We 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 companywas 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.
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!
In less than 24 hours, we will be welcoming in the new year and saying goodbye 2013! But, before doing that, we thought it would be a great idea to look back at this year and see what 2013 brought to the sustainable fashion industry. So without further ado, here is our top 5 picks of 2013 sustainable fashion events!
1. SOURCE Summit 2013
The SOURCE Summit is considered to be one of the most important event for fashion and sustainability.
In July, the SOURCE Summit 2013 conference was held at the Crystal in London. The summit is considered to be one of the most important event for fashion and sustainability as united global retailers leaders and pioneering brands from all over the world in aid of addressing the challenges faced by the sustainable fashion industry. Ayesha Mustafa, founder and director of Fashion ComPassion, was apart of the Summit's panel for the Retailer forum, a forum which aimed to bring retailers together with entrepreneurs and brands to debate about how to increase the availability of sustainable fashion in the mainstream fashion industry.
2. GCC Capsule Collection Launch On Net-a-Porter
Emma Watson models the NET-A-PORTER.COM & GCC Capsule Collection. (Original photos by Natalie Brewster).
September saw the Green Carpet Challenge and Net-a-Porter launch a world wide exclusive capsule collection, where all the pieces were created in accordance with GCC® ethical criteria and produced to the highest sustainable standards. The GCC capsule collection featured ten gowns from five of best British designers; Victoria Beckham, Burberry Prorsum, Chistopher Kane, Erdem and Roland Mouret. The collection was then modelled by actress and sustainable fashion campaigner Emma Watson as part of the launch.
3. Fashion Revolution Day
Fashion Revolution Day will offer a voice to everyone in the fashion ecosystem who is bringing change.
This year also saw the creation the annual commemorative day Fashion Revolution Day. Initiated by Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro, Fashion Revolution Day is to commemorate and tribute the victims of the Rana Plaza and all the other tragedies that have occurred in the name of fashion. Taking its main inspiration from International Women’s Day, Fashion Revolution Day aims to show the world that change in the fashion industry is possible and that we should celebrate those who want create a more sustainable fashion future and give them a platform to voice their concerns. The day also intends celebrate good practice in the industry as well as highlight the main problem areas which need to be tackled such as worker’s rights and health and safety conditions.
Check out Fashion Revolution Day Facebook page here.
4. Estethica SS2014 at London Fashion Week!
5 Top Picks from Estethica SS14 - People Tree, Bottletop, Liora Lassalle, Katrien Van Hecke and Beautiful Soul London.
Estethica has become one of the industry’s leading showcases of eco sustainable design, supporting over 100 pioneering designers and promoting awareness about ethical fashion around the world. This year's SS14 was exceptional, showcasing talents from the likes of People Tree, Bottletop, Liora Lassalle, Katrien Van Hecke and Beautiful Soul London. Check out our whole review of Estethica SS2014 here!
5. Ethical Fashion Initiative
'Not Charity, Just Work' - slogan of Ethical Fashion Initiative.
It has been a phemonal year for the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI). EFI gives artisans in Africa and Haiti access to designers like Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood, helping ethical fashion into the mainstream market. Operated through the wider ‘Poor Communities and Trade Programme’ launched by the ITC, the Ethical Fashion Initiative enables international fashion companies and distributors to source from African communities, without bias in price or quality, therefore allowing groups of marginalised artisans to become part of the larger value chain. Simone Cipriani, head of the EFI, was named among the Business of Fashion Top 500 influential people who are shaping the global fashion industry.
Find out more about the Ethical Fashion Initiative here.
What do you think? What are your top sustainable fashion event from 2013? Let us know in the comments!
Here at Fashion ComPassion, we can’t quite believe it’s July already! The first half of 2013 has just flown by! So, as we near the end of this month, we thought we would take a moment to look back over the last 6 months and see what Fashion ComPassion got up to.
