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Sustainable Fashion Experiences for a Healthier World

We curate interactive, educating & engaging experiences showing students how clothing is made to demand a safer & fairer fashion industry.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Fashion is one of the topmost polluting industry in the world. Our clothes go on a long journey before they reach our bodies, passing through the hands of farmers, weavers, dyers, sewers, etc. The majority of these workers live in poverty both in the US and developing countries. They make salaries below living wage, work in unsafe and toxic conditions, and are subject to physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Fortunately, there is a growing global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability, and ethics.
 
Non-profit organizations including Fashion Revolution USA and Beyond the Label encourage shoppers all over the world to demand change by asking brands #whomademyclothes and #whatsinmytee. Our idea is to expand these campaigns further. More specifically, with your help, we will develop a toolkit of sustainable fashion experiences and provide students with interactive activities by introducing them to people who make the most sustainable and innovative fabric and clothes. By visiting local farms, manufacturing facilities, dye houses, sewing facilities, etc. students will be culturally immersed, see positive business models, and see that fashion doesn’t have to exploit and harm the workers who make it.

During these field trips, students have the opportunity to see and interact with all aspects of the supply chain. When students are able to meet makers and see the process of how clothes are made, they become personally invested. Makers, in turn, will get more recognition and press and the opportunity to learn from potential consumers and continue to evolve their brands. This type of radical transparency propels the sustainable fashion movement onward and upward. It is our goal that through these experiences that we create the platform to influence conscious spending and production habits, thereby positively influencing the way our clothes are sourced, produced, and purchased and the way people and our planet are treated and cared for through fashion.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

To start, the experiences would begin in LA & NYC, the two major fashion hubs in the US. Initially, we focus on educating and engaging high school & university students. Furthermore, we will partner with programs or departments that have some relatable focus (i.e., STEM, science, sustainability, fashion, circular economy, supply chain, etc.).

Everyone wears clothes, so everyone can benefit. But, our goal is to have the people who make our clothes benefit the most. When we educate and influence young consumers, they make better choices. When sustainable businesses are supported, they grow & can even influence the standards for other companies. When we clean up our practices & supply chains we are working towards cleaner air, soil, & water and improving the standards for garment workers. There is a clear benefit to the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet & Profit can all benefit. As we continue to support the circular economy, the sustainable fashion movement continues to grow.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our idea is unique because we give students interactive experiences to observe all aspects of the fashion supply chain & connect with makers. Right now most other activities are one-directional.

The sustainable fashion industry is publically emerging & the two organizations behind this proposal, Fashion Revolution USA & Beyond the Label, are highly respected & connected. Fashion Revolution, in particular, is the #1 leader in advocacy, and both organizations have been in this sector longer than many others, & have fostered incredible relationships with cutting edge advocates, top innovators, & passionate experts open to being transparent when posed tough questions posed by students. Furthermore, Fashion Revolution USA already has rich collateral & online & print resources that inform & advocate the consumer about the industry; & Beyond the Label already has experience in events & interactive experiences. Together the two are looking to take the fashion industry to the next level.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Fashion Revolution USA educates & engages people about the social & environmental impact of their clothing purchases so that they demand a more sustainable fashion industry & circular economy for all. http://www.fashionrevolution.org/north-america/usa/

Beyond the Label is a charitable organization that addresses the question “What's in my tee?” to encourage shoppers to consider what their t-shirt is made of & how their purchase affects the world, workers & themselves. http://www.labeyondthelabel.com

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,138 garment workers. Since, people from all over the world have been increasingly coming together to use the power of fashion to change the world. Beyond the Label exposes health issues connected to toxins in fabric & fashion production. Fashion Revolution USA educates about the labor & environmental issues in fashion. Both are leaders in this space & are partnering to shift spending & the course of the fashion industry

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Fashion Revolution USA and Beyond the Label have a positive local and global influence on getting people to think about “Who made my clothes?” and “What’s in my tee?” They both humanize the clothing making process and shift consumer behavior. We need our voices to be heard through community-led experiences.

Prosperity "Who made my clothes?" Currently, the issues of inhumane treatment and unfair wages are being exposed in the fashion industry. There is an opportunity through our idea to create awareness to unexposed abuse and support ways to enforce standards through transparency

Planet "What's in my tee?" Transparency and the effect the fashion industry has on air, water, soil, and waste is a local, domestic, and global issue. Currently, the issues of chemicals in fabric, unregulated dumping, and microfibers are being exposed in the media. Through our experiences, we open up the discussion and interaction further to expose students to what is really happening and what can be done

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Beyond the Label & Fashion Revolution USA are partnering to build on previous work and partnerships to take this idea to the next level. Together, we will work with schools, programs, and companies that have a STEM, sustainability & science focus. Fabric and fashion production factories will open their doors, so students can engage with their experts and workers. A short list of some of our supporters have included, Environmental Charter High School, UCLA, Patagonia, Groceries Apparel, Reformation, and documentary films Riverblue & The Trust Cost.
  
As past examples, Beyond the Label brought innovative fabric technology brand Lenzing to visit students in class, and also has taken students on Fashion Field Trips to Patagonia HQ, the LA Textile Show, FIDM Fabric Library, and the Groceries Apparel & Reformation factories. Students participating in these experiences have gone on to become ethical advocates, work in sustainable fashion, and have changed their shopping habits dramatically

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

We are:
- positioned in cities (LA & NYC) which are hubs for fashion & many of the facilities & partners we are seeking for our experiences
- considered leaders in this space & are highly respected & connected
We have:
- a track record for being able to capitalize on the opportunity to amplify our voices, events & activities through media
- students & pros excited to film & share experiences
- an incredible growing fan & volunteer base ready to share the purpose & passion for the work

Geographic Focus

We educate and engage with students throughout the United States with an initial focus on LA & NYC.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

We expect the initial project to be completed in a maximum of 24 months running alongside our other program activities. Note: The idea is to keep repeating & replicating the project as necessary & resources allow.
First 3 months - Pre-planning stage (i.e. secure resources & staff)
3-6 months - Planning stage (i.e. logistics and partners)
6-12 months - Implementation Stage
12-18 months - Review Stage (i.e., evaluate & revise)
18-24 months - Final Stage (i.e., present & replicate)

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

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