Exploring fair fashion (3): Fair Fashion Lab

A honest and humane future in the fashion industry.

This is what Fair Fashion Lab, the current temporary exhibition at the Humanity House in Den Haag, is exploring through six installations by Dutch artists.

The exhibition has been set up in response to many factory disasters in the textile and fashion industry which have happened over the last few years, of which the Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013 has been the largest recent disaster. The fashion industry is being confronted with more pressure – from some consumers and from government, at least in the Netherlands – since then to be more transparent about how and where it manufactures its products and what it is doing to clean up their supply chains.

It took me a while to actually make it to this exhibition, but I’m happy that I finally walked in a few weeks ago – considering my interest in this topic, and my own exploration to find responsibly produced clothes (here & here).

Rather than diving into a theoretical analysis of all the things that are wrong in the supply chains getting fashion into the shops, the Fair Fashion Lab invited six artists to give their perspective on solutions for the industry. This has resulted in six very diverse installations.

What all the installations have in common is that they challenge the visitor to think about what they wear, where they buy their clothing and what they might do differently next time they walk into a clothing shop.

For example, one artist shares different ways of DIY-fashion, and another commits visitors to always ask in a shop where the piece of clothing they want to buy is made.

These are easy things that people can do, even if it can sometimes be frustrating. My own questions to shop assistants about information on local production only rarely gets a satisfying answer. Yet, the exhibition also offers a great opportunity to give visitors more: even if it is just some additional information on fair fashion – such as referrals to apps and sites which lists brands that are open about their production process (such as the EerlijkWinkelen shopping routes, the TalkingDress app and more)

Luckily, part of that is covered in the events and side-programme that accompany the exhibition. Such as the Fair Fashion Lab Festival coming up on October 18 & 19: workshops, presentations, a fashion show and a pop-up shop for all your fair fashion questions.

The exhibition Fair Fashion Lab can be seen until 31 December 2014.

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