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  • The Winter Edit

    With the end of Autumn approaching, the weather has become crisp and chilly, and winter seems to have finally arrived. This colder weather is hence a fantastic invitation to invest in some ethical winter accessories. As leaders in the sustainable fashion industry, Fashion Compassion supports brands with the best ethical and environmental credentials, and are constantly scouting for the most fashionable and sustainable brands.

    This week, we will be spotlighting some of our favourites for the winter season, as the days grow colder and we are left to embrace- not battle- natures elements.

    Glow and See is a London based brand that specialises in glowing knitwear. A great option for anyone out on late winter nights!

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    Warm Regards is a brand which produce beautiful ethical scarves. Based in India, they are a social enterprise, dedicated to uplifting women and empowering them financially through artisian employment. These are fantastic colours for the festive season!

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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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  • The Future of Textiles: The Rise of Hybrid Fabrics

    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-11-48-40Mahatma Gandhi once said that 'There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it is makes hunger and unhappiness'. This profound statement is more relevant today than it has ever been, as fabric becomes a powerful metaphor for the principle of sustainability and for advocating global unity. The anatomy of the textile industry is indeed evolving, as innovation is now synonymous to the practise of sustainability. Traditional fabrics like cotton, linen and silk are now accompanied by contemporary hybrid fibres that reflect the technological and socially conscious world that globalisation has ignited. With the rise of textile innovation, Fashion Compassion would like to spotlight two unique companies who are redefining the landscape of textile production by merging innovation with environmental and social objectives.

    Foremost is the Italian Startup Orange Fibre, which attributes its patented fabric to the geography of Sicily, where citris fruit is grown and consumed on a vast scale. It is the waste from this citris industry that provides degradable fibres, which are then transformed through nanotechnology techniques to create a vitamin C rich fabric known as Orange Fibre. This unique innovation is attributed to two Italian entrepreneurs Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena,  who together have scaled the idea and begun production of the fabric. Accordingly, the entrepreneurs hope to introduce a sustainable paradigm to the Italian Fashion Industry, and  to reincarnate a shrinking fruit industry which has left many Sicilian youth unemployed and local talents under leveraged. The company therefore addresses sustainability on multiple levels, by utilising fruit by-product and offering new jobs to local economies. Who could imagine a textile to be sustainable, nourishing and economically empowering?

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    The second innovator is American-based Bionic Yarn who has created a solution to combating the worlds excessive consumption of plastic products. Their mission 'To achieve sustainability without sacrificing quality' and to generate positive impact for the triple bottom line. The emergence of this company is timely, as plastic is known to be a non-biodegradable material and yet the world consumes it within almost every industry and demographic. The production of Bionic Yarn is therefore a welcomed step towards transforming this harmful waste into textile material that can be used in a diverse range of outlets- fashion being one of them.

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    In fact exciting collaborations have already manifested using this hybrid fibre, with the launch of a collection by rapper Pharrell Williams for G Star in 2015. This campaign was used to spread awareness of the extensive ocean pollution caused by plastic consumption and how companies like Bionic Yarn can offer sustainable solutions to vast environmental problems that now seem to transcend borders, cultures and geography.

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  • JOIN LIFE: Zara's Stake in the Sustainable Fashion Movement

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    An evolution is occurring on the High Street as this season Zara enters the Sustainable Fashion Family by introducing a collection called 'JOIN LIFE'. The endorsement of this collection with its use of organic textiles, is an indication of greater shifts to come within the world of fashion, as brands begin to capitalise on the business opportunities of sustainability, while engaging customers in the some of the most crucial debates of our time. Fashion has never been more important for spreading values and cultural ideas about how we consume, dress and express ourselves, and being a multi million dollar company, Zara has certainly committed itself to a worthy campaign, that will push forward  perceptions of a more progressive fashion industry which accommodate supply chains that respect the environment and its fragility.

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    With rich warm tones, the collection features well tailored classic pieces, that are bound to appeal to the fashion conscience, with chic trench coats, frills and pleats and minimalist shirts that capture the current flavour of Autumn. The launch of this collection is proof that sustainable style is slowly but surely becoming a norm within the world of fast fashion, as environmental and social issues are given a platform and projected into design and style collectives. This campaign also marks the beginning of a journey for Zara, as we can expect more exciting innovations from some of our favourite High Street brands.

     

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  • 'WEAR NO EVIL' A Sustainable Fashion Handbook

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    Publications on sustainable fashion have emerged in recent years with greater education and awareness of our increasingly fragile climate and concerns over the nature of global working conditions and environmental standards. Greta Eagan's book 'Wear No Evil' acts as a fantastic introduction and guide to ethical consumerism, as the book pairs practical styling tips with a rich plethora of references for sustainable companies and brands.

