Fashion Revolution Move – Interview with Ariane Piper country coordinator of Fashion Revolution Germany
A sunny Monday marked the beginning of Berlin Fashion Week 2019 that happened earlier this month. While many fashionistas headed over to the runway shows, a group of change-makers took over the streets for Fashion Revolution Move. Their motivation is to reach transparency, better working conditions and environmental sustainability within the global fashion industry.
It was a summer afternoon in Berlin, July 1st, when several activists started to get together at Friedrichstadtpalast organising themselves for a demonstration, some were busy preparing a performance, others had already signs in their hands excited for the beginning of it.
After a beautiful speech from Orsola de Castro, co-founder of Fashion Revolution, the protesters started walking over Friedrichstraße towards Potsdamer Platz, both big shopping areas in Berlin full of consumers passing by, coming in and out of the chain stores. The Fashion Revolution music truck carrying DJ and band opened up the way for the demonstrators. On the front line the performance act by Hessnatur: A huge inflated T-shirt and 55 people wearing white numbered t-shirts, representing the amount of labour needed to produce one single piece of clothing. Representatives of the NGO Future Fashion Forward e.V., that coordinates the Fashion Revolution campaign in Germany, took the occasion to inform consumers on the streets starring at the demonstration by handing over to them an informative text about the global goals of the campaign, inlcuding the Fashion Revolution Manifesto.
Fashion Revolution is a global movement drawing attention to the unethical practices of the textile supply chain. It aims to provoke systematic change and bring solutions to create an ethical and sustainable future for fashion brands. The movement is known all over the world thanks to the viral social media campaign #whomademyclothes, which engages labels and consumers globally to question how their garments are being produced. One of the major problems in the fashion industry is the working conditions in garment factories, something Fashion Revolution protests for change since it’s beginning. The movement was born on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse where more than one thousand garment workers were killed and many more were injured.
We interviewed Ariane Piper, country coordinator of Fashion Revolution Germany, who also co-organized the Fashion Revolution Move and shared with us some insider knowledge about the campaign.
Ariane, can you tell us a bit more about your role as a country coordinator of Fashion Revolution Germany?
It’s now the 3rd year being the Country Coordinator for Fashion Revolution Germany. A post that can only be done when you are heart-driven for the topic. I love fashion and I care about the environment and the people involved in creating fashion. I want to support change and improve conditions. Fashion is a global phenomenon. My role as a country coordinator is mostly networking and communications between the lead team in UK and the coordination of the national team.
What was the Fashion Revolution Move on July 1st about, and was there a reason it happened during the Berlin Fashion Week?
The Fashion Revolution Move has the aim to draw attention, unite activist for a better fashion industry and point out the issues in the textile and fashion industry. During Fashion Week the city is all about Fashion. We showed for the second time that Fashion Week should also about reflecting the fashion business. Fashion should be produced under better conditions and be environmentally friendly. It is important to spread this message.
At the demo, we saw many people wearing white T-shirts with numbers, could you explain to us a little bit more about the concept of this performance.
We collaborated with one of the pioneers of fair fashion, Hessnatur. The idea came up to visualize a living infographic during the demo that displays the people that are needed to produce one sample white shirt. It’s 55 people that are involved to finally gain one t-shirt. So we asked 55 people to wear a white shirt and a number and walk behind a giant blown-up t-shirt. It looked quite impressive and is quite an impressive fact to know that so many people are affected by consumers choices.
Fashion Revolution has been around for more than 6 years, would you say the movement is growing and do you see any big changes from when it started?
Fashion revolution is definitely growing. Each year the numbers of people that are reached and get involved are raising. The #whomademyclothes was used 30% more often in 2018 than the year before. We are still analysing the data of this years revolution, but I am sure there will be a positive development as well. The campaign is now established and respected for its values, activities and aims.
Fashion Revolution has a Manifesto with 10 important points that must change to create a fair and sustainable industry. Do you believe that it is possible to achieve that and do you feel we are moving towards it soon?
I see it as process and patience is needed to reach this vision. I see change happening. Every year more beautiful, innovative and fair brands show up. And also the big brands have realized that sustainability is necessary, and some of them understood that it is not only obligatory action but equally a driving force that will bring value to the brand. Nevertheless, it’s still a long way to go. Sometimes I compare it to the food industry. It took decades to establish organic food in our society but we have a big advantage today. Information and exchange can happen much faster and easier due to digitalization. I will remain optimistic and look out into a fair fashion future.
Apart from the Fashion Revolution, could you tell us a little bit more about your background and your recent collaboration with Green Fashion Tours?
I dedicate a great amount of myself towards fair fashion. It started in my studies when I got to know about the bad sides of the fashion industry. Back in those days, buying second hand and organizing swap parties was my way to contribute to the problem. I worked as a consultant, project manager and educator in sustainable fashion. Nowadays I am lucky to have three engagements that fullfill me and keep me going: Besides the Country Coordination and being a member of Future Fashion Forward e.V., I follow my professional and private goals as a freelancer and can contribute my experience and knowledge since recently as a member of the team of Green Fashion Tours.
Fashion Revolution Move was organised by Future Fashion Forward e.V. in collaboration with Remain Different, Engagement Global, Hessnatur and Neonyt. Apart from protests and actions in Berlin, they run an all year-long global campaign on social media which everyone can take part in. To get updates and more information about Fashion Revolution events and campaigns access the website www.fashionrevolution.org or follow @fashrev_de on Instagram.
About the blog author:
Mariana Lourenço is from Brazil, has studied Fashion Media Production at London College of Fashion and has several years of experience as a fashion stylist. Currently living in Berlin, she is the co-founder and editor of Stories Collective magazine, works sorting second-hand clothes for a social project and has been a contributor of GFT since Oct 2017. Passionate about fair fashion, sustainability and yoga she loves to share her thoughts through writing. Find her at @marianaloub or www.marianalourenco.com
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