Our Challenge’s Press Team are tasked with posting a press release every day. Here’s what they have written about day two of our Challenge.
Press Release 04/06/2014
What’s poppin’ in the Guildhall?
Dozens of people flocked to the University of Exeter Fashion Ethics pop-up shop yesterday. Members of the public were spotted rifling through the rails of clothes donated to the Fashion and Ethics Clothes Swap.
The black cab photo booth, situated in the Guildhall Shopping Centre square, piqued a lot of public interest. ‘Write it yourself’ speech bubbles are available throughout the week for visitors to imagine and write what their clothes might say if they could talk. People have been making hilarious use of the multitude of silly sunglasses and props, and a gallery of photos has been uploaded to Instagram. Student teams are wearing clothes inside out, so that their ‘Made in…’ and care instructions, all of the stitching, and the work that went into making them are visible. They are using the social media hashtag #insideout to share their photos, questions, and to invite others to send in their own photos and questions about fashion ethics.
The Fashion Ethics team are using #insideout on all of their Twitter and Instagram posts because its use on Fashion Revolution Day (the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse on 24 April). As founder Carry Somers, explained to the students “#insideout was the number one worldwide trending hashtag on Fashion Revolution Day.”
A passerby, the former Creative Director of a fashion brand based in central London, expressed his interest in the Fashion Ethics project while recounting his former employers’ resistance to incorporating more ethical approaches. He noted that the company seemed more concerned with profits than the wellbeing of their workers. “How will that buy me a yacht?” was one of the responses to his plea for more ethical policies.
The Fashion Ethics team also opened its outdoor cinema in the shopping centre square, while Carry Somers spent a second day helping the students with their Challenge. She described her entrance into the fashion world as a ‘complete accident’ that began she ‘went out to Ecuador for research’. Her success was swift, as her first collection of ‘Made in Ecuador’ Panama hats sold out in 6 weeks, and had a huge social impact on the families of their makers who could finally afford to send their children to school.
Another visitor, Martin Buttle, a consultant within the labour standards industry, told the students that the fashion industry should be more transparent. He recommended consumers take greater interest in the background of their clothing, because ‘brands are listening’. Fashion brands are hearing what socially aware consumers have to say, and social media – as used #insideout on Fashion Revolution Day – is playing an increasingly important role in this process.
Meanwhile, the Challenge’s Detective Work Team spent their day answering important questions from the Guildhall Centre’s manager Sheryel Ashwell: “How ethical are our uniforms? How ethical could they be in the future?” Ethical fashion is not only an issue for High Street shoppers, but also for organisations. If French Post Office workers can be given Fair Trade uniforms to wear, how the Guildhall staff follow suit’.
The Fashion Ethics Challenge continues. Today, the team will be joined by Jocelyn Whipple, an environmentalist and sustainability expert within the fashion and textiles industry. They will also be joined by Irene Griffin, who will be running a ‘Fashion First Aid’ event in the pop-up shop. Customising, repairing, and reworking will be the theme of the day.
Storify ‘live feed’: https://storify.com/followthethings/talking-clothes