Inaaya - a socially conscious fashion brand which combines classic Sindhi design and embellishment techniques with artisanal production and interprets them through the lens of contemporary fashion.
We kicked off the year by adding Inaaya - a socially conscious fashion brand which combines classic Sindhi design and embellishment techniques with artisanal production and interprets them through the lens of contemporary fashion – to Fashion ComPassion’s online shop in January.
Inaaya Jewellery - Available to buy at the Fashion ComPassion online shop!
The Inaaya brand derives its name from the Arabic word for empathy, the capacity to recognize and share the feelings of others. Inaaya’s philosophy is simple - create progressive designs using traditional materials and techniques. By buying Inaaya jewellery, Fashion ComPassion customers are not just shopping with a conscience, they are also preserving another rapidly diminishing virtue; Compassion.
‘Social Business – The Power of Business to Create Social Change’ Invite
At the beginning of February, Ayesha spoke at ‘Social Business – The Power of Business to Create Social Change’ event, hosted by BNP Paribas. Together with other representatives from social responsible companies, including ‘Who Made Your Pants?’, ‘From Babies With Love’, ‘Ethical Art’ and ‘NaviStar Legal’, Ayesha talked about her own experiences in establishing Fashion ComPassion as a social business.
Ayesha talking to BNP Paribas employees after the discussion, carrying a BLISS Bag and Inaaya Necklace.
The invited panelists also talked about the obstacles which their social businesses faced and how they had overcome them.
'Wonder-Lust' showcased socially responsible fashion brands from war torn and under privileged communities together with stunning pieces created by emerging artists from Debut Contemporary.
Later on in February, Fashion ComPassion hosted its first joint event with renowned art gallery Debut Contemporary. ‘Wonder-Lust’ was the first in a series of collaborative events which aimed to bring up-and-coming creatives to the London fashion and art scene. This launch event showcased socially responsible fashion brands from war torn and under privileged communities together with stunning pieces created by emerging artists from Debut Contemporary.
The evening was a huge success, with many bloggers, press reporters and fashionistas discovering exciting new brands and artworks. ‘Wonder-Lust’ even made it onto GEO news!
Sarah’s Bag - an intimate line of hand crafted, custom-made women’s fashion accessories which are stylishly aware and socially responsible!
In April, we added Sarah’s Bag, an intimate line of hand crafted, custom-made women’s fashion accessories which are stylishly aware and socially responsible, to the Fashion ComPassion’s online shop. Feminine, fresh and fashionable, Sarah’s Bag aims to be distinctive, vivacious, and elegant with a hint of retro glamour and street-wise sensibility. Each piece makes a unique statement, requiring 10 to 15 days of meticulous embroidering, beading, crocheting, and hand stitching to produce. The Sarah’s bag brand acknowledges that every woman is unique and responds by creating designs that are equally innovative and original. Every woman who wears, makes, supports and contributes to the success story of Sarah’s bag helps prove, once and for all, that social businesses can be fashionable, vibrant and glamorous.
May proved to be a very busy month for Fashion ComPassion. After the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, Ayesha spoke to Sky News about what consumers and manufacturers should do to prevent similar industrial tragedies from happening. During the interview, Ayesha called for big retailers to focus on ‘responsible sourcing’ of manufacturers as well as the advocate the need to educate ourselves to become conscious consumers and to think more carefully about the clothes that we buy.
‘Ethical Fashion Show & Industry speakers: Raising Money for the Rehema Project’ event showcased both men and womenswear from a range of sustainable brands
Fashion ComPassion was then a part of ‘Ethical Fashion Show & Industry speakers: Raising Money for the Rehema Project’ evening. The event showcased both men and womenswear from a range of sustainable brands including People Tree, Beulah, Komodo, Junky Styling and Zoe Boomer. All the money raised by the Ethical Fashion Show went towards funding the Rehema Project, a charity which helps vulnerable women and children in Tanzania.
