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Fashion Revolution - WE ARE THE REVOLUTION

April 17, 2021

Fashion Revolution - WE ARE THE REVOLUTION

The birth of a revolution is powerful.  A revolution must inspire deep change, not just talk or virtue signalling.  It must not be left to die out either. Revolutions historically have been born from mass revolts—the ‘proletariat’ demanding fair treatment, rights, non-exploitative working conditions. This revolution, the fashion revolution, is sparked on behalf of workers. 

 

We need to work toward a system wherein workers have a voice and have agency in this revolution.  Only then will there be equitable trading practices. Unlike a physical revolution where there is an uprising and social upheaval, in fair trade, workers are continuing to work, and more equitable relationships are being developed one step at a time within an existing system. 

 

Those of us, individuals and companies, who work in fair trade are all working for the revolution, one step at a time.  For example, every time we at Mehera Shaw balance our budget to ensure workers get paid on time instead of allocating the funds for something else, every decision we make to protect worker rights, every time we postpone an expansion in favor of ensuring on time payments, when we give 3 month lead times to customers to ensure we can meet worker needs and not demand overtime, when we request a 50% deposit on bulk orders, these are all conscious decisions we take to ensure we are meeting fair trade labor standards and are doing right by our workers first.  It takes daily commitment to ethical standards.  It requires daily prioritising. 

 

We also need to recognise that fair trade is trade—equitable working agreements. Fair trade is not charity. Fair trade is not hero-preneurship. We who work in this field are not heroes or saviors.  Fair trade is trade.  Workers earn their salaries.  It is a reciprocal relationship for the benefit of all parties.  Workers do have choices about where they work and for whom they work.  When they choose to work with fair trade enterprises, it is because it is a mutually beneficial relationship.  Fair trade ensures labor standards wherein workers have bargaining power, transparent work agreements, have clear understanding of contracts, and can demand fair treatment and pay.  It is a necessary step in the revolution.

 

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Fashion Revolution has rightly called the worlds’s attention to workers and to the need for transparency.  Another necessary step, ’I Made Your Clothes’ uses photos to make workers visible.  It is a powerful message.  The campaign calls on us all to demand transparency in supply chains with the goal of protecting worker rights.  It has had a powerful impact in terms of raising awareness of the issues.

 

Photos of workers drive the campaign, but taken out of context, photos can, at times, mean that well-intended social media and dialog about workers overlooks worker’s voices—their agency.  We need to realise that the revolution needs to include the voice of the workers themselves.  Rather than priding ourselves on giving them ‘great jobs’, sharing their photos and talking about them, we collectively need to include them in the discussion.  Workers deserve to have their privacy respected and their voices heard. 

 

But even within fair trade, it is a challenge to create means for workers’ voices to be heard in the broader context.  When parties other than the workers themselves are advocating for revolution, we must be very cautious for we about speaking for an other

 

I say this because I sit on both sides—I am the creative director of a Western brand in the Global North. I am also the executive director of an artisan based manufacturing company in the Global South.  I know our workers personally.  I have been to their families’ weddings, seen their children grow up, been present to celebrate family moments and mourn the loss of family members.  Our workers are people like you and me.  But unlike you and me who have a great deal of agency in terms of brand promotion and representation, workers may lack formal education and are not full participants in the ‘big picture’. They do not have full agency.

 

We all need to be careful when representing workers and sharing stories about them.  Fair trade also means protected trade.  We shouldn’t need protected trade in 2021.  The term ‘fair’ should be redundant in 2021.  The term ‘trade’ should already be understood as meaning a mutually beneficial, reciprocal relationship.  But this is not the case.  So the revolution is still in the hands of those with agency.  We all need to use our ‘voice’ wisely, respect those without a voice and work to form strong, supportive, sustainable relationships in our supply chains so that workers will be visible, heard and respected.  To collaborate, to see both sides, to learn, adjust, and work toward transparency.  What we are working toward are equitable relationships in which all participants have agency.  We are working toward a time when workers are the voice of the revolution.




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Fit/Sizing/Care

FIT

Our styles are meant to give room to breath and move.  We use fine tailoring coupled with a relaxed, comfortable fit.

We use a fit guide for each of our styles to provide more information about the fit that was intended.

Slim Fit: a close fit to the body. Regular Fit: a comfortable, relaxed fit with room around the body. Generous Fit: a very loose fit (such as in our oversized blouses) with lots of room around the body for ease of movement.

SIZING

h4XS/ 36

h4S/ 38

h4M/40

h4L/ 42

h4XL/44

h4chest

h435.5 inches/ 90 cm

h437.5 inches/95 cm

h439.5 inches/ 100 cm

h441.5 inches/ 105 cm

h444.5 inches. 113 cm

h44cm extra from body

h4waist

h426 inches/ 66 cm

h428 inches/ 71 cm

h430 inches/ 76 cm

h432 inches/ 81 cm

h435 inches/ 89 cm

h4fitted

h4low waist

h428 inches/71 cm

h430 inches/76 cm

h432 inches/ 81 cm

h434 inches/ 86 cm

h437 inches/ 94 cm

h4fitted

h4hip

h437 inches/ 94 cm

h439 inches/ 99 cm

h441 inches/ 104 cm

h443 inches/ 109 cm

h446 inches/ 1

h44cm extra from body

WASHCARE

All garments have been washed several times during the printing/dyeing and manufacturing process.  

CARE for 100% cotton

We recommend cold water machine wash (up to 30 degrees celsius) with a bio detergent and either tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade for all of our 100% cotton garments/homewares (except for quilts).  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.  

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Cold water wash and low heat drying or line drying in the shade will increase the life of the garment, prolong the vibrancy of the colors and reduce energy use. Shrinkage on all cottons is minimal, approximately 3%.

Garments/homewares are dyed or printed using AZO free, low-impact, pigment or reactive dyes unless otherwise noted.  These dyes are color-fast, but care should still be taken to wash with like colors to retain the vibrancy of the colors.

CARE for 100% cotton quilts

For quilts with cotton fill, we recommend spot or light surface cleaning only with a damp cloth and mild detergent.  Eco-friendly dry cleaning is also recommended. 

CARE for herbal/vegetable dye items

Vegetable dyes are not colorfast and are specifically marked in the product description.  We strongly recommend that all vegetable dye products be washed once before use in a cold water wash with minimal detergent.  Wash separately. Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  Iron on reverse side.  Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Please keep in mind that indigo dye does continually fade over time.  This is the nature of true indigo dye and is not a defect, but rather a sign of the 'living' nature of the dye.

CARE for silk and cotton/silk

For our silk and cotton silk garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Dry cleaning using an eco-friendly service is also recommended.

CARE for linen and cotton/linen

For our linen and cotton linen garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.