Armedangels has teamed up with artist and activist Steffen Kraft to redesign its Fashion Revolution t-shirts in commemoration of the Rana Plaza disaster.
The Cologne-based brand has been creating a charity t-shirt to raise money for effected garment workers for six years. All profits from sales are donated to The National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF), a Bangladesh-wide organisation that takes legal action to protect the rights and dignity of workers in the garment industry.
Ten years ago over 1,100 garment workers lost their lives in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The brand says garment workers still hunch over sewing machines in squalid and dangerous conditions to this day – all in the name of fast fashion.
Over the last five years, it has raised a total of €69,367 for NGWF. The money goes towards paying compensation to the textile workers, helping them regain employment and training. Last year 155 workers got their jobs back, 403 received training and 426 workers were awarded compensation payments. Meanwhile, 1,055 case hearings are still ongoing.
Armedangels creates its collections as ethically as possible, ensuring every garment is made in safe working conditions by workers who are paid above legal minimum wages. The brand is certified by independent organisations such as GOTS and the Fair Wear Foundation to guarantee its credentials.
The Armedangels limited edition FRW Donation T-Shirt is available now via armedangels.com
INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST STEFFEN KRAFT
Steffen Kraft is a German artist and activist that goes by the on5line alias ICONEO. In his work, he explores the problems and tensions of our modern-day society through thought-provoking illustrations. From political and environmental issues like global warming to social pressure and technology addiction, many people will see themselves in Kraft’s work and can relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed by modern-day life. Here he reveals the design process behind the Fashion Revolution T-Shirt…
What was your design creation process when creating the t-shirt?
First, I had a lot of research on the art and culture of Bangladesh. I noticed that tigers appeared frequently in pictures and discovered that the Bengal tiger is one of the national animals of Bangladesh. I also examined the appearance of garment workers and the textile industry in the country. After that, I sketched out initial ideas and tried to combine a few elements so that they would fit the existing text on the T-shirt. Ultimately, I found that the combination of a garment worker and a tiger was the strongest.
What message does your artwork convey?
The illustration combines a garment worker with a Bengal tiger, symbolising the power of the fair fashion movement. The tiger represents the work of the garment workers, and the image motif stands in contrast to the terrible event described on the textual level, offering something positive and motivational.
What does your work have to do with Fashion Revolution week/ARMEDANGELS/the fashion industry?
Normally, you don’t see a motif on T-shirts that has anything to do with the production of the T-shirt itself, let alone see the garment workers. This motif sends a clear signal that a T-shirt is not just a piece of fabric, but rather, it is a product that has been made by human hands.
How did you like the creation process of this artwork that was for this special topic? Was it different from your usual work?
One challenge was integrating the image into the existing text without it standing on its own. Additionally, the motif needed to avoid negativity while still conveying a strong message. Despite these challenges, I loved the opportunity they presented. Personally, I find it easier to be creative when I have limitations and a framework to work within, as in this case. Furthermore, it’s a great feeling to know that my work is helping people.