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Ethical campaigns

  • Brand Spotlight: Wool and the Gang

    screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-11-56-38We all have a favourite woollen sweater or coat that we can rely on to keep us warm during the cold winter months, but how many of us know about wool and the sustainability of its production? According to Campaign for Wool, this natural textile is a protein fibre formed in the skin of sheep and boasts some amazing qualities like acting as a natural insulator, and being incredibly resilient and trans-seasonal.

    This week, Fashion Compassion would like to spotlight a Brand that is pushing forward not just an ethical message, but also a global sense of community and sustainable practise for wool-producers and consumers. Known as Wool and the Gang, the company was founded on the basis of offering fashion lovers with unique woollen pieces, that respect the welfare of animals, while also creating a community of enthusiastic knitters that can participate in the creation of wonderful woollen items. Offering a variety of knitted products, as well as knitting patterns for the more ambitious, the company has been a great success, and has recently partnered up with London Department Store &OtherStories to release a beautiful, pearl studded Winter Collection. As sustainable fashion gains more grounding, we hope to see even more brands like Wool and the Gang, paving the way for positive change in an industry that impacts so many.

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  • November: Red is for Rememberance

    Remembering Victims of the Fashion Industry

    As the month of November brings with it a defiant spirit of remembrance and nostalgia, the Fashion Compassion team would like to reflect on the hardships suffered by many within the supply chains of the Global Textile Industry. In particular, while Fashion brings us choice and a channel to express individuality, it accommodates many shades of grey that remain to be addressed by both political and commercial circles.

    Last year saw the tragic Rana Plaza Diasater in Bangladesh which toke the lives of over 1,138 garment workers, while in 2016, the Syrian Refugee Crisis has brought with it opportunities for unethical human exploitation, as the BBC reported several weeks ago, indicating the dangers of our cultural appetite for fast fashion that replicates the latest seasonal trends, while placing  significant cost on our planet and poorer communities in the developing world.

    Despite the solum tone however, there is still hope, as passionate innovators and creators initiate campaigns to promote sustainability and fair trade, with Brands like HnM and organisations like the Ethical Fashion Forum and the Wage Alliance. So when you pin a poppy to the lapel of your winter coat, or you read of the memorial events that took place this weekend, the ultimate message is to remember not only past lives, but also present ones. The people that make Fashion as an industry possible, from skilled seamstresses and renowned designers to retail employees and garment workers that work 14 hour days. We all have a part to play in this global mosaic.

    Celebrate the month with red adornment and check out our picks from Fashion Compassion!

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  • Merge ZA's panel on sustainability

    "Nobody should die or suffer for fashion." - Orsola De Castro

    This, and other inspiring comments, could be heard on Monday 19th when our founder Ayesha Mustafa joined a panel on sustainability and its future in the fashion industry. In total the panel had 6 speakers: Ayesha, Orsola de Castro (Fashion Revolution), Rose Sinclaire (Goldsmith University), Francesco Mazzarella (Loughborough Design School), Jaqueline Shaw (Africa Fashion Guide), Anna Freemantle (Edinburgh International Fashion Festival), and Laura Santamaria (Sublime Magazine).

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    The founders of Merge ZA and the panelists after the talk (excluding Anna Freemantle).

    The event took place from 3PM to 5PM at TANK Magazine's gallery space in Soho and was organized by Merge ZA. The panelists discussed the past, present and future of the current fashion industry and answered the key question: "How to make the fashion industry more sustainable?"

    The panelists all agreed that although we have come a long way over the years when it comes to sustainability and green living, we still have a long way to go - the change for better will not happen immediately, but gradually people are seeing the importance of sustainability and it is important to continue spreading the message and educate people on the matter.

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    Ayesha Mustafa sharing her thoughts on the panel.

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    A slide from Jacqueline Shaw's presentation.

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    Brands that were showcased at the event.

    Fashion ComPassion would like to thank the audience, the panelists as well as the organizers for the event!

    All images © Fashion ComPassion.

  • Ayesha Mustafa to talk on Monday

    MERGE ZA is a travelling showroom and will launch at Tank Magazine’s gallery space during London Fashion Week to promote best of South African contemporary fashion designers. Its inaugural showroom will exhibit five of South Africa's leading designers' work: Rich Mnisi, Lukhanyo Mdingi, SELFI, Wanda LePhoto and Young & Lazy. The event will be in partnership with the British Council CONNECT ZA.

    By taking South African fashion talents to global urban hotspots during events such as London Fashion Week, MERGE ZA is creating a platform to develop international audiences, to promote South African design and to act as service provider between local designers and international partners.

