Fashion Revolution Week 2022: Who made my fabric?

Fashion Revolution Week with SwapUp

Dear SwapUp community,

This Fashion Revolution Week, I join @mightygoodbasics in their Bare for Good campaign, asking: #WhoMadeMyFabric?

I have a love and hate relationship with cotton. On the one hand, it's a natural fibre and so comfortable to wear. On the other, by 2015, more than 12,500 Indian cotton farmers had died by suicide. So it matters that we know where our cotton fabric comes from.

While there are many many potential solutions to this, one that seems within "my control" is reducing my overall consumption. Most items in my wardrobe are #secondhand because 70% of fashion emissions come from raw material production (cotton is particularly thirsty) and, frankly, there's limited information on an item's source of fabric to date.

As @fash_rev's manifesto says: Fashion should enrich the livelihood of everyone working across the industry, from farm to shop floor.

I hope that this year's Fashion Revolution Week reminds us that there's a lot more to be done. And we can all play a part in it. 

Much love,
Alifa

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Where were you born? What is your heritage?

I was born and raised in Indonesia so Indonesian through and through — although Wangal Country, which extends along the south side of Sydney Harbour, is my home now.

Tell us a little bit about what you do?

I’m a co-founder of SwapUp.com.au, an online department store for secondhand fashion. We do all the hard work (including logistics) of buying and selling secondhand, because we want to make it so easy for people to be part of the circular economy and, ultimately, make second-hand mainstream.

What does the Fashion Revolution movement mean to you personally?

Going back to basics. I feel like we collectively need to go back to what matters in the end. So what if we’re all dressed extravagantly, only to realise that we don’t have an earth to live on and that our fellow humans are suffering?

That’s why Fashion Revolution’s vision for a fashion industry that restores the environment and values people over growth and profit really hits the nail for me.

This year’s Fashion Revolution theme is all about fashion, money, power – do you think the fashion industry has a positive or negative impact on international power dynamics? Why? 

Moving away from overproduction and overconsumption is going to be the key.  Technology has allowed us to produce more raw material, manufacture more clothes, and consume them at an insane rate. But we simply can’t keep going like this.

We have more than enough to clothe everyone twice over. It’s about time we use technology to better redistribute what we already have and build that circular fashion that we all say we want.

What do you normally wear every day?

Winter means I’ll be walking around in onesies at home all day. Summer is when I give up the comfort to look to the nines! 

What is your favourite piece in your wardrobe?

A soft blue pair of shorts that I thrifted and my mother-in-law mended. They’re so versatile, comfy, and full of love.

Do you have any favourite sustainable brands, or favourite second-hand shops?

I gotta be cheeky and say SwapUp is my favourite second hand store 😉

Do you have a style icon?

Not really, but Zoë Kravitz always looks so good in her relaxed-fit everything.