FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK: DAY 3
Since starting the challenge this week, it's been so good to hear all of your thoughts on this incredibly important topic. From workers' rights to the wages they are being paid, it's been so refreshing to see how many people are prepared to offer their opinion to the world. As I discussed in my last post, when we are aware of what is going on and how we can help and make a difference, this is when positive change can happen.
"Thanks to the fashion industry, women in developing countries are often given a new lease on life when they too become a bread winner in their family."
One point that came up at Fashion Question Time, which, if I'm totally honest, wasn't one I had fully considered before, is the positive aspect and impact of women working in the garment industry. As we all know, in most developing countries, women are often treated as second-class citizens, often pulled out of education (if they receive an education at all) at a young age, married off and then forced to give up any ambitions they had, to have children and look after their family at home. However, thanks to the fashion industry, these women are often given a new lease on life when they too become a bread winner in their family, which enables them to have more of a voice as well as the means to have more control over their future even if simply to be able to buy birth control.
"The work that governments around the world, charities and bodies like Fashion Revolution are doing is having positive effects."
In some respects, it's thanks to the fashion industry itself that male members of the family are starting to see a value in their daughters and so will often keep them in school to allow them to get the qualifications they need and proceed onto work as opposed to marrying them off young. This has an invaluable impact on these societies, and research has shown that it can help to reduce domestic violence in homes, as well as lower population growth and contribute to some pervasive problems we, as a planet, are facing — global warming, for example. Likewise, having this income can empower women to speak up in their families. Research shows that when women are in control of their wage, 90% goes back into the home helping to protect the welfare of children in that family.
In an industry that is made up of 80% women, it's enlightening and heart-warming to hear the more positive side to what is often deemed a less-than-attractive job by our own standards.
The fashion industry is still fall from faultless and there are still countless things that need to be done industry wide but, what these examples do show is that a lot of the work that governments around the world, charities and bodies like Fashion Revolution are doing is having positive effects. Many figureheads in the industry suggest that, rather than boycotting companies who have factories in developing countries we can use our voice and spending power to vote for sustainable and ethical pieces produced by these multi-million companies and demand that more of the huge profit they make goes into not only protecting the human rights of these workers but also their welfare.
And now, without further ado, here's my outfit for day 3 of Fashion Revolution Week:
ACE & JIG
In 2009, Ace & Jig set out to create a seasonless women’s collection from one fabrication: the brand's own yarn-dye, woven fabric. They wanted to create timeless garments from their own textile designs, as interesting in texture as in colour and pattern, effortless clothing that could be worn in many ways, for many years. The brand's pieces are manufactured in India, by textile specialists who use ancient wooden hand looms to weave the fabric. The factory practises the holistic kaizen philosophy of continuing to improve, so not only do they provide free childcare, but they also use reclaimed water to grow organic produce for their employees.
I have always been a fan of vintage clothing; I love to “thrift” and sort through treasures — for me the story behind a garment is as important and interesting as the story around the food that we eat. The recent rise of Fast Fashion means that we no longer get the full experience when it comes to falling in love with a garment: it’s always a quick fix and the buzz wears thin, and often the quality means that we fall in love after the first wash let alone season. I trawl vintage shops wherever I am; from the expensive designer ones to the cheap ones like charity shops, and even cheaper car boots which are a favourite for everything I buy. I love that it either fits or it doesn’t. The item won’t come in another colourway for you to ‘um and ah’ over. And if it turns out you made the wrong choice, it won’t be an expensive mistake. This coat was a $40 purchase from Beacon's Closet on a visit to New York a few weeks ago and at home I like to clothes swap online (basically buy and sell!) with Vestiaire Collective and Ebay.
MATT & NAT
MATT & NAT stands for MAT(T)ERIAL + NATURE. An 100% vegan brand, the company uses sustainable materials such as cork and rubber in its designs. The linings of handbags are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. MATT & NAT is incredibly vigilant in the factories it uses and currently only produces in factories that operate by the SA8000 standard, which ensures quality work conditions for all.
In 2004, childhood friends Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion founded Veja, a line of socially conscious sneakers inspired by vintage volleyball shoes. The French house works with Brazilian farmers to produce its minimal, subtly branded low-tops using organic cotton, wild rubber, and other sustainable materials. Known for its commitment to ethical business practices, the cult-worthy label forgoes traditional advertising and credits its success to word-of-mouth marketing.