Posts tagged Black Women
Commes Des Revolution – #whomademyclothes
(all photos sourced via @fash_rev)

(all photos sourced via @fash_rev)

We’ve just wrapped up Fashion Revolution Week 2019.

You might have seen the ever-growing hashtag ‘#whomademyclothes’ rampant across social media platforms. And like a call and response at your favourite artist’s show, brands are responding with ‘#Imadeyourclothes’.

So what exactly is Fashion Revolution Week, who’s behind these harmonised hashtags, and why is it important?

The international movement came to fruition after the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. An industry disrupting moment that highlighted the consequences of being an unconcerned and detached consumer. A tragedy that highlighted how we as consumers, alongside producers and brands have a responsibility to take better care of the people and the environment impacted by our frivolous purchasing decisions.

Annually, the two organisations that represent this whirlwind movement (Fashion Revolution CIC and the Fashion Revolution Foundation) run the harmonised hashtag campaign across social media; with the intention to change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed.

Skin + Pepper Fashion Revolution

They push for collaboration between all those who contribute to putting clothes in your wardrobe, including you. And beyond that, they push for brands to operate with complete transparency with their supply chain. Like true industry disruptors they only lead by example, as their website displays in plain sight how they are funded, alongside all Financial Statements leading back to 2015.

Allowing another incident like the Rana Plaza collapse to happen would insinuate that as brands and consumers across the globe, we care more about how we look and what we wear than we do the quality of life for some.

A complete change in behaviours from farmer to consumer is what we need to ensure that we’re not sacrificing lives for new jeans. Fashion Revolution and the week long, global campaign that they run is pivotal to not only helping us make better decisions, and smoothly transition into a more mindful approach to our beloved industry, but also serve as a digital community and network for us all to plug into.


Skin + Pepper Fashion Revolution Social Campaign

But what does this all mean?

In short, it means that consumers are ready for ethical practices across the industry, and organisations like Fashion Revolution are providing the resources, knowledge and pathway for brands to be able to.

– Kyah Parrott

What we really mean

The discourse around colourism in the fashion industry is sorely outdated.

Mainstream media platforms have been taken by storm by the likes of Black women like Issa Rae, and men like Jordan Peele. Collectively, their viewpoints reflect and take action towards creating space within mainstream media for Black people. Issa Rae’s infamous comment at the 2017 Emmy’s, “I’m rooting for everybody Black”, was controversial to say the least. But a welcome change of pace for the Black community in relation to an industry that’s overly saturated in a distinct shade of white.

issa-rae-pf1.png


Once upon a time this was not so.

The dialogue in the entertainment industry around female rappers is indicative of the archaic views thrust upon the Black community, and subsequently adopted by us. That there’s only room for one.

That “one” was the tokenistic approach to silencing cries of racism. We’ve seen it in movies, tv shows, runways and practically everything that reaches the wider public.

The modelling industry has been consistently under fire for it’s reluctance to change. While pay rates rise across industries, models are still fighting for basic OH&S and in a lot of instances, wages that reflect modelling as a profession.

photo sourced via @adutakech

photo sourced via @adutakech

So it should come as no surprise that the same antiquated rhetoric and ideologies around tokenism that make female rap go-round, also penetrate our beloved industry. There can only be one.

Models have been given a voice alongside the rest of us since social media became so widely adapted. They’ve been calling out casting directors left, right and centre for the absurd requests made. Like to only drink water for 24 hours before the show. Imagine.

But many models, almost always Black, have been calling out the industry for blatant colourism. The favouritism of lighter skinned Black women permeates across the industry, globally. Particularly for commercial work. The fetishization of dark skin Black women is rife in editorial displays, but when it comes to selling products to the wider public? Brands tend to go for the iteration of Black that still incorporates elements of whiteness.

Still, we remain in a vicious cycle of unlearning in an industry that taught us ‘there can only be one’. Our words tend to reflect this doctrine. We say colourism in the industry has simply got to go. What that really means is that the minuscule percentage of gigs allotted to Black women should be equally spread across dark skin and light skin Black women. Which is indeed true, but what we really mean is that at a bare minimum, double down on that percentage and make room for us all. Whiteness is treated like a canvas across the industry, and if the casting call doesn’t call for ethnic, exotic or specifically Black, Black models are dismissed.
So put us forward, light skin, dark skin and every shade in between; for your regular shmegular roles typically reserved for non-Black models.