Discover who made your clothes, share their stories, and find out how you can influence global change.

19,272 enrolled on this course

Clothing label bearing a question mark, three wash symbols with the text 'be curious', 'find out', and 'do something'. A Fashion Revolution tab appears to the right of the main label.
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Lift the lid on the global fashion industry

Do you ever think about where your clothes come from, who made them, how and at what cost?

Created with Fashion Revolution - a global movement for transparency catalysed by the fatal Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh - this course lifts the lid on the global fashion industry.

We will share with you a variety of simple techniques to find the answer yourself, and to use your findings to press the fashion industry to value people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure. It will encourage us to question what we, as active global citizens, can do to enable change.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds Hi. My name’s Ian Cook. I’m an associate professor of geography at the University of Exeter. I’m CEO of the spoof shopping website, and I’m also a member of the global coordination team at Fashion Revolution. I research the ways in which filmmakers, artists, activists, and journalists encourage people to think about the people who make the things that they buy and the impact that this work has. I’ve taught hundreds of students to think of international trade as the social relationships between people who make and buy everyday things. I tell them it’s easy to criticise other people’s choices.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds But when you learn to find out who’s made your things, you can bring to life relationships you didn’t know you had with people that you’ve never met. So what effects would these revelations have on you and the people with whom you share them? That’s where this course will take you– through your clothes, maybe the ones you’re wearing right now. This course has been created with Fashion Revolution. It’s call to arms since the deadly Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh in April 2013 is, who made my clothes? So far, Fashion Revolution has been encouraging people to ask this question of brands and retailers. It’s been their responsibility to come up with the answers.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds But by learning to become fashion detectives, we can find the answers for ourselves. From brands’ customer helplines, NGO reports, to journalists’ exposes, to the social media feeds of global unions, there’s plenty of information out there. But we’ll pass on some top tips to help you find your needle in this haystack. Taking a single item of your clothing, we’ll guide your research into where it was made, who made it, and what their lives and work are like. We’ll encourage you to think about sources and voices and how to balance educated guesswork and information in your research.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 seconds We’ll help you to make sense of and write creative and empathetic stories about the relationships that you find with the people who make your clothes. And we’ll finish by discussing how what you find and write can contribute to the fashion revolution movement and make a positive difference to workers working worldwide in the fashion industry. Our fantastic team will support and guide you through the course’s activities and discussions. Top student commodity detectives from the University of Exeter will act as the course’s mentors. They’ll be taking the course alongside you and answering questions on the course’s discussion boards. Inspirational members of Fashion Revolution’s global coordination team will be joining us to answer your questions in our weekly film feedback sessions.

Skip to 2 minutes and 31 seconds We’re really looking forward to finding out what you can find out about the people who make your clothes. It’s time for a fashion revolution. We hope you can join us.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to a variety of techniques to enable learners to understand who made their clothes
  • Teach learners how to use this knowledge to influence the fashion industry so that it values people, the environment, creativity, and profit in equal measure
  • Enable learners to gain knowledge and practical skills for thinking about our global economy and who makes our clothes
  • Encourage learners to consider themselves as active global citizens who can enable change
  • Provide tools with which learners can spread knowledge acquired in the course

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain garment supply chains
  • Explore the interdependence of places, resources, and the people upon which supply chains rely
  • Investigate your own clothing: its brand, where it was made, and from what materials
  • Identify and employ search techniques for investigating the policies employed by clothing brands, and the human stories behind them
  • Demonstrate empathetic writing about the stories of garment production
  • Reflect on how to use your findings to influence brands

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone with an interest in fashion, trade, ethics and activism, including those involved in the Fashion Revolution movement. It is also suitable for teachers who want to enrich their school, further education, and higher education curricula.

What software or tools do you need?

You will need access to an internet browser, and word processing software. You will also be encouraged, with our guidance, to use simple online tools to aid, collate, publish and share your findings.

Who will you learn with?

I work at the University of Exeter in the Department of Geography, run the website, and am a member of Fashion Revolution's Global Coordination Team. My clothes are extra large.

Who developed the course?

University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction.

Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution is a global movement campaigning for systemic reform of the fashion industry with a focus on the need for greater transparency and sustainability.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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