I’ve decided to join the #Sewsolidarity movement. TRAID is a UK based charity looking to reduce our waste from clothes and support international projects to improve conditions for people working in the textiles industry.
I was lucky enough to visit a project partly funded by TRAID in Ethiopia last year. I was visiting on behalf of the Darwin Initiative – my day job. As part of the work I obviously had to do some reading up on TRAID and what they do. I’d never come across them before but I was seriously impressed. For the small amount of money (relatively speaking) they were achieving significant impact with small-scale farmers in Ethiopia seeking organic certification with H&M and C&A waiting in the wings to buy the cotton.
They’ve launched the #Sewsolidarity movement to mark the Rana Plaza disaster. 2 years ago on April 24th the Rana Plaza factory collapsed killing over 1,100 people and injuring over 2,500 others. The saddest saddest thing about Rana is cracks had been seen earlier that day and workers and been evacuated. The managers at Ether Tex threatened to withhold a months pay from workers who refused to come to work. These workers were on tiny wages, barely getting by and so for them the threat was too much – they had to go back to work. And as a result – many of them would die.
The garments being made in this factory were destined for clothes shops such as Primark, C&A, H&M, Mango, Walmart and many others. Shops that sell high volume of clothes at cheap prices. One of the reasons these clothes are so cheap is because the garment workers are paid wages so low they can’t afford to live:
So back to the campaign. Its a campaign for fairness. For equality. For ensuring the clothes that we buy are not causing harm to others in less privileged positions.
TRAID are asking you to take a piece of clothing made in Bangladesh (ideally from your wardrobe, a charity shop or a friend), or pick a brand which manufactures in Bangladesh.
Through this challenge TRAID want you to show you value these garments, and the people who have worked on it, by re-purposing it and giving it longer life. You might set yourself a major challenge with a complete transformation of one or more pieces showcasing your skills, or simply mend a garment turning it from unwearable to wearable in one short sewing session.
Share your progress through any of your online channels using the hashtag#SewSolidarity and then upload your finished piece on April 24th 2015. This could include:-
- The original garment/s
- The main sewing steps
- The finished piece
- Your reflections on stopping exploitation in the fashion industry and how we can support garment workers globally
- Using social media to contact brands (you can share your reworked piece!), and demand they pay into the Rana Plaza compensation fund AND to ask them about working conditions and safety in their factories.
As for me – I went through my entire wardrobe and could only find this jumper that was made in Bangladesh. I’m struggling to work out what to do with it. I’ve scoured Pinterest and I’m considering either slippers, a cushion or a skirt. Trouble is the weather has just turned warmer and I can’t even think about wearing such a thick jumper. I may have to do a little visit to a charity shop this week…..
So what do you think – are you joining the movement? Do you try to avoid fast fashion? What on earth can I do with this big, clunky jumper??