We recently caught up with Niki Taylor – designer, co-ordinator of Fashion Revolution Scotland and regular guest tutor for ReMode – to chat about Fashion Revolution, life in lockdown and what’s next for the Sustainable Fashion movement.
Tell us about Fashion Revolution – what is it all about and how are you involved?
Fashion Revolution is a global movement that campaigns for a clean, safe, fair, transparent and accountable fashion industry. We do this through research, education, collaboration, mobilisation and advocacy. We believe in a fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people overgrowth and profit.
Fashion Revolution started following the Rana Plaza disaster in April 2014 and we launched Fashion Revolution in Scotland the following year. We have an amazing team of volunteers all across Scotland and the movement continues to grow.
I have worked in the industry as a designer for over 20 years and wanted to see radical positive change and the only way to create it was to start taking steps and taking action.
How did Fashion Revolution week work this year as an online event?
Fashion Revolution week runs on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in April. Over the last year we had spent a lot of time planning lots of events around Scotland, such as film screenings, panel discussions, hub and workshops which we had to very creatively move online within a month. Everyone worked really hard creating new events that would engage with people and hopefully for those in isolation, provide some interesting discussions and learning. We had a fantastic reaction, and were able to engage not only with people in Scotland but across the globe which gave us a greater understanding and connecting on how the virus was affecting people within the industry globally.
The lockdown has had a huge impact on all our lives and caused lots of people to reassess. How do you think what is happening may help move the ideas of Fashion Revolution forward?
Fashion Revolution initially started as an online platform using social media as a way to demonstrate positive activism within the industry. So in a way we are more prepared digitally for what the future holds. We keep connected as a movement in over 70 countries across the world and are unified with strong messaging. With global coordinators we know first hand the impact that the virus has had across the world and how this is affecting retail and the people who make our clothes. We also hope that we can deliver positive alternatives to fast fashion and actions that we can all take as the world of fashion retail has slowed down. I think there is a great opportunity for us all as citizens to make our lives, the world and the industry better on lots of levels.
How has lockdown life been for you? What have you been up to ?
I was furloughed from my design work, so have been running home school, playing, trying to fit in some art classes and making… I love to hand sew and find it very therapeutic. I have enjoyed spending lots of quality time with my son and had more of an opportunity to think and slow down my own life lockdown, time to reflect and hopefully practice what I preach. I have also been catching up with lots of Fashion Revolution workshops from across the world, which I didn’t manage to attend… there were sooo many! Fortunately they were all recorded and put up onto YouTube and Facebook, so the learning continues.
We’re starting to get an idea of what ‘the new normal’ might look like. How will this impact on you and your work? Do you see any new opportunities or new ways of working?
We have such a great opportunity in this moment to create positive change. The industry will definitely change, there is no doubt about it, it has to and it will have to create and embed new ways of working. The changes are already happening. People really want change, I just really hope that business can see an opportunity to positively trade and function with more care and respect for both people and planet. It is possible. We can all really see how interconnected we are and with our environment in this time. For me, it has really reinforced how important it is to use this time positively, to take action more than ever to enjoy and respect what we have and to enjoy creatively making the changes happen.
To find out more, take a look at the fashion revolution website or find Fashion Revolution Scotland on facebook