    The showroom will be open to buyers, press and the public from 11am-3pm between 16-20 September, with panel discussions on brand stories, media & trends and sustainability. Our founder Ayesha Mustafa will join the panel on sustainability on Monday 19th, starting at 3PM. Alongside her in the panel will be Orsola de Castro (Fashion Revolution), Anna Freemantle (Edinburgh International Fashion Festival), Rose Sinclair (Goldsmith), Francesco Mazzarella (Loughborough Design School) and Jaqueline Shaw (Africa Fashion Guide).

    Location
    Tank Magazine Gallery Space | 91-93 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7NX

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    Rich Mnisi

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    Lukhanyo Mdingi

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    SELFI

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    Wanda LePhoto

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    Young & Lazy

    For further information of the events, please see the Merge ZA website.
    All images © The British Council.

  • Ayesha Mustafa one of the judges for Fashion DNA Pakistan

    This year Fashion DNA Pakistani focused on ethical and sustainable fashion and our founder Ayesha Mustafa was invited to be one of the judges. Fashion DNA is a British Council programme supporting emerging fashion industries and raising awareness of the design talent while creating an understanding of their local context to people in the UK. The programme will provide mentorship to 6 Pakistani fashion design businesses this year.  The winners this year are: Gulabo, Jeem, Munib Nawaz, The Pink Tree Company, Sonya Battla and Zuria Dor.

    Fashion DNA is an 8-month programme and includes intensive training. The focus will range from fashion business to sustainable and ethical production to branding and communications.

    The mentorship will result in the development of a ready-to-wear line with a clear brand positioning, marketing through fashion imagery/film and a digital presence, and the production of samples for a catwalk that meets the blueprint of sustainability and fair practice. The collections will be showcased in London at Fashion Scout.

    The programme brings together British and Pakistani fashion professionals and institutions. Fashion DNA aims to create a collective identity for spunky, edgy fashion from Pakistan to appeal to an international market.

    Winning designers:

    Gulabo
    Gulabo.

    Jeem
    Jeem.

    Munib Nawaz
    Munib Nawaz.

    Pink Tree
    Pink Tree.

    Sonya Battla
    Sonya Battla.

    Zuria Dur
    Zuria Dur.

    For further information on Fashion DNA, please visit The Britsh Council website.
    All images © The British Council.

  • GUEST BLOGGER: City Girl At Heart

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    What is your blog about?

    My blog is essentially a lifestyle blog. I write about anything that takes my fancy. Music features heavily and I have a weekly feature where I showcase an ethical issue or brand called Ethical Tuesday.

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    Why is sustainable fashion important to you?

    I was appalled by the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 and it made me completely rethink how and why I spend my money. The more I researched, the more I realised how much the environment and peoples live are connected to our buying decisions. I am now on a mission to make as many other people as possible aware too!

    Do you have a personal style?

    As I now buy less but better I'm trying to create the perfect capsule wardrobe where everything goes with everything. Classic pieces with the odd piece of crazy colour thrown in!

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    Can you give our readers any advice for buying ethically and sustainably?

    I love charity shops and clothes continuing to have a life. Clothes swap parties are a great idea too. There are some really lovely ethical fashion brands around now. Most of them are expensive but have brilliant sales so keep an eye out for them by signing up to their mailing lists. Beamont Organic and Noa Noa are two of my favourites.

    Why are platforms like Fashion ComPassion and your own blog important?

    To give ethical designers and brands a platform to showcase their work, tell their stories, touch people's hearts and minds and ultimately change the world!

    What are your top 3 Fashion ComPassion favourite items?

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    The Angela & Roi Square Tote

    Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 16.55.07 Edge of Ember Chamelli Gold Wrap Bangle

    Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 16.57.01 The Spotted Quoll Storm Voile Scarf

  • Guest Blogger: Carmen Artigas

    Carmen+Artigas+SMfile

    My blog is:

    I was a late bloomer to blogging, but my commitment to sustainable fashion started 15 yrs ago. I mostly post on Facebook on Ethical Fashion NY.

    https://www.facebook.com/ethicalfashionNY?fref=photo

    www.carmenartigas.com

    http://about.me/carmenartigas

    Sustainable fashion is important to me because:

    Sustainable fashion entails responsible decisions and design has to be emotionally durable. I believe designers should always consider the human and environmental cost of developing their products and have a clear understanding of the life cycle and end of life of products.

    Maintaining a short supply chain and sourcing locally is a great alternative. Also avoiding last minute design changes that represent overtime behind the sewing machine and can affect the workers well being. In essence it's creating a garment with good karma.

