Today, Friday, April 24, is Fashion Revolution Day, held in memory of the 1,129 workers killed in 2013 when the RanaPlaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed. People from over 70 countries are taking part in events, flashmobs, workshops and a selfie-campaign involving clothing worn inside out. They post the pictures to social networks with the slogans #FashRev and #whomademyclothes.
Everyone seems to like a fashion bargain, but what do we know of how a product came to be and why it is so cheap?
As part of a social experiment conducted by Fashion Revolution in collaboration with the BBDO agency, a bright turquoise vending machine, offering t-shirts for 2 Euros, was placed at the Alexanderplatz in Berlin, to test whether people would purchase upon being confronted with the conditions in which it was produced.
As soon as their coin goes into the machine no t-shirt is dispensed. Instead, a short movie is screened showing images from textile factories, where women and children sew without a break for 16 hours. They are paid 13 cents per hour and most of them work under life-threatening conditions.
After 20 seconds the buyer can choose: ‘Buy or Donate’ – do you really want to buy the t-shirt? Or would you rather donate the 2 Euros?
The results restore some faith in humanity.