This week is Fashion Revolution Week. I haven’t done much to highlight this specifically throughout the week this year, though it is something near and dear to me.
Fashion Revolution Week runs each year on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh that left thousands of garment workers dead and injured, because they were working in unsafe conditions. The news of this disaster moved me, as do many stories of the fashion industry exploiting workers to get their products as cheap as possible. During this time of COVID-19 I have read articles about large fashion companies cancelling orders already made by factories, not paying for orders that have already been received and asking for extensions on payment, workers trying to return to work in factories and risking infection so they don’t loose their jobs. Each one of these stories breaks my heart. I often question why I’m involved in such a disgusting industry that is on a race to the bottom, that largely has a goal of selling more for less, increasing waste, exploiting human beings and the environment. I have to remind myself that I’m here to make a difference in this industry, to stand for better standards, to educate on the devastating impact shopping decisions can make.
Check out Fashion Revolution for more information on Fashion Revolution week and for some of the stories I’ve referenced.
There’s been a lot of talk about returning to a “new normal” post COVID-19, and what this will look like. Will industries bounce back in the same way? Will people reconsider how they spend their money (likely in wake of an economic recession). I do hope, everyday that more consideration is put into the purchasing of clothing. Fashion Revolution Week encourages you to ask fashion companies “who made my clothes?”, putting faces to the products, knowing that those making your clothes are working in safe environments, and being treated and paid fairly for their work.
Here at KoiNo, I made your clothes. I still cut, sew and press every single garment that is ordered through our online store or purchased in person (from me). My wee business is growing and at some point I will need to get others involved in the making of our garments, but rest assured that they will not be invisible, they will be safe and they will be treated and paid fairly. I’ve vowed to keep all production in New Zealand as I believe there is room for the fashion industry and manufacturing in New Zealand to grow again.
Next week we, as a nation, head out of level 4 lockdown and into level 3. Businesses can start operating again (with restrictions) and I will be able to send out orders again. As soon as I have confirmation that new fabric is on its way to me I will open up our made to order garments again too. As this level is lifted, I urge you to consider carefully the decisions you make with your purchasing. What values are important to you and how will you show that in your purchasing? During this time of lockdown what habits have you managed to break, and will you return to them or vow to not return? I saw a news headline today about the eager return to fast food next week, and while I like KFC as much as the next person (perhaps even more so), I’m more looking forward to buying from some of our local eateries, not only because they’re usually much tastier but because I’m keen to get out there and support our local businesses, and I’d encourage you to do the same, check out https://eatlocalnz.com/ for options.
I’m looking forward to being able to sew for you again, to have you get orders from me and fall in love with your KoiNo pieces. I will strive to continue to grow KoiNo so more and more women across New Zealand and the world can have access to responsibly made, size inclusive clothing. You can help with this, have discussions with your friends about values and the effects they have on purchasing decisions. Also, if you mention KoiNo to them I wouldn’t be mad about it either 🙂
ps. this photo is from my first year in business and when I went hunting for this photo I fell down a rabbit hole of photo memories, people I love, places I've seen and let me just say that I'm so excited to hug all those people and see more places again soon! For now, stay home, stay safe.