"Win A Bag A Week" with Fashion ComPassion and Látelier!
To the celebrate the launch of Fashion ComPassion’s new collection of eco-friendly handbags, we unveiled our “Win A Bag A Week” competition in mid May. For 4 weeks, we gave away 4 limited edition Melie Bianco handbags through Fashion ComPassion’s various TV, radio, print and online media partners, including our new partner CityFM89.
All of the Melie Bianco handbags are eco-friendly and made from premium vegan leather without the use of harmful chemicals.
Each Melie Bianco handbag is eco-friendly and made from premium vegan leather without the use of harmful chemicals. Moreover, by paying careful attention to craftsmanship and using high-end hardware and lining, Melie Bianco handbags are always on trend and stylish from season to season.
Hosted by the alumni of Harvard and Oxford Universities, the 'Putting the Soul Back into Business: Small Steps – Big Impact' event offered the opportunity to hear how individuals were putting the human element back into corporate social responsibility.
Towards the end of May, Ayesha spoke at the ‘Putting the Soul back into business: Small Steps – Big Impact’ event at the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Hosted by the alumni of Harvard and Oxford Universities, the evening offered the opportunity to hear how individuals were putting the human element back into corporate social responsibility and exchanged ideas about the positive changes people can make.
Ayesha with fellow panellists Paul Lomas and Daniel Vennard at ‘Putting the Soul back into business: Small Steps – Big Impact’.
Along with fellow panellists, Ayesha talked about her experience as a social entrepreneur and how she established Fashion ComPassion as a social responsible company.
July's Tech Talkfest event ‘Tech Talkfest’ event looked at the overlap between technology and fashion.
June also proved to be a busy month for Fashion ComPassion. At the beginning of the month, Ayesha spoke at the ‘Tech Talkfest’ event at the Google Campus London, an event which looked at the overlap between technology and fashion – how technology enables individuals to be more fashionable, and how fashion influences technology.
Fashion ComPassion then hosted ‘ECO-FAIR', the second collaborative event with Debut Contemporary. ‘ECO-FAIR’ showcased Fashion ComPassion’s collection of exquisite eco-friendly & sustainable fashion brands, illustrating how ethics and fashion can be combined to create chic high end products. These products were displayed together with stunning pieces created by emerging artists from Debut Contemporary – the innovative professional development platform that mentors and supports aspiring creative stars of the future.
Ayesha with the Debut Contemporary artists Anja Kleemann-Jacks, David Booth and Laura Iosifescu.
The night was very successful, with a fabulous crowd that loved the collection. By showcasing brands which combine design and eco-friendly production, Fashion ComPassion brought sustainable and socially responsible fashion one step closer to the forefront of the main stream fashion industry.
Ayesha with the Fashion ComPassion sample table at “Fashion, Finance & Diversity” event, hosted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Finally, we get to July! Ayesha was invited to be a part of the “Fashion, Finance & Diversity” event, hosted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London. Along with other invited designers from The Fold, Mo Saique, Bestow Elan and Math Collective, Ayesha spoke about her views on fashion, finance and diversity, as well as shared her own experiences as a social entrepreneur.
Fashion ComPassion and Ensemble Pakistan partnered with TCF to help support education.
For Ramadan, Fashion ComPassion partnered with The Citizens Foundation (TCF) to help educate children from marginalized backgrounds. With every purchase of a Fashion ComPassion handbag, a small donation would be donated to the TCF which, in turn, would fund their schools and provide education for 2 pupils for a month.
SOURCE Summit 2013 united leaders from the largest global retailers to the most pioneering brands and suppliers, from all over the world and every part of the fashion industry supply chain, to build upon and accelerate this momentum.
