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Fashion Revolution Day: Collaborative Action with Amabelle Aguiluz

Zaida Adriana Goveo Balmaseda

You may have noticed on April 24th, a quiet revolution taking place where people turned their clothes inside out and asked "Who made your clothes?".

On April 24 2013, the world was tragically made aware of the high cost of cheap fast fashion when Rana Plaza, a factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, taking the lives of 1,133 garment workers. Not being the first disaster of it’s kind, this ‘accident’ ''is just one symptom of the broken links across the fashion industry’’. Enough! We need to wake-up and build a healthy and sustainable future.

A year later (on April 24th, 2014) a global movement took place: Fashion Revolution Day acted as a call to arms encouraging people to examine their clothes, the clothes we buy and wear everyday. It invited us to connect with the people who work to make those clothes, whether they are farmers who grow cotton, spinners, weavers, factory workers, designers, grandmothers or artisans.

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In an effort to bring positivity, reflection, and awareness into our lives… my wonderful and inspiring friend Amabelle Aguiluz and I decided to do a collaborative action in memory of all those lives we lost last year in the Rana Plaza disaster, and in celebration of the contagious positive influence that small good actions can have. We made a piece for each other, with beautiful consciously sourced materials and with the love and care of our hands.

I got a heartfelt letter and a “spirit scarf” made from naturally colored sustainable cotton from the Sustainable Cotton Project in Firebaugh, California. This beautiful one-of-a-kind piece was knit intuitively with no set pattern by Amabelle Aguiluz’s hands in Los Angeles, California.

I made a hand-knit recycled T-shirt yarn cropped halter top which was reversible. The recycled T-shirts I used were mostly made in the US, but had reached the end of their lives as a T-shirt. 

I cut them up and turned them into chunky yarn, which was knit and purled to form a charming top for my dear friend. I added a whimsical and organic crocheted border made with the remains of a special cotton yarn I bought while we were both studying abroad in Italy, to remind us of our shared journey (Amabelle and both attended the FIT in Italy program). 

The finishing detail: a custom label highlighting the intention of the garment, capturing the origin of each of the ‘ingredients’ (materials)... and reminding her to wear it with a smile!

Amabelle and I wore each other’s piece and documented our exchange. I felt so connected to her, to the thoughtful (and aligned) making process, and the love this hand-made knitted object transmitted. 

This is how all clothes we wear should feel!

Transparency is a beautiful thing; BALMASEDA invites you to practice it!

Visit www.FashionRevolution.org to learn more.


Photos by Zaida Adriana Goveo Balmaseda, Amabelle Aguiluz, and Dorian Iten.