What we learned at Fashion Revolution Week 2019

“The fashion industry was built on secrecy and elitism; it was opaque. Transparency is disruptive – in that sense, it’s a breath of a fresh air and a useful weapon of change.”

– Orsola de Castro, Co-founder and Creative Director at Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution Week falls on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy on the 24th of April 2013. And represents the catalyst of Fashion Revolution’s #whomademyclothes campaign, which encourages brands to demonstrate supply chain transparency.

Last year’s Fashion Revolution Week saw 275 million people engage with the event across social media. And from our experience this year, it’s clear that the movement is continuing to grow. Here are our key takeaways.

2019 Fashion Transparency Index from Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution Week 2019 kicked off with the release of the 2019 Fashion Transparency Index. The report shows a 9% increase in transparency amongst 98 brands reviewed since 2017. Brands are reviewed and scored by the information that they share across five key areas:

  1. Policy & Commitments
  2. Governance
  3. Traceability
  4. Know, show & fix
  5. Spotlight issues

With an average transparency level of 21% across the 200 brands reviewed and the highest reaching just 64%, the report also demonstrates how much work is still to be done. Whilst Adidas, Reebok and Patagonia were top of the index (equal on 64%), the greatest improvement since 2018 came from Dior, Sainsbury’s and Nike. This increase in transparency levels is largely attributed to brands sharing supplier lists for the first time or in more detail.

Image credit: Fashion Revolution

Read the full report from Fashion Revolution to see how the rest of the 200 brands scored here.

3 panels and an award show – Provenance at Fashion Revolution Week

This year we were honoured to be invited to chat alongside brands and experts across a variety of topics. We also judged social impact businesses in the Technology sector at the first ever Be The Change Awards.

Panel I: ‘How industry leaders implement their own best practices within the fashion industry’ alongside Pinatex, Tipa-Corp, Blackhorse Lane Ateliers and Treis.

What we learned:

We heard how fellow panellist, Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, approach transparency in the real world. And how they operate an open-door policy in their London workshop to allow shoppers complete transparency into the manufacturing process of their clothing.

Panel II:  ‘Supply Chain Evolution’ with Fashion Revolution and Where Does It Come From?

What we learned:

Fashion Revolution explained their current focus on brand transparency to challenge the distinct lack of supply chain information in the fashion industry. They went on to share that transparency itself doesn’t always lead to best practices, but it is a necessary first step.

Panel III: ‘Next Level Sustainable Sourcing Panel – How to build radical transparency into your business’ alongside Henri, Little By Little, Global Organic of Textile Standards, Supply Compass and Percol.

What we learned:

The power of honesty to build engagement with shoppers. Henrietta Adams from Henri shared how this ‘radical transparency’ resonated most with her shoppers. The panel advised how brands can foster stronger shopper engagement by sharing the journey, including the challenges and compromises, behind decisions and outcomes.

Awards show: Judge at the Be The Change Awards 2019. A special shout out goes to the winner in the Technology category, Tech Dump, and all those shortlisted.

What we learned:

The event highlighted how brands are adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to measure positive impact. This is one potential way to measure progress.

Across the Fashion Transparency Index and the discussions during Fashion Revolution Week it’s clear that brands face challenges in their journey towards transparency. However, at Provenance we are excited to work with many fashion businesses who are on this journey and are now seeing the benefits of this approach.

Are you a fashion business looking to start your transparency journey? Join our webinar on the 12th of June.