I sent my kid to school today wearing all her clothes inside out. She was excited, of course. I mean, what nine-year-old wouldn’t be excited at a chance to wear her clothes inside out?
But as she got dressed we had a lengthy conversation about why today was special inside-out day. First, I needed to be sure she could remember the words “Fashion Revolution.” Revolution is difficult to pronounce when you’re nine. But then I wanted her to understand that Revolution means Big Change. And that by wearing her clothes inside out today she’s asking the question, “Who made your clothes?” and encouraging Big Change in how we think about, purchase, and wear our clothing. We want Big Change from ourselves and from the fashion industry.
We also discussed the Rana Plaza tragedy and the number of people killed and injured in the factory collapse one year ago today. S immediately drew a parallel between Rana Plaza and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. (Kid’s got a memory!) Then we discussed why it matters who makes our clothes, what their working conditions are like, and how much they’re paid.
As she got dressed, she asked me about each piece of clothing she was wearing. We talked about the skirt I made her (which actually looks pretty good inside out!). We talked about the labels inside her other clothing, whether the people who made those clothes were paid a living wage, and whether we could feel good about buying and wearing those clothes.
For her two-year-old Zara cardigan and Old Navy leggings, I’m certain the makers probably weren’t paid enough and the labor practices were less than stellar, and we probably won’t buy anything more from those companies unless their business practices change. For one item I was able to tell her that I’ve investigated the company and feel OK about their business practices but I think they could be doing a lot more. (Keep improving, J. Crew!) And for her Lands’ End backpack I had to admit that I don’t know. We’ll do some research about that company tonight. If she could have turned her sneakers and backpack inside out, she would have, but she chose her New Balance sneakers over her Lands’ End school shoes because I told her New Balance makes many of their shoes in the U.S.
That was enough for one kid to remember for one day. I can guarantee she’ll be talking about this to her friends, which is exactly what I had hoped she would do. And tonight we’ll talk about waste and consumption and how it’s important that we don’t buy (or make!) more than we really need.
I’m wearing my Lisette Attache Dress inside out. And let me tell you, the lining side is much more comfortable than the wool crepe side! One of these days I need to teach you how to make your own lining, I know.
Here’s a nice article about Fashion Revolution Day and kids, too.
Anyway, who made your clothes? Do you know? If you don’t, you can go here to start learning. I’m really trying to be more conscious about where I buy my clothes, how much I buy, and how long I wear them. Be part of the Fashion Revolution!