Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, which saw over 1000 fashion factory workers lose their lives. This tragedy sparked the birth of Fashion Revolution, a movement that seeks to shed light on how, where and most importantly by whom our clothes were made. In a day and age where transparency is difficult to come by, and fashion production and consumption continues to harm our planet and kill the people who are making the clothes we covet, buy and show off on social media, Fashion Revolution is an important voice for change.
One person who knows a lot about being a voice for change is Sica Schmitz, founder of ethical fashion boutique Bead & Reel and Fashion Editor here at Vilda. She created the Fashion Activist t-shirt for her annual event, the Fair Trade Fashion Show, to promote positive change within the fashion trade – the show’s main focus is to bring attention to and take steps to eradicate slavery in the garment industry. A powerful statement piece, the t-shirt is made in 100% organic, GMO-free cotton and it’s cut, sewn and printed in Los Angeles. A wardrobe must-have that gives you a voice.
We decided to harness that voice by giving four fashion activists the chance to style the t-shirt their own way and accompany the photos with their own statement on what being a fashion activist means to them.
Styled by Sica Schmitz; photo credit Bead & Reel
Sica Schmitz, Founder of Bead and Reel, Fashion Editor at Bead & Reel, and creator of the Fashion Activist tee: “I wanted to help make a powerful statement”
“A lot of statement tees are all talk but no action. This one is different. I created the Fashion Activist tee last year as part of my annual Fair Trade Fashion Show to help make a powerful statement with equally powerful actions. It is 100% organic cotton, since conventional cotton is full of exploitation of people and our environment. It is cut and sewn in Los Angeles at a fair trade factory, since the majority of global factories offer low wages and unsafe working conditions. And it donates 100% of the proceeds to the anti-trafficking and fair trade work that my non-profit organization supports. All that, plus it’s really soft and in a really flattering cut!”
Vegan leather jacket: EcoVibe Apparel
Trousers: Bead & Reel
Scarf: Stemp Apparel
Bag: Jill Milan
Molly Tranchin, fashion blogger, FashionVeggie: “Every little bit helps – and makes you a fashion activist”
“I like to mix high with low, new with vintage. I never buy anything I don’t love with my soul, and so I tend to keep my clothing for a very long time. I got this beaded skirt about a decade ago at a vintage shop in Los Angeles, even though it was a size too big for me (now that I’m pregnant, it’s perfect!); my boots, ethically made by artisans in New York, are from the all-vegan brand Bhava; my husband got me this bag to celebrate the three-year anniversary of starting my vegan fashion blog, and it is by high-end eco designer Stella McCartney.
I don’t really have a specific look – I sometimes look very freebird boho, and other days I feel like dressing edgier or more refined. I think that’s okay!
Being a fashion activist, to me, means saying no to the way things have been (wasteful, harmful to animals, unkind to human workers) and doing your part to change it. Whether that is simply spending your dollar supporting more ethical brands, starting a blog, donating your used clothing instead of trashing it, choosing more sustainable fabrics– every little bit helps and makes you a fashion activist. For me, starting FashionVeggie was a decision to spend my time, energy, and yes, money, on raising awareness, making ethical choices more accessible to the mainstream, and drawing new eyes to often-underexposed, animal-friendly brands. I’m proud to be a fashion activist!”
Bag: Stella McCartney
Djuna Da-Silva, Founder of Djuna Shay and Fashion & Social Media Editor at Vilda
“Being a fashion activist means that I am okay with being seen! Fashion is beautiful and I am working on helping it be a space that’s good for everyone, not just some. I work to wear cool things, not cruel things, and that includes who made the garment, and what the garment is made of, it also means I let myself be seen, and I’m not afraid of the space I occupy.”
Vegan leather coat: Eloquii
Jeans: Vintage Levi’s
Bag: Matt and Nat
Scarf: Djuna Shay
Styled by Joan La; photo by Ashley Morgan @ashleymorganic
Joan La, ethical fashion influencer, A Cup of Joan: “Be conscious of your choices”
“I believe that your influence is substantial and your actions are contagious, so it’s always important to be conscious of your choices for expression through fashion. What we wear reveals how we choose to represent ourselves. You’re telling the world what you support without saying anything at all. This includes the sourcing of materials, the processes that transform these resources into the styles we wear, and how much of that clothing creates waste because all this directly impacts animals, humans, and our planet. Supporting fair trade in fashion establishes social justice and influences both working conditions and compensation. Buying sustainable fashion shows your commitment to our planet’s well-being. Every choice we make has a significant impact, and our personal style is the quietest roar leading to a positive domino effect. This is why I am a fashion activist.”
Joan’s look: Trench coat: Reformation
Jeans: Levi’s (8 years old!)
Shoes: Beyond Skin
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