Visual Activism Fast Fashion – Behind the Label

Through the fast fashion system workers are treated unfairly. Millions of workers in the fashion industry are in unsafe environments, working long hours for as little as 3 dollars a day. A documentary called “The True cost” website states (human rights, 1 )” There are roughly 40 million garment workers in the world today; many of whom do not share the same rights or protections that many people in the West do. They are some of the lowest paid workers in the world”. It shows that we need to do something to change the system.

Many people use the form of visual activism to get there massages across and create pressure for society to change. Seeing is believing, out of side out of mind, are just a few quotes that illustrate the importance of being able to see the issue of fast fashion. Activist use all sort of visual communication from documentaries, artworks, protest and campaigns, to create a social movement to invoke change. Here are some activist works.

Firth,Livia. “Who Makes our Clothing”. Youtube, Uploaded by Untold, 8th July 2015, 

Here is a video a snip it from “The True Cost” documentary talking about the workers environments in factories. From the horrific scenes she describes there is a huge issue of how workers and treated and there safely environments. Getting this story told is part of visual activism and creating change through awareness. That is exactly the intention of an Fashion Revolutions social experiment. It was to create awareness on who made the cheap clothing we buy.

Fashion Revolution. The 2 Euro T-Shirt. 23 Apr 2015. Social Experiment, YouTube. Uploaded by Fashion Revolution,

This is a experiment as part of a #who made my clothes campaign, for people to become more aware and question were their clothes are made. As part of the experiment people were able to by a 2 euro t-shirt, before they could finish with there purchase consumers were confronted with a video about the terrible working conditions the shirt was made in.  Though visual images the organisation were able to made the audience more aware and change there minds about a garment that they think is a good deal.  An amazing quote from this video is ( 2 euro T -shirt, 1.28) states “people care when they know”. Creating awareness is a key part of creating social change. This part of the fashion industry is so well covered up that no one knows there is a problem in the first place. The director of ” The True Cost” in a interview  (Morgan, 2.27) states ” When you buy something, it is a moral act, and there a chain reaction of consequences”, that go along with your everyday decisions that you don’t even take into consideration.


Warren, Tom. “Fast Fashion” N.d, Interactive sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK,

This here is  an installation by an artist called Tom Warren, he created this installation with fast fashion in mind.  Warrens ideas behind the work came from the rise of globalization and the culture it has created in the fashion industry. The industry is responsible for creating disposable clothing, exploitation of low – wage workers in unsustainable working environments. He created this sculpture to represent the out of control consumer culture and obsession with materialization. The interactive sculpture is made from a collection of garments from the industry. The sculpture allows people to manoeuvre and lift the object. Its very heavy making the viewer work hard to achieve any movement, this is suppose to allude to the hard work and labor intensive culture of fast fashion, that everyone in the Western society contributes to. This is a really strong piece that is more subtle in it approach about getting people of western culture to think about ethical fashion. However it very thought provoking and cleaver about relating a physical movement with the struggles of the industry.



“Karren Walker”. Ethical Fashion Interactive, Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 12:34 AM EST,



In today’s Fashion Industry there are huge influential brands and company that are collaborating with and organisation  to create social awareness on ethical fashion. Organisations like called the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI).  Their mission is to create a responsible fashion industry that is aware of the impact it creates. They are ensuring workers earn a living wage, have great working condition with minimal impact to the environment. EFI have corroborated with New Zealand designer Karen Walker, to create the “Visible”  eye wear collection. The 2014 collection a sustainable and ethical collection made in Kenya. The collection was launch with an campaign showing some of the workers on the collection. Karen Walker is a influential designer in New Zealand, and a huge influence on young adult street wear. Her visual activism in producing a ethically eye wear line is a political statement upon the fashion industry. It shed some light that sustainable fashion is achievable and can look great. Plus giving working a chance to shine.




Works cited
Fashion Revolution. The 2 Euro T-Shirt. 23 Apr 2015. Social Experiment, YouTube. Uploaded by Fashion Revolution,
“Fast Fashion Instalation by Tom Warren”. Saatchi Gallery N.d.
Firth, Livia. “Who Makes our Clothing”. Youtube, Uploaded by Untold, 8th July 2015, 
“Humans rights”. The True Cost, 2015,
“Karren Walker”. Ethical Fashion Interactive, Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 12:34 AM EST,
Morgan, Andrew. ” Why This Film?- “The True Cost”, Youtube, Uploaded by Untold, March 9th 2015,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: