The fashion industry is very good at producing beautiful things but it's not so good at  thinking about the consequences of how they’re made. At Little Green Radicals we believe that nothing is truly beautiful unless it is made with respect for people and planet. 

It’s Fashion Revolution week, a campaign designed to highlight the shortcomings of the textile industry. So here is a quick guide to some of the issues.

Why do we need a Fashion Revolution?

To begin with there's the environmental impact of the fabric. 

Is it petroleum based? Oil is used to make fabrics like polyester and I think should only be considered in things that need to protect you in some way from the elements, like rainwear or swimwear. Given the quantity of plastic, recycled is surely what brands should be doing. Our rainwear and swimwear is made from recycled plastic bottles - over 290,000 so far. 

Or has the fabric’s material been grown naturally? Of course, the term natural is used very liberally. Natural has to mean no chemical pesticides or insecticides and the easiest way to be sure of this is organic certification. Since the very beginning, all the cotton we used in our collection has been organic. 

Environmental impacts don't just have an impact on what the product is made from, they extend throughout the supply chain, including the dyes used, energy consumption, transport and packaging. We keep working on these areas to reduce our environmental footprint and we are making progress but have more to do. 

One underestimated impact on the environment is how long something lasts. Often cheap products are designed to be throw away fast fashion and that means more landfill and more environmental degradation because more products have to be produced. We try to make products that last and together with Superlooper we have introduced a Freepost returns service with money back for your pre-loved clothes which are then rented out to be loved again by other families. Buying second hand and repairing are also great ways to reduce environmental impact because they also extend the life of clothing that’s been produced. 

What is ethical production?

Then, of course there are the workers. Farming is a tough life, even in this country, and cotton farmers are some of the poorest of the poor. Fairtrade guarantees a minimum price and a social premium where farmers decide what it’s spent on. Pesticides are also a worker issue because, sadly, there are still thousands of deaths caused by their use and misuse each year and it’s often only after many years that the real health impacts come to light.

And issues with the treatment of workers exist throughout the supply chain. Long shifts, poor pay and obvious gender issues, like the sacking  women who become  pregnant. Often, it is just a flagrant disregard for health and safety. In the Rana Plaza tragedy - which gave rise to the Fashion Revolution campaign - it was found that fire exits were blocked. The suppliers we work with are long-term partners who are audited and regulated via the Fairtrade Foundation and GOTS organic certifications to monitor working practices. 

At Little Green Radicals we play a small part in the Fashion Revolution movement, always changing, learning and working towards a better future for the fashion industry. We are delighted to be joined by many other small brands but sometimes it feels a bit more like evolution than revolution.

Why did the fashion movement start?

Fashion Revolution was founded by Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013. This is now the world's largest fashion activism movement, mobilising citizens, brands and policymakers through research, education and advocacy.

What is the Fashion Revolution?

"We love fashion. But we don't want our clothes to exploit people or destroy our planet. We are coming together as a global community to bring our manifesto into reality."

When is Fashion Revolution week?

22nd - 29th April 2023

Find out 'Who made my clothes'?

Read about one of our amazing producers Deeps


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