Fashion Revolution Day (Plus Shopping)

by Jenni Avins on April 27, 2014

This week marked the one-year anniversary since the deadly collapse at Rana Plaza that killed more than 1,100 workers. It’s difficult to gauge the progress in improving workers’ safety. Two main coalitions of western fashion brands have formed — the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety — and although there seems to be some disagreement among them, the good news is that efforts for improvement are still very much in the media and the public eye.

from Fashion Revolution Day’s instagram

I was really happy on Thursday morning to receive an email from the informative and influential site, The Business of Fashion, with the subject line: BoF Supports Fashion Revolution Day – #InsideOut. What followed was an excerpt and link to an op-ed written by Tamsin Blanchard, a British writer who is the style director at the Telegraph and the author of the 2008 book, Green is the New Black. She wrote about a new initiative, Fashion Revolution Day, that’s raising awareness through events (though they seem to be mostly in the UK so far), social media, and a great looking website with essays and photographs showing garment factories around the world.

Other media outlets have done well to keep the tragedy at Rana Plaza top-of-mind by continuing to follow up on the story. Quartz — soon to be my own employer — published an update that touched on the state of Bangladesh’s garment industry, the under-compensated fund for injured workers, and even a visit to the rubble where Rana Plaza once stood. The New York Times photographer Ismail Ferdous, obviously shaken by the experience of photographing the aftermath at Rana Plaza, made “The Deadly Cost of Fashion,” an op-doc with Nathan Fitch that revisits the experience and attempts to frame the tragedy in the scheme of a global economy and society, with a personal voice. (It’s very moving, and very sad.) All of these stories and campaigns offer ways for us western consumers to get involved, whether by signing petitions for brands to pay into workers’ funds, making donations ourselves, or simply wearing our clothes inside-out, to ask publicly: who made this?

I have always been a wearer of vintage clothing, and today it seems like a smart, simple, and beautiful way to participate in the joys of fashion, while stepping away from the convoluted ethics of the fashion system. So, I was happy to get another fashion-related announcement this week. Stefany Mohebban, who I worked with last year for my Wall Street Journal story about personal shoppers, is curating a vintage sale at Dusty Rose Vintage in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this afternoon. Stefany has an incredible eye, so in spite of a heap of freelance work to do today, I may just take a break for a spring refresh myself. Check it out if you’re in the neighborhood. Happy Sunday!


“The Fashionista’s Dilemma,” Marie Claire, 2011

“Fast Fashion Unraveled,” Medium, 2013


J.Crew Resurrects the Scoop-Back Swimsuit…As Requested!

April 7, 2014

If you’ve followed this blog (or just known me) for any length of time, you know my search for the perfect swimsuit has for years been unrelenting. It turns out, all I had to do was ask the right person: Jenna Lyons. Last August, I wrote an open letter to Ms. Lyons, J.Crew’s beloved creative [...]

Read the full article →

Rachel Comey, High Maintenance

Thumbnail image for Rachel Comey, High Maintenance April 4, 2014

I highly enjoyed this video. High Maintenance // Rachel from Janky Clown Productions on Vimeo. I was a little late to the party on this one, but found it fortuitously while late-night window shopping on Rachel Comey’s website, where it’s currently the background. My sister was sitting beside me and we snuggled up and watched [...]

Read the full article →

Tazreen Factory Owners Jailed in Bangladesh

Thumbnail image for Tazreen Factory Owners Jailed in Bangladesh February 14, 2014

While some of us were wrapped up with New York Fashion Week, two fugitive owners of the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh—where 112 workers died in November of 2012 when they were trapped by a fire—turned themselves in to authorities on Sunday. The Guardian reports: Witnesses said several hundred people gathered at the court and [...]

Read the full article →

Save Your Fashion Week Swag Bags for Foundation Onda

Thumbnail image for Save Your Fashion Week Swag Bags for Foundation Onda February 7, 2014

A couple years ago Erin Dixon, my dear friend and editor at Dossier Journal, stepped away for a moment during New York Fashion Week to attend a seminar with Safe Horizons—an organization that helps women overcome domestic abuse by offering shelter, counseling, and court assistance. Needless to say, that seminar, and the horrific circumstances faced [...]

Read the full article →

“Salute the Generals,” For the Wall Street Journal

Thumbnail image for “Salute the Generals,” For the Wall Street Journal January 12, 2014

It took all my resistance not to shop my way through the reporting of this story about next-generation general stores for the Wall Street Journal: There’s nothing generic about the new general store. “We felt like a certain quality, craftsmanship and timeless feel would be more than enough to unify the things we carry,” said [...]

Read the full article →

If You Only Watch One Part of Planet Money’s Tremendous T-Shirt Project, Make it This Video

Thumbnail image for If You Only Watch One Part of Planet Money’s Tremendous T-Shirt Project, Make it This Video December 12, 2013

For real, just head straight to Planet Money’s exquisite site devoted to their “Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt” project, because I promise, you will be consumed and entertained, and you will learn something. So much of the so-called “transparency” in the fashion marketplace right now is just marketing that includes attractive people in factory environs, [...]

Read the full article →