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Online course

Who Made My Clothes?

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

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Who Made My Clothes?

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.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsHi. 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, followthethings.com 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 46 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 51 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

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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.

We will draw together themes from Geography, Fashion and Textile, English Language, English as a Foreign Language, Historical Enquiry, Politics, Sociology, Art, Economics, Environmental Studies, Global Citizenship, Sustainable Development, Personal and Social Studies. It is possible to participate in the course using skills and knowledge acquired outside formal education. Key concepts will be explained in accessible and thought-provoking ways.

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?

Ian Cook

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

Verity Jones

Having been a teacher and senior leader, I am now a freelance Educational Consultant based in the UK, working with schools around the world.

Lily Petherick

I’m a fourth year undergraduate at the University of Exeter. I'm in my final year studying Geography!

Caroline Weston Goodman

I am a final year Geography student at the University of Exeter. I am interested in detective work and have a particular enthusiasm in finding out who made my clothes.

Kate Fox

I'm a final year BA Geography student at the University of Exeter. Thanks to my charity shop and second hand clothes addiction none of my clothes are the same size!

Who developed the course?

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

Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for greater transparency in the fashion industry, aiming to ignite a revolution to change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $39 (+ shipping) you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

Image certificate mobile

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.