Parsons Paris

AUP X Parsons Paris Fashion Revolution Week (Student Government 2020-21)

–  Aishwarya Pureti, Vice-President of Parsons Paris Student Government 2020/21

Fashion Revolution Week is the time when all of us come together as a global community to create a better fashion industry. It centres around the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more on 24 April 2013. The movement’s goal is to change the way clothes are sourced, produced and consumed. It provides a platform for academics, designers, writers, retailers and business leaders to encourage people to take action in the fashion industry. Fashion Revolution Week is therefore a good opportunity for a reality check! For this year’s FRW, Parsons Paris collaborated with AUP to host a series of online events. These included a set of online talks that evoked meaningful discussions regarding the state of the fashion industry, alongside which, the two schools also hosted collaborative clothing swap throughout the week. 

This seven day event kicked off with The True Cost Screening, a documentary that tells the story of clothing. Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites the viewers on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes. 

Day 2 invited Alec Leach for a talk regarding Instagram activism: raising awareness for responsible fashion, conscious consumerism, and activism. Alec shared some of the biggest misconceptions and the biggest complications surrounding sustainability in fashion, thereby dispelling myths and giving access to educational and pedagogical resources to become a more informed and green fashion consumer! 

The focus of the discussion for day 3 was gender equality in the fashion industry with guest speaker, Olivia, who is the founder of The Denim Shop on Depop and Wild Orange Tree. Gender equality and women’s empowerment is goal 5 in the UN’s list of Sustainable Development goals, and in fashion, it becomes clear that women are not occupying enough leadership or high-ranking positions in the industry. Olivia talked about having more autonomous women leading the Fashion Industry and how it would open conversations about more diverse and inclusive gender representations in Fashion across the board. 

On day 4, Archel Bernard, the owner of The Bombchel Factory spoke about environmental racism in the fashion industry. The aim of this discussion was to learn more about how the location and distribution of apparel manufacturing exploits the mostly non-white, poor female workers and communities with unfair wages, unsafe working conditions, and weak environmental protections.

Day 5 addressed a rather fun and interesting theme: fashion with feelings, with our very own professor from Parsons, Dr.Morna Laing. The talk opened up a discussion for subjects like emotional landscape and the way it is tied up with consumer capitalism. The discussion also considered some of the emotions that accompany any quest for social change, such as hope, optimism and resilience and some of the negative feelings that accompany living on a damaged planet.

As AUP opened its events for the students of Parsons Paris, this collaboration is the first of its kind. We, at Parsons, view this as a beginning for many more such collaborations in the future.

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