    Beginning her portfolio on sustainable fashion in 2010, Greta is also the creator of FashionMeGreen, a website that has become a crucial earmark for showcasing sustainable brands that are 'aligning the world of mainstream fashion with a conscious and ethical approach'.

    Wear no Evil is a recommended and insightful publication for anyone who wishes to uncover the complex layers of the Global Fashion Industry. It is a refreshing outlook which illuminates readers to the major challenges faced by the industry and the individual steps and decisions we can all initiate to create fairer and more environmentally conscious supply chains. Our hope is that as sustainable fashion becomes more mainstreamed, more impassioned advocates will emerge carrying the message of green ethical fashion.

  • 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.

  • The World in which WE Live

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    We are thrilled to announce that our founder Ayesha Mustafa is one of the speakers taking part in tomorrow’s Women Empowered event; The World in which WE Live.
    Women Empowered is a social initiative which intends to empower women to encourage their skills and talents to achieve their personal goals. The events consist of Guest speakers who ENGAGE and ENCOURAGE, EMPOWERING and ENABLING women to make a change.

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    In this event Ayesha will share her experiences as a social entrepreneur and working with brands that employ marginalized communities and skilled artisans from all over the world. Other inspirational individuals taking part are Baroness Warsi, a British Pakistani Lawyer and politician, Sathnam Sangera an award winning journalist, and Yalda Hakim a Presenter for The BBC World News.

    We will also be showcasing the best of our collection of handmade exclusive bags.
    The Event will be held in Bright Courtyard Club, Baker Street.
    Time: 6:30pm

  • How the fashion industry can empower women in South Asia by Ayesha Mustafa

    On Tuesday the 16th of December, we were thrilled to see that the Guardian Sustainable Business shared a piece of article written by our Founder Ayesha Mustafa. The article informs readers on how the fashion industry can  empower women in South Asia with new brands and programs working to incorporate fair business practices to empower the artisans.

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    You can read about examples of brands that support empowering of women in the garment industry. Shubinak & it's parent company Looptex , are both certified manufacturers focusing on developing ethical practices. Based in Lahore, they have provided ethical garments for brands including Econscious, Levi’s and Dockers.

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    Photograph of SHUBINAK MODEL

    Also, there are charity programs that supports the artisan sector in South Asia such as  Women GoBeyond, a women empowerment brand based in Sri Lanka which focuses on education, training, mentoring & counselling. Another one is the  SHE (Self Help Enterprise) based in India who train women in crafts skills such as needlework and design.

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    Photograph Self Help Enterprise model

    Ayesha highlights the importance of these ethical brands and charities focusing on the empowering of women:

    "In supporting the artisan sector in South Asia, the fashion industry can provide women with opportunities while keeping traditional craftsmanship alive. While there are a growing number of promising initiatives, more brands, governments and consumers will need to take action if we are to create true scale and long-term change"- Ayesha Mustafa

    Read the rest of the article here>

  • Feature Story: Parsons New School Of DesignTaking The Lead in Sustainable Design

    Spotlight on Parsons the New School for Design: Sustainability in the Fashion Education System

    The impact of sustainability on fashion in recent years has been immense. The understanding of natural resources and the social and economic effects of the industry have led to a huge increase of awareness and ethically-conscious design. Parsons the New School for Design in New York City is one of the leading facilities in this field.

    The new University Center, located in the heart of downtown Manhattan, boasts a U.S. Green Building Council LEED rating of Gold and has made it a point to offer classes focused on sustainability and zero-waste garment construction.

    Images taken from SOM.

    Teslin Doud, inaugural winner of the Tory Burch Mentorship Award (WWD), is in her final year at Parsons and is one of the leading talents emerging from the institution as an environmentally-conscious designer. It was the freedom offered within the program, she says, that allowed her to take the reigns on her education and stay true to her personal values.

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    Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, Doud had been surrounded by ideas of sustainability and her mother, proprietor of a green building and home supply store, was a huge influence on her thinking. “Parsons,” she said, “does a good job of introducing the idea of sustainability and therefor the majority of the students are aware of the ideas and questions within sustainable design.” However, many do not take the leap to become sustainable designers because of how difficult it really is. Doud has committed to stepping out of the mainstream and embracing her passion for ethical design.

    Capsule_1Images taken from Doud's personal website.

    There are examples within the industry for her to aspire to – Honest by., founded by Bruno Pieters, is the world’s first 100% transparent company. Without sacrificing design, they create beautiful products and let consumers be privy to the entire production process.

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    “We are currently in a period of flux,” she states. “Universities, including Parsons, are updating their curriculums to include ideas about responsible design and, as a result, are churning out new global leaders. As young designers we are the future of the fashion industry and we have the ability to create real change within an industry that is wrought by tradition.”

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