Monday, April 24, 2017

Sambhali is taking part in the Fashion Revolution

This year, from the 24th to the 30th of April we are celebrating Fashion Revolution Week. This is an annual tradition designed to encourage people to ask brands “Who made my clothes?” Exactly four years ago today, on the 24th of April 2013 the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1138 workers, and injuring many more. This tragedy paved the way to open discussion about the inhumane working conditions in factories supplying the fashion industry. The poor conditions in clothing factories are now considered common-knowledge, with most people aware of them when explicitly asked. However, there is still a disconnect in our awareness. When we buy a T-shirt in our local high-street shop it is rare that we consider the impact that item of clothing has had on the workers who made it. Fashion Revolution is encouraging people to step back and consider this, ask of themselves and their clothing brands “who made my clothes?”. This is done in the hope that together we can increase transparency in the fashion industry and improve the lives of the thousands of people working in it.

The fashion industry can be a cruel one, sitting right behind the oil industry as the world’s second-largest polluter. Globally, one-in-six people work in the fashion industry and the majority of these workers are women earning less than $3 per day – barely enough to survive on. In times of fast-fashion it is becoming increasingly important to encourage and support ethical clothing brands and buy ethically produced clothes. Exploitation of workers is unfortunately the current norm, but this is not a necessary state of affairs. By challenging brands which exploit their workers we may change this system, and pave the way for a fairer, more just fashion industry.

At the Sambhali trust we are taking part in the Fashion Revolution 2017 by telling the story of one of the women working at our Graduate Sewing Centre each day. The Graduates Sewing Centre was opened in February 2012 and provides 15 women between the age of 20 and 45 with employment. The project is completely self-sustainable and gives women from India’s lowest caste - the Dalit’s -the opportunity to be financially independent. On average a worker within their community earns about 1000 rupees per month. Here at Sambhali, they have the chance to earn up to 3-5 times as much, making a huge impact to the lives and independence of women who are subject to so much discrimination. The products made by these women are sold at our boutique in Jodphur as well as internationally through our website. The money raised goes to paying them for their services, as well as back into the charity to give other women the opportunity to learn to read, write and sew. Visit us every day this week to read their stories, released at 5pm Indian time, and see our catalogue to see what they've been making here.

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