On April 23, 2013, workers in a factory in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh, who made custom woven labels for a living, noticed a crack in the building in which they were working. They notified the building owner, who said it wasn’t a cause for concern. When employees expressed they did not feel safe, the owner threatened to cut a month of their salary if they didn’t work.

The next day the factory collapsed, killing over 1,100 people and injuring thousands more.

Image from fashionrevolution.org

The factory in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh after the collapse. From fashionrevolution.org.

One year later, on April 24, 2014, the world celebrated the first Fashion Revolution Day to honor the workers who lost their lives, ensure others never encounter the same fate, and demand transparency in the fashion industry.

For so many of us, this tragic incident was a wake-up call. We realized that we didn’t know where our clothes came from or how they were made. We realized we could be inadvertently supporting working conditions that include exposure to toxic chemicals, lack of hygienic bathrooms or fire safety, and child labor.

The collapse in Rana Plaza made waves because of its scale, but the sad truth is that this is not the only incident of its kind.

The silver lining? We decided to make a change, and the ethical fashion movement took flight.

Threads Worldwide - Artisan Partners in Uganda

One of our Artisan Partners in Uganda

Ethical clothing companies are no longer a novelty; it’s completely feasible to have a chic, trendy wardrobe comprised of exclusively ethically-made pieces. And even better, ethical bloggers (like our friends at Selflessly Styled, Ethical Unicorn, and Leotie Lovely) are a wonderful resource for learning about brands you can trust. They do the research so you can feel good about your purchases without committing a ton of time.

Plus, ethically made products are simply higher quality than a lot of the clothing, jewelry, and accessories sold in mainstream stores. They’re made from finer materials, which results in better, longer-lasting products. Though the price tag might be more than we’re used to, you’ll find yourself replacing these pieces less frequently, making them more than worth the cost. And, when you stop and think about it – how can a t-shirt be made and sold for $9.99 without someone losing?

Here at Threads Worldwide, every piece we carry is sustainably made and fairly traded. Our Artisan Partners earn a living wage that empowers them to care for themselves, their family, and their community. For many, crafting jewelry doesn’t just deliver an income; it also provides a supportive sisterhood where women can work together to ensure everyone can thrive.

The cliche is true: you really do vote with your dollars. So next time you’re eyeing a $9.99 top, ask yourself, ‘What am I voting for?’

Want to do more?

Every time you shop with heart, host a Showcase, or become a Fair Trade Partner, you progress the ethical fashion movement. Join our tribe and join the movement.