Kathmandu’s Fair Trade Fashion
Why has it become important to ask the question “Who made my clothes?” Why has the hashtag #whomademyclothes? taken social media by storm? The answer to these questions is simple but the story behind the answer is not.
In 2013 a Bangladesh clothing factory, Ratna Plaza, collapsed killing 1,133 and injuring 2,500 people, due to lack of concern for the structurally unsound building. This factory had been one of the main suppliers to many clothing lines throughout the world. The tragedy that occurred on April 24th became a wake-up call to many people that now was the time to look at the negative effects fast fashion is having on the world around us. April 24th became the start of what’s now known as Fashion Revolution week in over 90 countries.
The question “Who made my clothes?” is answered during this time as many ethical clothing companies band together to show what can be achieved in a healthy and eco-friendly work environment. This past week in Kathmandu, Nepal, thirteen clothing lines came together and put on an event to make the public more aware of how they can help the fashion industry. On April 29th, 2017 these companies created a showroom at a local cafe where the public could come and view their clothing as well as meet the people who made it.
While walking around and looking at the top-quality products and talked to the smiling people who made the clothes, it was apparent just how big of an impact the fashion we choose has on the world around us.
One of the companies featured at this event was a small clothing line called Hatti Hatti. I visited their workshop a few days prior to see what an ethical company looked like in action. When I came the girls were making tea and laughing together. I immediately felt at home in their company and the big windows let the sunlight in adding to the cheeriness of the place. They showed me their handmade products with pride and told me all about their latest designs.
One of my favorite things about this particular clothing line was the feeling that everyone’s creativity was needed, everyone had something to give to the team and help make the product better. This clothing line also helps the environment by creating all their products from repurposed saris. This means that each dress, necktie, or bag made has an individual flair and also means one less article of clothing being added to the 1 million pounds of textiles thrown in landfills every year.
The fashion industry today could grow in many ways, there are still many factories polluting the environment, paying their workers unfair wages, and producing a less than quality product. However, these problems will slowly disappear as people begin asking the question, “Who made my clothes?” Fashion Revolution week and events like this one here in Kathmandu are great ways to learn more about our part in creating and supporting clothing manufacturing all over the world.