Fashion Revolution Week 2020
The Collapse of Rana Plaza
In 2013 the world stood by in horror, watching one of the most catastrophic garment factory accidents in history: the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. The building had previously been declared unsafe, but workers, despite expressing serious fear for their lives, were sent back to continue making clothes to meet fast fashion deadlines. The devastating collapse killed 1,134 people and injured over 2,000 more. The clothing that was being produced in the Plaza was for brands sold all over the world, including in the west, often with a cheap price tag.
The Birth of Fashion Revolution
Marking the date, determined to create a world in which garment worker rights are a priority trumping profit, Fashion Revolution was born. Every April, we remember those who lost their lives, and demand transparency from fashion labels, by asking them #WhoMadeMyClothes? We ask how the people who make and produce our garments, bags and shoes are treated, what their work environment is like, how they are paid, what rights they have.
Who makes Kinds of Grace bags, and where are they?
Our luxury bags are handcrafted with love in a small studio close to our founder Grace’s family in Guangzhou, an hour from where she grew up in Hong Kong.
This production studio was hand selected by Grace and her family to ensure an ethical and fair working environment, and we work closely along side their team.
The majority of the skilled artisans who create our bags have over ten years of experience in bag making, with the average age of the craftsmen and women being ~ 40 years old.
What rights do Kinds of Grace craftspeople receive?
Each of our production team members receive:
- a liveable wage above that which is legally required
- a fair work environment
- a 90 minute lunch
- multiple breaks during the day
- sick leave
Our responsibility as designers
In a world where garment workers, and mostly anyone who is out of sight, and so out of mind is so easily mistreated, we have a responsibility to ensure we act differently. So many fashion labels, often without awareness, create garments and accessories in supply chains that deny basic human rights, or barely meet them. We think bare minimum effort is not enough. A minimum wage is not enough, if it does not cover the expenses someone needs in order to live a happy and healthy life. A safe work environment is not enough, people deserve a comfortable and friendly place of work. At Kinds of Grace we work to ensure these needs, truly believing fashion cannot be beautiful if there is any cruelty - to humans, or animals, behind it.
What we are still learning
As we go on, we are learning more about each aspect needing our consideration within our fashion supply chain. We understand now that it is not enough to know simply who made our bags, we need to go back further. Who made the materials? Who farmed the raw material, the fibre? There are many people who are involved in the production of a bag, and we want to come to be able to account for the wellbeing and safety of all of them.
Our next collection
We know now, with our next launching Piñatex collection, that the leaf fibres are collected from fruit farms in the Philippines, where they make for an additional income stream to support that farming community. We know that the fibres, once manufactured into a woven 'sheet', are sent to both Spain and Italy for finishing. This means we know #WhoMadeOurFibre and #WhoMadeOurMaterial for this element of the collection, which is tremendously exciting.
We are working to ensure we can come to have this same level of transparency for all of our future collections, and for all aspects of collections, including looking at details like the materials we line our bags with. Every bit counts.
We hugely appreciate your support as we work to make the fashion world kinder for people, and for animals.