One of the main objectives of ethical fashion advocates is to ensure the wellbeing of producers, including fair compensation and safe working conditions. The “Who Made My Clothes” movement aims to foster a personal connection between producers and consumers, and to increase overall awareness throughout the fashion industry for the talented hands behind the clothes we wear.
The Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh in 2013 sparked this movement. The Dhaka garment factory began to show signs of structural weakness in April, with large cracks appearing along the walls. The factory was cleared for use following an inspection. But, on April 24th, the day after the inspection, the entire eight story building collapsed in under 90 seconds, killing 1,134 workers and injuring over 2,500. This event brought the issues surrounding unsafe working conditions for factory and garment workers around the world to light.
The Who Made My Clothes movement, started in 2014 by co-founders Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro, began with the mission to mobilize different actors in the fashion industry, including designers, producers, brands, and consumers, to shift the values of the industry to include well-being for everyone in the value chain over pure profit alone. Creating a connection between consumers and makers is a key way to increase awareness, as it humanizes the otherwise impersonal value chain and increases consumer accountability for their purchasing habits. It was a movement organized by Fashion Revolution, also co-founded by Somers and Castro, which works to end environmental and human exploitation, increasing transparency and accountability, reform the culture of fast fashion and reduce textile waste, ensure workers receive fair wages and recognize and value craftsmanship and skill.
The Who Made My Clothes movement provides publicly accessible tools, graphics, and instructions for involvement in the campaign. The most popular way that people have engaged with the movement is through social media. The hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes, a call for consumers to question the origins of their clothing, was used over 800k times in 2021. The hashtag #IMadeYourClothes, created to bring visibility to the talented, hardworking makers that produced the clothing, was shared over 223k times in 2021, and the promotional poster with the slogan has been translated into 35 languages to ensure global participation is possible. In response to the hashtag, brands were motivated to increase their own transparency, with 3,838 global brands responding on social media with accurate information about their supply chains.
Due to its success, the Who Made My Clothes movement has been followed by additional campaigns aimed at educating consumers on the origin of their clothes, including Who Made My Fabric, a campaign aimed at increasing transparency on textile supply chains from field to fabric. These movements work to inform the public about some of the harmful realities of the fashion industry, and how brands, individuals, and organizations can work together to ensure that the industry moves towards more equitable standards for all within the supply chain.