Fashion Revolution hopes to end sweatshops around the world

A new club created on campus aims to bring awareness to where your clothes come from

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Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry.

Fashion Revolution is a new club on campus striving to promote sustainable clothing options for students. The fashion industry is the number one polluting industry in the world, according to Fashion Revolution, and UW-Eau Claire students want to change that.

Mary Cait McManamon is a sophomore studying business management-entrepreneurship with a certificate in fine arts administration. She is the president of Fashion Revolution on campus and has recruited a few members already. She said she became aware of the revolution when she saw a documentary “The True Cost” and researched how she could do something about the problem in the fashion industry.

“I was shocked to see the conditions of workers in countries like Bangladesh that I knew I had to do something. The effects on the environment all over the world are also unacceptable,” McManamon said.

The club, which McManamon dedicated this semester to making, will begin meeting next year.

Fashion Revolution is a national organization based in London, England. The organization encourages students to become student ambassadors on their campuses, no matter where they are in the world.

“The Fashion Revolution website has tons of resources for learning more about the organization. They even have a podcast series,” McManamon said.

McManamon said she wants to promote sustainable clothing options on campus for students. With college students, she said cheaper clothing may be the only option, but there is still an ethical way to buy clothes.

“Most people know about recycling, using energy-efficient lights bulbs and that sort of thing,” McManamon said, “but not many people think twice about buying cheap clothing and throwing it away a few months later.”

She said they want to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way clothes are sourced, produced and purchased. She said her club strives to bring this message to campus as well as the broader Chippewa Valley community.

Consumers should ask “Who made my clothes?” McManamon said, and research to find out the story behind their clothes in order to hold clothing brands responsible. This includes investigating if they are not using sustainable practices or are exploiting factory workers.

Taylor Sharratt, one of the first members of Fashion Revolution, is a sophomore education student. She said she wanted to join Fashion Revolution because she liked the cause and is excited for the change this club can make.

“We want to promote positivity in the world and in what we wear,” Sharratt said. “We want people to become conscious of fast fashion and the ways we can help the world.”

She said she is excited to get the club established and looks forward to events they are planning for next year. McManamon said although they do not have any specific events at the moment, they know what kind of efforts they want to make.

“We also plan to host several events a year on campus and in the community,” McManamon said, “to raise awareness about the fast fashion industry and what we all can do to help support factory workers and protect the environment.”   

McManamon said she is excited to see what next fall brings and looks forward to future events for Fashion Revolution on the UW-Eau Claire campus.