Most recently, Ayesha was on the panel for the Retailer forum as a part of the SOURCE Summit 2013 conference, one of the most important event for fashion and sustainability. The Retailer's forum aimed to bring retailers together with entrepreneurs and brands to debate about what needs to happen to increase the availability of sustainable fashion on the high street and online. The Summit united leaders from the largest global retailers to the most pioneering brands and suppliers, from all over the world and every part of the fashion industry supply chain, to build upon and accelerate this momentum.
So, as you can tell, Fashion ComPassion has been incredibly busy over the last 6 months. We hope that the next 6 months are equally exciting and busy!
In less than 3 weeks we will be saying “goodbye 2012” and “hello 2013”! But before doing that lets take a look back to this year and see what it has brought to our industry. Here is our pick of 2012 key Sustainable Fashion events:
1. Copenhagen Fashion Summit set the international agenda on sustainability and fashion The 2012 Copenhagen Fashion Summit gathered 1043 key industry stakeholders of the fashion industry from 27 different countries to share insights and identify new opportunities and forward-looking solutions for the global fashion industry to tackle the growing environmental challenges. The focus of the summit was to discuss ways on how to involve and engage consumers in sustainable consumption. A framework for engaging consumers in sustainable consumption of fashion was outlined and hander over to the Danish EU Presidency and the European Commission. The framework was also presented at the UN conference - Rio+20 negotiations.
2. Rio + 20 changing the world through fashionAlthough the role of the fashion industry in sustainable development was not mentioned in the final Rio + 20 texts, it was discussed at the Corporate Sustainability Forum by the fashion industry representatives like H&M, Gucci, PPR Group, the Danish Fashion Institute and the United Nations Global Compact. The outcome of the discussions showed that the fashion industry is beginning to take its impacts very seriously and taking necessary steps toward a more sustainable future.
3. First UK’s sustainable fashion lab launched by M&SOne of the initiatives that drew attention this year was M&S first UK’s Sustainable Fashion Lab, launched in partnership with Oxfam and the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion. The Lab brought together designers, stylists and thought leaders to spark a conversation about how the fashion industry can be more sustainable. What made the project particular was that the general public was given a behind-the-scenes look into the world of 21st Century fashion and offered the opportunity to witness the stars of environmentally friendly fashion at work.
4. Greenpeace Detox campaign: more top fashion brands joining the ranksLaunched in July 2011, the Detox campaign has exposed links between textile manufacturing facilities causing toxic water pollution in China, and many of the world's top clothing brands. Following brands have committed this year to detox: M&S, Zara, Mango and Esprit. The campaign is still on as more brands need to respond to the urgency of the situation and take ambitious action to rid the fashion world and our precious water supplies of toxic chemicals.
5. China’s rise in Sustainable fashionAs the manufacturing hub of the world, many of the challenges China faces include managing the great amount of textiles wastes as well as providing sufficient education on how to design sustainably to Chinese fashion designers. To tackle these issues, Redress has created the Eco-chic Awards to challenge Emerging fashion designers and students to create mass-market appeal clothing with low textile waste, via zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction design techniques. With the success of the second edition, we can confidently assert that China has caught the ethical fashion movement’s flame.
6. Sustainable Fashion in the spotlight at the 2012 British Fashion AwardStella McCartney, one of Sustainable Fashion leaders, has been named Designer of the year by the British Fashion Awards. She also received the Designer Brand Award on behalf of her eponymous label. This recognition not only highlights the achievements of the designer in the fashion industry but it also reveals the potential of Sustainable Fashion in becoming mainstream fashion in the near future.
7. Fast fashion is still making victimsWhile we celebrate the progresses of Ethical Fashion this year, we are still confronted to the realities of fast fashion which is continuing to make victims: garment-factory fires killed 300 in Pakistan, 112 in Bangladesh, 14 in Southern China and the list goes on. Business as usual can no longer continue!
What’s in for 2013?
For next year, we anticipate more initiatives from mainstream fashion brands towards sustainability as well as the birth of new sustainable fashion brands. We think 2013 could be “a year for sustainable innovation”!