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    My personal style is:

    Tribal and sometimes “Time traveler”. I strive to wear something old and something handmade… especially vintage kimonos and pieces by talented local designers that are usually my friends'!

    I used to be a shoe museum curator so I love crafted textiles from every culture. I also have many friends that work in museums and they give me access to their archives, that’s where I get inspiration!

    Some of my favourite sustainable brands are:

    My advice for buying ethical and sustainable products:

    Fall in love with the pieces you buy. I usually buy things that will be in my closet for at least a decade. Quality goes a long way and I actually enjoy mending clothes. It's old fashioned, but I've developed real appreciation for tailoring and quality textiles.

    Also consider supporting brands that collaborate with artisans. Crafts and artisans are endangered, since younger generations are not learning the skill and the market doesn't always provide fair trade. We need to protect culture diversity and the craft language.

    Platforms like Fashion ComPassion are important because:

    Fashion ComPassion provides a feeling of connectedness and empowerment and supports guilt-free shopping.

    My top 3 Fashion ComPassion picks:

    Threads of Gujrat Purneshwar Wallet

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    Abury Red & Brown Berber Bag

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    Mayamiko Ida Clutch in Vase Print

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  • The List: Fashion ComPassion Holiday Must-Haves!

    Holiday season is in full swing! These accessories will complete your look, make great gifts, and all have the satisfaction of fulfilling a philanthropic endeavor!

    1) Sujuu Sunset Mountain Silk Scarf

    Originating in Kyrgyzstan, Sujuu scarves are hand woven and hand dyed from 100% natural materials. They are made by local artisans who proliferate traditional crafting techniques and maintain a fair trade system to manage the cost of the products. This scarf is made from silk and felt, derived from merino wool, which has an incredibly soft hand-feel and will you warm through the season!

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    2) Amalena Chain of Love Bracelet 

    Specializing in handcrafted pieces from Colombia, Amalena is the first brand to use 18-karat Eco-Gold, made from sustainable extraction techniques. Each gold heart is linked to next to represent the unbreakable bond of love and is tied together with a natural silk cord to make an adjustable bracelet.

    dec2 3) Palestyle Big O Bag

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    Palestyle was established in Dubai but it’s products are made in Lebanon from genuine leather and carry their statement emblem of Arabic calligraphy. This bag is big enough to carry you from day to night and is complete with a magnetic closure that translates to “magic of your eyes”. The anaconda orange flap over the caviar skin creates a beautiful contrast that matches any outfit!

    4) Edge of Ember Alysse Gold Ring

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    This engraved ring is made with 18-karat gold plated brass and is handcrafted in Bali, Indonesia. Edge of Ember supports local artisans in Cambodia and Indonesia and ensures that all workers receive fair wages and their products are ethically traded. Their ambition is to address issues of human trafficking through charity.

    5) The Root Collective Grey Infinity Scarf

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    The Root Collective works with artisans in Kenya, Peru and Guatemala to create minimalist pieces that are driven by a need for social change. The scarves are handmade in Guatemala using 100% cotton and address the huge issue of gang violence by creating a fair wage environment for their workers. Implementing the traditional method used for the back strap looms of Mayan women in the rural highlands, each scarf takes 15 hours to weave!

    6) Senhoa Angelina Earrings

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    Individually handcrafted by vulnerable women in Cambodia, Senhoa jewelry is an emblem of the company’s policies of fair wages, education and healthcare. These earrings are made from 24-karat gold plated seed beads, Swarovski stone elements, and 14-karat gold fill ear wires. All profit made from them goes directly into sustaining the program in Cambodia.

    7) Mayamiko Ida Clutch in Geo Print

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    Made in Malawi from a fusion of traditional techniques and modern design, Mayamiko produces luxury ethical goods. This clutch is made from 100% cotton and has a discrete magnetic closure. The bold print will add a pop of color to any look and keep you on trend through the winter!

    8) Sweet Cavanagh Brave Heart

    dec8 This necklace, a combination of semi-precious stones and crystal beads, is made in London by the founder of Sweet Cavanagh, Florence. The gold filled wire, turquoise and amethyst crystals, and wire wrapped beads come together in these two chains to create a statement piece with various tones. The artisans that create this jewelry are empowered by their craft in their road to recovery from eating disorders and addictions.

    9) Sahel Design Tassel Tote Collection Beige With Red

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    A combined effort of Fashion ComPassion and Sahel Design, this tassel uses traditional methods of weaving Fulani horse reins and it put together by a family in Burkina Faso that has been practicing this method for years. The leather and cotton lining make this both sturdy and functional.

