Fashion Revolution Day Singapore

If you see youths donning flipped-out clothes in town, don’t freak out. It’s not a strange fad they’re buying into, but rather, a social cause.

Global sustainable wear movement Fashion Revolution Day (FRD) made its Singaporean debut at *SCAPE on April 26, over 1 year after the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh on April 24. The incident claimed the lives of 1,133 garment workers who died working long hours for a pittance, and was one of the worst fashion industry disasters to hit modern history. Fashion Revolution Day Article Photo #1

The event tagline – “Who made your clothes?” – resonated in FRD’s lineup of recycling workshops and a mini runway show. Visitors learnt how to make jewelry with spare semi-precious stones from Design Up Asia, a social enterprise for single mothers to make jewelry for a living, and even how to recycle T-shirts with Design Changemakers.

“I kinda ruined one of the T-shirts as I cut the hole too big,” laughed 14-year-old student Cassanda Lim, as she clutched her new tote bag made from knotting a pre-loved band tee.

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FRD also saw a clothes swap booth cleverly known as TOPSWOP, where fashionistas and flea market hunters mutually exchanged stylish second-hand pieces. A professional fashion consultant was even on-site to provide style advice.

Event participant and self-professed ethical fashion enthusiast Reynaldo Padit, 26, praised FRD as a “really great movement” for its fun way of educating youths about a good cause they would otherwise miss.

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He also urged them to stem their rate of fast fashion consumption, a key driving force behind the fashion world’s human rights and environmental issues. Many mass fashion labels change their collections rapidly while keeping production costs low, so as to satisfy cash-strapped youths who are always on the hunt for something new.

Padit explained, “Our environment is endangered because we produce lots of textiles and fabrics in order to [keep up] with what is happening in the fashion industry.”

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Yumiko Uno, 32, designer-owner of Singapore’s pioneer eco-friendly label Etrican cited how online platforms like blogshops make it even easier to get clothes cheaply and quickly at the expense of underprivileged factory workers worldwide.

“When they have orders, sometimes they need it fast. And if they can’t make the deadline, the factory has to operate 24 hours non-stop,” she lamented, adding that the workers get so sleepy working overtime that their hands get caught in their sewing machines.

Of course, no fashion event is complete without its own runway show. Volunteer models from *SCAPE’s KPOP Dance Off team wrapped up the event in true flashmob style, thrilling crowdgoers as they sashayed confidently down an open flight of stairs. In a symbolic move, they also paused halfway to flip their eco-friendly Etrican clothes inside out in a makeshift changing area.

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Despite FRD’s overall success, Yumiko acknowledged the turnout here was small compared to countries like the United Kingdom which saw over 3,000 attendants. However, she remained hopeful the message of sustainable fashion would catch on quickly with Singaporeans.

Padit had the last words on stemming fervent fashion consumption: “Fashion is a lifestyle that you choose. It’s not just about the clothes that you wear but it’s how you represent yourself. Even if you buy this last year, you can always wear that this year!”

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Small Ways, Big Impact

Here’s how you can participate in sustainable fashion:

1. Select your labels

Choose brands who state their clothes come from  “conscious collections” or are certified sustainable by the Global Organic Trade Standard (GOTS). Use the power of the Internet to find even more labels.

2. Recycle

Give your old clothes a new lease of life by transforming them into items like a bag or bracelet. There are tons of easy craft tutorials on Pinterest and WeHeartIt, and the best part is that you can totally personalize your clothing.

3. Buy Less

Seriously, put down that pair of pants you swear you need in a different color. As Yumiko explained, “Invest in good pieces that you love so you can keep on wearing them in different ways. Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. Don’t buy it because you didn’t buy anything that day.”