Fashion Should Feel Good: Fashion Revolution Sri Lanka 2017


Fast fashion was revered as a business model of genius. Pioneers of the model such as Zara were held in the highest regard from the biggest catwalks to the elite economic forums for delivering ever increasing profits to investors. But there comes a point when the math just doesn’t add up. The equation was left unbalanced for too long and imploded in the most gruesome manner possible on 24th April 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh with the collapse of Rana Plaza claiming 1,100 lives and leaving scores with life altering injuries.


The collapsed Rana Plaza building.

Victims being rescued from the building collapse site.

"Death of a thousand dreams"

We were all part of a broken system, too occupied and ignorant to think beyond the high street shops to the production floors where thousands of men and women stitch millions of garments. That’s why following the harrowing events of 24th April 2013 a group of people got together and asked the question “WHO MADE MY CLOTHES?”. It is time we asked the right questions, because behind every piece of garment we buy could be the life of a hardworking young man or woman on the line.

So came to being the “FASHION REVOLUTION” movement, a movement of designers, academics, writers, business leaders, policymakers, brands, retailers, marketers, producers, makers, workers and fashion lovers all with a common objective - to create transparency in the world of fashion from the cotton farmer to the end consumer.

Each year, the number of consumers asking their brands #whomademyclothes is increasing. During Fashion Revolution Week 2017 a group of Sri Lankan inspired ethical enterprises came together with the Good Market Sri Lanka to celebrate the fashion industry and the importance of asking #whomademyclothes? Kantala along with Selyn Handlooms, House of Lonali, Pras and Danties, Dodo Footwear, Pedals Footwear, Parkville Sunglasses, Sari Connection and Rice & Carry joined forces to organise a week of activities culminating with a special event at the 29th April 2017 Good Market.

A traditional artisan from Kantala.

A shoemaker from Pedals Footwear.

An employee from Selyn Handlooms.

Activities throughout the week included each brand reaching out to their consumers through social media sharing stories and images from their workshops and suppliers. The week involved educating our artisans, employees, suppliers and contractors on why Fashion Revolution is important to them and what they need to stand up for to make the world of fashion a fair and responsible industry. Each brand contributed photographs of their artisans recognising the faces behind the products each brand produces.

The brands came together to spread the message “FASHION SHOULD FEEL GOOD” among consumers, organising a special stall at the 29th April 2017 Good Market. Through a variety of activities the brands engaged with consumers and prompted them to ask the important question #whomademyclothes? Consumers were quizzed on where the clothes they were wearing were made and asked to pin the country on a world map. While not many people knew where their clothes were made it opened up an engaging conversations between the participating brands and the consumers. It was a great eye opener for a lot of consumers as they took away with them a new perspective about being a responsible consumer.

The Fashion Revolution stall at the Good Market, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Educating participants on the importance of ethical fashion and responsible consumerism.

#whomademyclothes - participants taking part in the activities.

#whomademyclothes - participants taking part in the activities.

#whomademyclothes - participants taking part in the activities.

2017 marked a significant year for Fashion Revolution in Sri Lanka as it is the first time such a large number of local ethical brands came together to celebrate the movement. At Kantala we applaud the Good Market team for initiating the collaboration and supporting the brands. Fashion Revolution is strong in Sri Lanka and all of us at Kantala are super excited about the great things that we can do together to make the world of fashion a beautiful, safe and fair place for everyone.

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