The final session of the day featured just two speakers: the renowned fashion journalist and campaigner, Caryn Franklin, and our keynote speaker, designer and campaigner, Orsola de Castro.
Caryn spoke about the journey she has been on through her career and how she has made a speciality out of doing it ‘her way’ by embedding her beliefs in her work. Examples of this might include wearing an anti ‘Page 3’ t-shirt for an unrelated photo-shoot, or using only diverse and disabled models in the shoot for a look book.
In her process she always asks questions, allowing her to get first hand knowledge of the situations and treatment of the people on whom fashion has an impact.
She has enjoyed challenging big business and won, and has drawn inspiration from Vivienne Westwood to sustain her in her passion.
She also mentioned how she studied for an MSc in Psychology, which has given her the academic knowledge to reinforce the believes she has always held and fought for. This has resulted in her being able to argue that diversity within fashion advertising – in particular – leads to better general mental health for women, it also helps to disrupt stereotyping of social groups.
She says that fashion gives people the chance to gain confidence, to reinvent themselves, and to gain power. It should be used to improve and enthuse, and not objectify.
More at http://franklinonfashion.com/
Orsola started as a designer, with the brand From Somewhere, which entirely used waste products as raw materials. In her later career she works for her own consultancy, Reclaim to Wear, which deals with upcycling.
She is also currently involved in the Fashion Revolution movement which she founded in 2013, and which started campaigning in 2014.
The purpose of Fashion Revolution is to try to reclaim fashion as something which is concerned with people, not just money. She said that fashion is emerging from a period of glossy stupidity with too many negative messages, and it is time to regain the positive.
Fashion is meant to be aspirational, but Fashion Revolution want this to apply to the whole supply and production chain, not just the end product.
One campaign they ran was to encourage people to quiz the brands of the clothing they wear with the question ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ This was hugely popular and has started a journey of transparency in the industry, and also a reciprocal campaign of the workers posting images saying ‘I made your clothes’.
Fashion Revolution wants the industry to produce clothes made with dignity, and to show that sustainable and ethical fashion – made with joy and skill – IS fashion, and that everything else is not.
Orsola’s final point was that the role of a designer, or anyone in the fashion industry, now needs to be one of finding solutions.
More information about Fashion Revolution can be found at http://fashionrevolution.org/.