I never expected to be working in the fashion industry. Far from it. After I graduated from university, I booked a one-way flight to Gulu, Uganda where I focused on the role that international development can play to alleviate poverty. It's wasn't until my apartment lease in DC and the invoice of my student loans came a knocking that I switched gears and moved back to the States.
Upon moving back home, I ended up with a job interview at a little old company called, Under Armour. I'll never forget renting a Zip Car (do those even still exist?) to make the drive from my apartment on U Street to Baltimore. After a series of successful interviews, I was offered a position as Sourcing Coordinator working in UA's Supply Chain. And so began my career in the fashion industry.
All I knew was that I cared about workers rights and the impact that our purchases have on people and the planet. Anything that could get me closer to feeling like I could make a difference was my sole focus. Lo and behold, I got all of that and a bag of vegan potato chips.
Here's what I want you to know that I learned from my time working for some of the largest brands in the world.
- I learned the textile industry operates on a vicious 18 month cycle where designers forecast trends at least 2-3 seasons out from when they are actually worn (which creates a lot of waste) and there are cut throat negotiations with factory owners to secure the cheapest price to make said garments.
- I learned that the factories are squeezed and that trade agreements often dictate sourcing decisions and that there is not one person who makes our clothes... there are hundreds.
- I learned that sustainability and corporate social responsibility often fall in legal departments instead of being implemented in every business function.
- I learned that greenwashing is real and very alive.
- Most importantly, I learned that the brands don't have any skin in the supply chain game and that the people who do all the work have the most skin yet the smallest voice in the conversation.
I could go on and on on what I learned these past ten years. And if you have specific questions... I'm happy to answer. Just drop a note in the comments.
But the main point is that the decision that I made to leave working on the brand side wasn't because I wanted to start my own brand. It was because I knew that a job needed to be done to educate people about the real story behind how our clothes are made. And Anact was born.
Anact is created to inspire us to take simple acts to create impact each day. One of our acts is to focus on disrupting the textile industry and connecting you with the people, places and story behind the clothes we wear every day. That's why we are committed to supporting Fashion Revolution Week to commemorate those we lost in Rana Plaza on April 24, 2013.
I believe that what we have experienced with COVID-19 (and are continuing to experience) is a dress rehearsal for what the climate crisis can and will bring and that addressing the role that the fashion industry plays in contributing to climate change and people's lives sooner rather than later will prepare us as a global community. Join me in the movement of asking #whomademyclothes