That was the ringing call to action at the world premiere of Made in Cambodia, a film short by Asad Faruqi, cinematographer for Oscar winning documentary short A Girl in the River and Saving Face.
The film was premiered at world renowned Parsons School of Fashion, to a sold out audience filled with fashion design students, press and fashion forward New Yorkers.
The film, a Levi’s x Parsons x Remake partnership, follows three graduating Parsons Fashion students to Cambodia where they come face to face with the women who make our clothes and get an understanding of the human effort behind production.
The premiere kicked off with keynotes from fashion disruptor Yvonne Watson, Associate Dean, School of Fashion, Parsons School of Design, who is committed to Parsons’ leadership in sustainability.
“At Parsons we care about integrating sustainability deeply in our education. We want our designers to be thinking about social justice and consciousness in fashion. Our partnership with Remake does just that. We are excited to continue partnership with us sending more design students on Remake journeys.”
Paul Dillinger, Head of Global Product Innovation and Premium Collection Design for Levi Strauss & Company, who leads the iconic brand’s sustainable product design noted:
“We as designers are only taught to make pretty things. But in my 15 year career as a designer, I’ve learned that all the upstream and downstream impact is my fault as a designer. It all starts at the design phase. Which is why I design thoughtfully at Levi’s, as illustrated by our Wellthread™ line. My advice to all of you as graduating designers is to keep your sustainability values close as you enter the fashion world but to be patient. This industry is slow to change.”
Trailblazing ethical fashion movement leader and founder of Remake, Ayesha Barenblat shared her own motivation to remake our world:
“I have worked inside the fashion industry for a long time, thinking about and grappling with some troubling trends. The foremost being the rise of fast fashion. For our clothes to cost less than our favorite Starbucks drink means our industry has to cut corners with the people who make our clothes being the most ‘variable’ cost.”
“With this month being April, I can’t help but think of April 24, 2014, when Rana Plaza fell down. For me it was the turning point to say enough. What we need is a movement that engages the next generation of designers and consumers to remake our world.”
After the screening, Anh, Allie and Casey, the stars of Made in Cambodia sat down to answer some hard-hitting questions and sharing how their Remake journey has shaped their view as designers and consumers.
“I got into fashion because I wanted to shift the industry towards transparency. This journey was the way for me to get serious about that. It has shaped my thesis design and how I want to show up as a designer. As a consumer I also want to buy less and better.” – Casey
“My grandmother worked in a sweatshop right here in Staten Island. In my junior year I saw The True Cost documentary and after that I just could not go back to making another pretty outfit. I applied to the Remake journey because I want to be a part of the solution as a designer.” – Allie
“My questions weren’t being answered in my classes about sustainability in the supply chain. Then I found Remake and grabbed the opportunity. It’s opened up a whole other world for me.” – Anh
When asked what stories and people lingered with them, here is what the students had to say:
“All of it will stay with me. But visiting Sreyneang’s home. Seeing how her wages translated to her living conditions. Sitting on her bed, the one piece of furniture she had, with her daughters and sick husband, to eat together. That will always stay with me.” – Allie
“The chemicals and number of hands in the jean distressing process was really eye opening. The fact that it’s a guy using a blade to distress the jeans, not a machine. That’s a story I share over and over again.” – Casey
“There was girl power from this trip. The way the women engage the Solidarity Center to learn about and fight for their rights. There was definitely a feeling of sisterhood between makers and designers that was born.” – Anh