When Lent rolls around on Wednesday, a group of self-described fashion addicts across the United Kingdom will be forgoing the standard vices (meat, cigarettes, coffee, chocolate) for a different kind of fast: fast fashion. Coinciding with the end of London Fashion Week, a time of glitzy excess that obscures the realities of sweatshop laborers and the high-street knockoffs they’ll soon be producing, the “Six-Item Challenge” is challenging women (and sartorially inclined men) to wear only six pieces of clothing in the 40 days leading up to Easter.
GIVE IT UP
The initiative is the brainchild of Labour Behind the Label, a nonprofit that works to improve the conditions of garment workers worldwide through public campaigns and information provision. The challenge, which doesn’t count underthings, gym-wear, or shoes, highlights the lack of options given to the people who make our clothes.
The initiative is the brainchild of Labour Behind the Label, a nonprofit that advocates for garment workers worldwide.
Long hours, miserable—if not downright dangerous—conditions, forced overtime, verbal and physical abuse, and abysmal wages are par for the course for millions of garment workers, many of whom struggle to feed, clothe, educate, and otherwise provide for themselves and their families.
“The challenge highlights our dependency on fast-fashion consumption,” says Bee Hayes, a campaigner for Labour Behind the Labor. “Participants are encouraged to reengage with creating clothing identities with less. By doing so we’re standing in solidarity with workers who suffer the effects of mass production and consumption of clothing, at a factory level.”
Participants are encouraged to refashion and customize existing garments to stave off boredom, as well as blog about their experiences. Each Six Items Challenge member will also have her own fundraising page, where supporters and well-wishers are invited to donate to Labour Behind the Label.
“I signed up to the 6 Items Challenge because I want to support the great work of Labour Behind the Label,” says Janine Woodward, a participant. “Also, I guess it’s out of curiosity—will I actually be able to do it?!”