This International Womens Day, be part of a fashion revolution?

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08 Mar This International Womens Day, be part of a fashion revolution?

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Guest blog post by craftivist Nikki Shaill

Happy International Womens Day to you! Today people of all genders around the world will celebrate this special day in many different creative ways. I wonder what you’re up to today and this week to mark the occasion? There are so many fantastic events, talks and projects to choose from. Including this year’s A Day Without A Woman campaigninviting us to wear red in solidarity, take strike action from our workplaces, and spend as little money we can in non-independent businesses for the day. It’s an effective call to action and I imagine that #DayWithoutAWoman will effectively challenge lots of people to consider the power of women in the workforce and economy. But where to go from there? How else can we keep these conversations going longer term, once interest is ignited?

In a month’s time, on Thursday 6 April, Craftivist Collective will be running a special workshop to launch the new Mini Fashion Statements project kit. The event will be part of Hackney Showroom’s Joy & Dissent: a festival of cultural activism and a rare opportunity to catch up with other craftivists, meet new people and take some time to think more about where our fashion comes from and the working conditions of the women who create our culture’s clothing.

Today I am wearing red top to toe, one of my favourite colours. There was a lot to choose from in my wardrobe. Finding a red outfit wasn’t much of a personal challenge for me. Thinking about who made the clothing in my wardrobe however? Now that is more of a challenge.

Fashion Revolution are partnering up with Craftivist Collective on the Mini Fashion Statements project. They shared earlier this week, via Instagram, the statistic reminding us that over 80% of garment workers are women who tend to be stuck in low skill, low pay jobs. Education, training and unions are key to enabling women to negotiate better working conditions. Imagine with me for a moment if the women workers in the garments trade were to take part in A Day Without A Woman today. The factories would be rather empty, with at least 8 out of 10 workers not there. Productivity would be greatly affected. Would these women be able to afford to take strike action? I doubt it.

Fashion Revolution and Craftivist Collective believe the industry can, and should, work better for the people who make our clothes. Campaigns such as #DayWithoutAWoman today are fantastic to ignite interest and spark conversations about global workforces and the stories of the women behind the services and products that we buy including our clothes. Together we’re working to keep these conversations going and sparking questions.

One way we are doing this is our new project Mini Fashion Statements, launching in a month’s time. You can find out a lot more about this project and how to get involved here, including a short film introducing what ‘shopdropping’ is and the purpose of the mini-scrolls project. I’m looking forward to finding out more at the workshop on 6 April and learning how to be a more responsible fashion fan and learning the art of gentle protest with fellow craftivists old and new at Hackney Showroom.

Today I wear red in solidarity for women around the world. But I also think about the women who made these clothes, the conditions of the factories where they work and the stories behind the stitches. I’ve already got my ticket to attend the Mini Fashion Statements workshop on 6 April, to continue to think about who makes my clothes and how I can make bold fashion statements and encourage others to. Even bolder fashion choices than just wearing top to toe red for the day. Will you join me? Information about the workshop and tickets can be found here.

 

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