If your New Year’s resolution was to shop more consciously in 2021, you might be taking a closer look at your garment tags, researching your favorite brand’s ethical standards, or simply choosing to shop secondhand and vintage. Our efforts to lessen our wardrobe’s carbon footprint typically revolve around the clothing itself: organic cotton T-shirts, recycled cashmere sweaters, vintage jeans, faux fur coats, and so on. But a key part of making our industry—and the world—a better place has little to do with the materials or a brand’s sustainable certifications.
Educating and empowering women in fashion’s supply chain (particularly in Asia, the Global South, and Africa, where the bulk of garment production is done) can do just as much, if not more, for the planet. Educating women is the sixth-greatest mitigator of climate change, according to the Drawdown Report. “We all know women build resilient communities,” Cara Smyth, the chair of the board at Fashion Makes Change, explained last fall. “When they’re educated, they’re providers for their families, for their communities, and they make different, compassionate decisions. When they move up in their careers and have financial independence, it creates this flywheel of positive change. I think everyone wants to be a part of that change.”
In November, Fashion Makes Change announced a plan to partner with fashion brands around the world to implement a “round up” tool at check-out, both in stores and online. A customer who chooses the Fashion Makes Change option would donate their “rounded-up” change to women-focused NGOs in the [email protected] Collaborative. (If your total is $99.43, for instance, the remaining 58 cents up to $100 would be donated.)
Starting today, you’ll actually start to see that option as you browse the spring 2021 collections. Fashion Makes Change is officially launching with an impressive group of brands, from luxury European houses to American upstarts and global retailers. If you were planning to do a little shopping this International Women’s Month, consider this a no-brainer way to make a positive impact and do more for the women who make your clothes.
Some brands will offer additional donation options, so you can give $1, $10, or higher amounts, rather than simply rounding-up. Others will partner with FMC on additional activations throughout the year, and the hope is that FMC will inspire brands across the board to explore other ways they can empower their customers to give back. Scroll through the full list of participating brands below, and read more about Fashion Makes Change’s mission here.
Hill House Home
Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation
The Coach Foundation
Kate Spade New York
Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc
Abercrombie & Fitch