For almost 6 years, the Fashion Revolution movement has been encouraging all players in the fashion industry to be more transparent and to promote the advantages of a more ethical consumption. From April 20th to 26th, in commemoration of the disaster that led to this initiative, IFA Paris will once again be working alongside the French branch of the collective, with even more action and determination to change attitudes.
April 24th, 2013 will sadly remain engraved in all memories. In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, the old 8-storey Rana Plaza collapsed in less than 2 minutes. The building housed 5,000 textile workers whose working conditions were horribly precarious, all of whom were subcontractors to major international firms. A very heavy toll, with more than 1,100 deaths and 2,000 wounded, each sacrificed on behalf of the textile industry… a mass industrial homicide, whose only merit was to raise awareness.
In response to this deadly disaster, designers Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro then launched a global campaign to raise awareness of the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry, the Fashion Revolution. The aim was to denounce the transversal responsibility of brands, whose unscrupulous actions have a direct impact on the entire textile industry chain. Some fast fashion brands allow for all sorts of drifts in the countries where they are, and by ripple effect, in the developed countries, where the majority of consumers are.
In order to draw the attention of these mastodons, the activist movement invites citizens, through an annual campaign, to directly question these giants about their activities, the compliance of their subsidiaries with standards, their production conditions, or on aspects related to working conditions. Photos of clothes, visible labels, are posted on social media by anonymous people, together with the hashtag #whomademyclothes. A brisk spread whose virality now meets with 275 million Internet users, based in more than 100 countries….
IFA Paris has been preparing this event behind the scenes for almost 2 months.
On April 20th, in collaboration with the Emmaüs clothing store and the Redress association, the school will host a hackathon day, punctuated by 3 distinct segments; a styling demonstration based on upcycling, followed by a fashion show in the school premises and the realization of an explanatory video for an audience that is unaware of the fundamental principles of sustainable development. Information, imagination, technique and creativity are awaited!
The consumer, a novice in eco-friendly fashion, will discover alternative solutions to his over-consumption of textiles. Concrete proposals backed up by looks made up of second-hand clothes, beautified by our design students. The added value of used clothing lies in everyone’s creativity and reuse skills: these recycling techniques are within the reach of anyone who wishes to redefine his or her consumption habits. The processes of deconstruction and reshaping are not inborn, they can be acquired.
In order to ensure that sustainable development awareness crosses borders, IFA Paris will organize the same event in two additional time zones. Thanks to its partnership with Born Again Vintage and the IFA Paris campus in Turkey, the same upcycling workshop will be held in New York, Paris and Istanbul almost simultaneously.
IFA Paris also teaches short fashion upcycling training courses to help you acquire the skills you need to contribute to the building of the great sustainable development project.
To learn more about this Short Course: Upcycling Fashion
Interview with Jean-Baptiste Andreani, Director of IFA Paris and Delphine Durieux, Project Coordinator:
Jean-Baptiste, as Director of IFA Paris, you are fully aware of the shortcomings of the fashion industry. Your school, which will soon be certified CSR, is fully committed to sustainable development. For what precise reasons do you wager that the future of the fashion industry will be as such?
I don’t know if I would use the term wager, since I see the transformation of the sector on the basis of sustainable development as an inevitability that everyone must be aware of. Through our working sessions with Sandra Wielfaert (our CSR consultant) and Helene Gille (UNESCO consultant who helps us develop our Sustainable Fashion specialization), we quickly realized that we had a duty, as educators, to address in depth the issues of sustainability and ethics in order to transform the way our students approach creation and marketing. Analyzing the destruction of unsold stock as a common practice in this industry only reduces fashion to its simplest commercial expression. For us, fashion is a language that is also a vector of change. We therefore need to relearn an appropriate vocabulary in order to build a new dialectic around sustainable fashion.
Delphine, what message would you like to convey to the students who will participate in this event? Do you secretly hope to inspire vocations through this type of action?
Our goal is to raise participants’ awareness on the issues of waste reduction and product life cycle extension. We are fortunate to have as a partner “Redress”, with whom we are actively working on the development of our programs, who will be present with alumni from the Eco-Chic competition to show workshop participants that we can be creative while being aware of our impact on the environment. The upcycling technique that we will teach on April 20th even allows neophytes to be able to dismantle clothes and make new designs. Anyone can do it; it is an entertaining exercise that allows you to renew your wardrobe without having to spend a single Euro!
I understand that there will be lots of surprises for the participants in the hackathon. Would you prefer to keep them confidential or can you reveal some of them to us?
Indeed, we are delighted to offer all participants, whether they are in Istanbul, New York or Paris, a 30% discount voucher for our short program entitled “Fashion Upcycling this summer”. It will be taught by Bridgett Artise, founder of Born Again Vintage and a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
A little extra for the participants who will join us in Paris: the day will end with a fashion show on our campus. A jury will evaluate the participants’ creations and the winning group will be given a photoshoot of their creation!
For more infos on this event and how to join the hackathon on April 20th on our campus, see details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2227020194011630