Hi Orsola! Can you tell me a bit about your career journey and how you came up with the idea of Fashion Revolution?
I started as a designer in 1997 with my small, and very experimental upcycling label, From Somewhere. Between 1997 and 2014, when we closed, we used exclusively leftovers and surplus, starting with post consumer waste, but then developed a system for reusing pre consumer stock, scarps and off-cuts, in particular from the luxury industry’s mills and manufacturers in the Veneto region in Italy.
Fashion Revolution, which I founded with Carry Somers (from multi award winning Fairtrade brand Pachacuti) started in 2013, as a result of the Rana Plaza disaster – which killed 1338 people and injured more than 2500 – we all felt that the catastrophe could have been prevented with better transparency in the fashion supply chain, and that the time had come to start a revolution demanding change, accountability and further scrutiny.
What’s the ethos and goals behind Fashion Revolution?
Our aim is to demand transparency and accountability from brands, but also to encourage best practice throughout the supply chain, consumers included. We are all part of this thread – and we want to see clothes made in dignity, not despair.
We explain to our audience that it isn’t just fast fashion, but that the whole of the fashion industry, luxury sector included, has a responsibility over the enormous impact the industry has in our everyday lives and on the everyday lives of the people who make our clothes, as well as our environment.
But, we have recently started to campaign with an environmental focus and not just a social one: our second Fanzine, Loved Clothes Last, looks at the impact of mass production and accelerated consumption – we hear from experts in the circular economy, from young brands who work in upcycling, we encourage a positive shift towards caring for the clothes we already own as a way to slow down, to be more mindful and encourage better consumption with an emotional attachment with the stuff we buy. We question, we look at alternatives, we provide solutions: we all wear clothes, so we can all be a part of this monumental change.