Discovering #whomademyclothes

Worker operating a machine at the knitting department. Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills, India

This week marks three years since the Rana Plaza factory collapse took hundreds of lives on April 24, 2013. Reports on poor building conditions had been raised the day before the collapse and yet, regrettably, workers were still required to report for work.

The Fashion Revolution movement aims to create greater awareness on the importance of transparency today. At Provenance, we showcase pioneers from different points of the supply chain who provide answers even before questions about working conditions are even asked. “Who made my clothes?” Provenance provides the tools to answer this question through stories telling the journey of people, places and processes behind the products we buy.

In celebration of the brands already embracing transparency, we are working with Patagonia-based womenswear label Animana, whose ethical supply chain efforts empower local artisans in South America. Incorporating open information in their communication strategy, Animana adhere to a high level of social commitment to re-establish local identity and make a richer, more sustainable world for the indigenous population, their environment and customers.

We are also featuring online retailer Brothers We Stand – an ethical men’s clothing e-commerce platform. The label is founder Jonathan Mitchell’s response to the demand of male customers seeking sustainable brands that don’t compromise ethics for aesthetics.

Jonathan expresses his excitement to “collaborate with Provenance to share some of the supply chain stories behind our clothes.” He adds that Provenance tools have the potential to provide technical solutions for accelerating “a transition to transparent and ethical sourcing, and enable consumers to access information about the clothes and other products they purchase.”

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Calvelex pattern cutting room in Porto, Portugal.

In production, we feature Porto-based Calvelex, who are committed to a local supply chain aiming to source materials, including buttons, threads and labels, all made on Portuguese soil. This is the first time Calvelex joins Fashion Revolution and we are happy to welcome them to Provenance as part of a community using our tools for transparency. CEO Cesar Araujo shares our vision for transparency in the sector and is very proud of the growing fashion industry in Portugal. The factory also serves as a training school for pattern cutting, aiming to nurture the skill for future generations.

Fashion Revolution plays a crucial role in placing a spotlight on sustainability and ethical issues in an alarmingly opaque industry. The brainchild of fashion industry practitioners with a focus on sustainability, the Fashion Revolution movement shifts the power back to the consumer by equipping them with one powerful question: #whomademyclothes.

Two years ago, when the first Fashion Revolution day took place, I was so excited that I didn’t hesitate to use my social media influence to upload a picture of myself with my outfit #insideout. Provenance had been there since the first Fashion Revolution panel at Somerset House in 2014, where co-founders Cary Somers and Orsola de Castro shared how they conceptualised the movement.

In just two years, the movement has grown from “Fashion Revolution Day” to “Fashion Revolution Week”, hosting events in over 70 countries, spurred by an ever-growing community sharing open-source campaign materials under the banner #whomademyclothes. ‘Last year, the hashtag had a reach of 63 million, making it to the worldwide top trending hashtags of the day on Twitter’ — consumer power at its best.

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Sabinna production unit in East-London

We are happy to learn that Fashion Revolution week is focusing on our favorite topic this year under “Let’s be Transparent: Looking at How Brands are Performing with Supply Chain Transparency.” Releasing the Transparency Index, the report examines the efforts undertaken by brands to being transparent about their policies, traceability, audits and governance, among other areas. Behind the Barcode Fashion also reported that ‘48% of brands lack traceability even in their first-tier CMT (Cut-Make-Trims) factories’, raising a red flag on the importance of transparency to guarantee that modern slavery is not taking place.

Provenance makes its contribution to the week-long campaign by featuring a selection of brands, designers and producers, and providing them access to Provenance digital tools. We aim to help these pioneers tell the story behind their products, allowing them to better inform audiences of their processes and initiatives. We share the vision of transparency as a benchmark for encouraging companies both large and small to adopt innovative ways of communicating to ever-savvy consumers — ones who ask more and more questions about the products they buy.

Provenance sees Fashion Revolution as a catalyst for change in the fashion industry, placing transparency at the core of every effort. We are your platform. Your digital toolbox. Your community in sharing stories about the people, materials and processes behind products. We invite you to take part in our campaign to support the worldwide movement for transparency.

‘Question why. Ask who. Learn how.’