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How to Explain Fashion Revolution Day to the Kids

11 comments
There will be no Fix It Friday as today is Fashion Revolution Day.  The series will return next week on 1 May. If you are curious as to know what we have planned for Fashion Revolution Day in Singapore, stay tuned to this blog, or visit and "like" FRDSG!  Pssst, it involves screening a movie, The True Cost.




"Strike, strike, strike!"


I find it difficult to explain Fashion Revolution Day to my child, especially when he's still so young. As most of you will know, Fashion Revolution Day falls on the 24 April and commemorates the garment workers who died in the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh. It is also a day which raises the public awareness of the social impact of the fashion industry.



Holly from History Magpie introduced me to the book, Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909. The book is based on the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young girl who led the largest walkout of women garment workers in US history, and I felt it was a good way to explain to a child three important points that I believe Fashion Revolution Day stands for:


1. Always value the people who work for you, and treat them well.
2. Question authority when you have a valid reason.
3. Never give up.


#1 Value the People who Work for You, Treat Them Well



With the invention of the industrial sewing machine came employers' demand for more from their workers (sound familiar?). The workers had no rights.

#2 Question Authority

Clara realises that this was not the America she had imagined. She questions why the girls have to work like slaves. Clara proposes to strike until the bosses treat them better. 




#3 Never Give Up


Clara is arrested seventeen times and beaten up each time she pickets, but she still perseveres with her cause. Eventually, the bosses cave in and revise working hours and pay, and improve working conditions. They also allow the workers to form unions. However, there were several factories that refused to negotiate, including the infamous Triangle Waist Factory. The following year, hazardous conditions led to a fire on the premises claiming 146 lives. 

A Lot More Needs to Be Done

Clara's actions led to the first steps towards improving working conditions for garment workers, and progress has been made since 1909. However, I felt it important to share with my child that while things are different today, garment workers in various countries still work under hazardous conditions and have few or no rights. A lot more needs to be done not only in developing countries (where most of the focus seems to be), but also in the West where poor working conditions (surprisingly) still exist. Let's not have another Rana tragedy.




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Abdelghafour

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11 comments

  1. Great post. I am going to include that book in our reading list .

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  2. The book sounds really good. It's really sad that the thing that really changed the laws in the US for garment workers was the fire that occurred shortly after the strike ended. A lot of individuals died in the fire, and there was an uproar about the safety in the factories.

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  3. I didn't know this was Fashion Revolution Day. I would love to learn more about Clara. This is a very nice book which teaches something very important. Thanks!

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  4. I remember that my teachers always said that history helped us learn from past mistakes and it is true. Indeed a lot has been done, but we cannot let the young ones forget what happened to make sure they don't have to go through the same.

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  5. This is such a needed post. So many of us are unaware of the facts that you write about. The media have made us more aware but we forget so soon. Those working in less than ideal conditions do not forget. Thanks from Fridays Blog Booster Party
    Kathleen

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  6. I think it's great there is a picture book to help explain this day to children. I'm also glad you pointed out that people need to be more aware of conditions not just in developing countries but also here in the United States. Many people in the U.S. are taken advantage of, work in terrible conditions, and don't have benefits. It's important for people to realize that these same situations happen here and determine what we can do to make a difference worldwide.

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    1. It's true, not many people know that it happens in our own backyards too.

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  7. A great post for Fashion Revolution Day. And yes, I must track down this book. How did your son feel about the story? Did he ask any question?

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    1. Hi there. His first reaction was to ask why the kids have no school. I think it's important for them to realise how lucky they are to be able to do so.

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  8. This is a very interesting article about a topic that you don't hear much about. I think these tips are good to keep in mind while at work regardless if you are an employee or an employer.
    1. Always value the people who work for you, and treat them well.
    2. Question authority when you have a valid reason.
    3. Never give up.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that's very important point you have made there, Charissa. It should apply to both employee and employer. Thanks for popping over!

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