive products that don’t last as long. I am positive that there are vintage or local boutiques around you that produce great quality and ethically-made products!
- Consider your purchase behaviour and buy less altogether! Fewer is better. Less is more. Embrace minimalism!
- Donate! Do not throw your clothes away in the garbage after use. Donate them to a local clothing centre around you so that they do not end up in landfills!
The high demands from the “fast fashion” industry led to this disaster in Bangladesh. There were too many demands with too little time to get the work done, and apparently no time to spare to fix the problems in the building. The truth is there is time, and we need to take the time to find companies we like that work ethically and sustainably. We need more “slow fashion” to save the planet and every being in it.
The following clip is from the movie I Heart Huckabees. This shows a scene where actor, Mark Wahlberg, is going through an existential crisis, and begs his wife to ask Questions like who made her clothes and where are they from.
I Heart Huckabees