Safia Minney, Francesca Romana Rinaldi, Orsola de Castro and Simone Cipriani gather at People Tree HQ.
We arrived just in time to hear the last half of Simone Cipriani, Head of the Ethical Fashion Initiatives talking about how the aesthetic we choose shows the story we want to tell. And who wouldn't want their story to be that they support Ethical Fashion and that they are doing good for both the garment workers that make the clothes and the environment?
There were lots of facts that I didn't know like that 80 billion garments are produced per year and that if the workers making those garments were to be paid a living wage the price of a product would only go up by 3-5%! This astounded me! With all the campaigning going on at the moment for our wage to increase to a living wage shouldn't the rest of the world be entitled to the same?
The next person to talk was Orsola de Castro, a pioneer in the field of Ethical and Sustainable Fashion, her concern was that people no longer have an "emotional durability" with their clothes, designer clothes are "glossy and impersonal" and that we need the return of the artisan and for people to remember that clothes making is a craft. Because clothes are made in far away countries behind closed doors in conditions that people either don't know about or don't want to know about they no longer mean anything to us. I have just inherited from my Mum a dress that was first worn by my great grandmother in the 1950's, the label inside says that it was "specially made for Werff of Bond Street" and although it needs re-hemming and the zip has come away at the back that doesn't mean it can't be fixed up as if it was brand new again. If a dress from Primark breaks that you paid £5 for you are probably going to throw it away.
Safia Minney: "not that we are asking people to boycott brands like H&M and fast fashion, just to be curious about where their clothes come from and involved in their story."
Sneaky shot of me with my new book and also two beautiful People Tree dresses! The one on the right has the cutest bird print and is definitely going on my wish list :D
There was also a lot of talk about the impact of Social Media on how Ethical Fashion Companies can use it to, in the words of Orsola de Castro "drive the change through technology" with Safia Minney agreeing that "technology gives people the power to see the story of a product that they would not have been able to before" mostly because of how widespread and easily accessible social media is. Having a small ethical fashion business I know the importance of transparency and interaction with the customers that are interested in your products and social media is definitely the easiest way to do this.
Thursday 30th of October and while most people are excited for Halloween the next day I was excited to go to People Tree Headquarters in London for The Responsible Fashion Company Book Launch.
Not actually living in London, my partner and I got the train to arrive in London with 2 hours to get there but alas we ended up going to the wrong Huguenot Place and got lost in Wandworth for 2 hours and ended up being an hour late to the book launch! Which means we missed Safia Minney's talk, so while I would like to say that it was great (which I'm sure it was!) I cannot i'm afraid comment.
It was agreed at the end of the talks that there was a "tangible shift in the attitudes from both industry and the consumer" but as an audience member asked, "will this happen fast enough?"
The responses were:
Simone- "No, it will take time but it is worth working towards."
Orsola - "I am optimistic as the younger generation has the enthusiasm and the understanding that we need"
Fran - "It will be faster if all the stakeholders are involved."
And I hope that this post has inspired you to get involved, as everyone is a stakeholder, me and you! If you want to chat to me or have any questions feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or on facebook.com/whatdaisydid or twitter:@whatdaisydid
Me and Safia Minney, Director of People Tree and personal and business inspiration! You can't see here but Safia was wearing a Zandra Rhodes for People tree Cubes dress which I adore!