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The key call-to-action during the week, which runs at the end of April each year marking the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster, is for customers to ask brands on social media #whomademyclothes. A quick search shows tweets this year containing the hashtag had 3,632,833 impressions. As the movement has grown, more and more customers have joined in and brands have been forced to answer, realizing that often the worst answer of all is to say nothing. One Twitter user, Heidi Aho (@notheidibutheyd), tweeted: “Probably the worst answer I’ve ever gotten to #whomademyclothes was from a Dutch highstreet (sic) lingerie chain @Hunkemoller in The Hague. The shop attendant told me: ‘we’ve been instructed by head office not to comment on that issue’. I’ve never shopped there since!”
Unsurprisingly, those labels who gave the best responses, were well prepared ahead of the week itself. Not only were they able to provide a more thorough answer than was expected of them but they seized it as an opportunity to turn a potentially brand-damaging moment into a moment to shine.
Birdsong London, who operate with the motto ‘No sweatshops. No Photoshop.’ went beyond the staple image of their garment workers holding an ‘I made your clothes’ poster. They created a video miniseries of the life cycle of their clothes and the women involved: from designing, to sourcing, to fitting, cutting and sewing. Each episode is less than a minute long, perfect for retaining the attention span of Facebook scrollers, and gives, not just a face, but crucially a voice to their garment workers in their working environment. Uploaded on their YouTube channel, as well as shared on other channels, through their website, and newsletter, it’s something that will showcase the way they empower female makers far beyond one Fashion Revolution Week.
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