    10) The Spotted Quoll Yellow Moon Voile Scarf

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    Handmade in Tasmania using eco-friendly techniques and natural materials, these scarves preserve wilderness and promote sustainable production. The print is created using water-based pigment and placed on natural voile cotton to create this long scarf that can be worn in a variety of ways! The “yellow moon” design is a mix of mustard and greys and is inspired from a full moon seen through a thicket of trees.

  • Brand Interview: Sweet Cavanagh

    1. What is Sweet Cavanagh?

    Sweet Cavanagh is a unique jewelry brand where all the designer-makers are women in recovery from eating disorders and addictions. Our workshop is not only a place of creativity and design, but also of personal growth where the most brilliant life changes are made. Each designer cultivates her own style, which often develops as her confidence and self-esteem grows.

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    2. Why did you decide to launch a socially responsible label?

    The first reason for starting this company was to create a place where women could come and get free support whilst fighting to find recovery. I recognized a gap in the services offered by the NHS and realized that there is next to no free care for people suffering with eating disorders. In my own personal experience I found jewelry making to be very therapeutic, so I realized that if we could combine both the recovery aspect and the design aspect, we could potentially make a social enterprise. It was only when my partner Maxine came on board that we were able to fully realize our potential. As a licensed therapist Maxine has added a whole new dimension to the workshop and we now offer one on one and group therapy in addition to the jewelry-making workshop.

    
3. What was the inspiration behind the collection?

    Our collection is inspired by the courage and strength demonstrated by each of our craftswomen day in and out. Each of these women has overcome tremendous hurdles to be where they are today. The bright colors and bold designs reflect their creativity and unique personalities, which they are finally getting to experience as they embrace recovery. Each designer has her own sense of style, making our collection eclectic and oh so special. Each piece is one of a kind, as are each of our craftswomen.

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    4. Tell us about the positive impact Sweet Cavanagh has had on the people and the environment.

    Research has proven that jewelry making can augment one’s well being by increasing one’s self esteem and reducing stress and anxiety, all of which reduce one’s risk of relapse.  Coming to our workshop also helps women to build a sober support network; thus, combating the isolation that is often faced by those suffering from addictions and/or eating disorders. Our program gives women a place to go and introduces them to women who understand their history. This gives them accountability and enhances their feelings of connectedness, thus reducing loneliness. The support groups and individual counseling that we offer further enhance these assets. In the past year, Sweet Cavanagh has helped over twenty women transition back into full time work and/or education.

    Sweet Cavanagh also gives women an opportunity to become self-employed as jewelry designers and creators by paying each woman a living wage for each piece of theirs that sells. This is especially important, as many women have been in treatment and out of work for quite some time. Additionally, individuals are given the opportunity to learn about the business side of the enterprise, which allows them to develop skills in marketing, advertising, and data entry, all of which will enhance their feelings of confidence as well as their CV! This sense of purpose is something that many could not have imagined when they were in the depths of their illness.

    While Sweet Cavanagh strives to have a high social impact, we do try to have a small carbon footprint. We strive to source our materials locally and LOVE to support other social enterprises when selecting beads. Many of our pieces are made from recycled and vintage beads. Re-working old jewelry and giving it new life is a special process. Similar to our treatment of disorders, we try to see the positive in everything and be grateful for what we have in our lives.

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    5. Why is a platform like Fashion ComPassion important for the growth of sustainable fashion businesses?

    In a world where people are focused on getting more for less, platforms like Fashion Compassion are essential for sustainable fashion businesses. As with many ethical brands, our budget is limited and we depend on every sale; thus, having the support of a larger company is imperative. Additionally, our craftswomen are made to feel all the more special as they see their pieces on a bonafide website, alongside other beautiful products. The pride they feel when a piece is sold is also something that can't be monetized. We feel honored to be grouped in the same category as the other brands on the Fashion Compassion page. It is wonderful to be appreciated as an ethical fashion brand whose pieces make a difference in the world.

  • Get Behind the Label: Senhoa Solidarity Clear De Art Earrings

    GET BEHIND THE LABEL: SENHOA SOLIDARITY CLEAR DE ART EARRINGS

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    Fashion ComPassion is featuring the Senhoa Solidarity Clear De Art earrings this month for it’s unique design and smart ethics.

     

    Every piece of Senhora jewelry is handcrafted by vulnerable women in Cambodia using traditional artisanal techniques. The women are then provided with fair wages, health services and education. Senhoa’s goal is to create opportunities for artisans like these and raise awareness about exploitation.

     

    The Solidarity Clear De Art earrings are made from platinum seed beads and Swarovski crystal elements. Using traditional methods of weaving, these earrings are both intricate and simple, to be dressed up or down!

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