Ethical fashion leader and Founder of People Tree, Safia Minney joins sustainable footwear brand Po-Zu

Safia Minney, MBE joins Po-Zu, the award winning ethical footwear brand as Managing Director, to work alongside the Founder and CEO, Sven Segal.

Safia Minney: “I’m excited to be joining Sven and Po-Zu.  I have always been intrigued about ethical shoes. It’s great to bring my expertise and creativity to build positive change in the footwear industry. The more powerful, strong and innovative brands we have in this sector the better; we need more collaboration and sharing of knowledge as ethics in the fashion business are becoming a non- negotiable.  Po-Zu design aesthetic and values is a compelling proposition to customers world-wide.”

Sven Segal: “Safia is a rare individual within our industry and a prominent force for good; I’m absolutely thrilled about having her on board and working together. It feels a bit like being a lucky scriptwriter, working with one of your all-time favorite directors”.

Po-Zu is launching a co-branded STAR WARS™ / PO-ZU collection, which includes high quality replicas of footwear worn in the films by some of the key characters. The collection has been developed by Po-Zu and will be manufactured according to Po-Zu’s renowned ethical and sustainable practices in Portugal.  The co-branded range will be available to the public from August 2017.

For more information and interviews please contact:  press@po-zu.com

 

 

 

‘Slave to Fashion’ book and campaign Funding Success!

Over 500 people like you helped raise over £36,000 to fund ‘Slave to Fashion’ a new book & campaign on Modern Day Slavery in the fashion industry.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/947623622/slave-to-fashion

Many of the largest supporters gathered together to celebrate the funding success.

Dame Zandra Rhodes, the iconic British fashion designer and Safia Minney have worked together for 4 years on capsule collections and media to promote Fair Trade and ethical fashion.

Zandra kindly hosted the evening at her fabulous penthouse in Bermondsey above her Textile and Design Museum.

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The party was supported with delicious organic catering from The Duke of Cambridge and Berrywhite drinks company – 25 guests discussed how to mainstream awareness on Modern Day Slavery and the new project, offering support beyond funding too.  There was an incredible energy in the room – a great networking event for all.

Many thanks to you for supporting ‘Slave to Fashion’!

 

 

‘Slave to Fashion’ Book & Campaign Succeeds its Kickstarter Fund Raising

What does modern slavery look like in fashion? And what can we do to eradicate it? Our ‘Slave to Fashion’ project will show how.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/947623622/slave-to-fashion

‘Slave To Fashion’ book and campaign aims to raise awareness of modern slavery in the fashion industry and show how it can be eradicated by business and us as consumers. The project is led by Safia Minney, MBE – an award winning and internationally recognised social entrepreneur who has 30 years of publishing, media and ethical business experience.

Safia and her team will research and produce micro documentaries and interviews featuring stories of men, women and children caught in slavery in Europe and the developing world who make the clothes we buy on the high street. ‘Slave To Fashion’ will also profile the best ethical practice of brands and designers within the fashion industry. The book will prove that fashion can be used to empower workers – whilst creating beautiful, competitive and accessible fashion. Along with the publishing of the book, ‘Slave To Fashion’ will launch an educational micro website for schools around the world and create and distribute resources for campaigners.

From 2015, the Modern Slavery Act requires medium to large-sized companies to report on what they are doing to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains. If not, they need to declare it.

‘Slave to Fashion’ book and campaign brings in the facts, stories and actions we must take to eradicate modern slavery.

The funding will be used to research, visit and conduct interviews, write, photograph and produce micro documentaries in the UK, Europe and the developing world. We aim to publish 10,000 copies of the ‘Slave To Fashion’ book. The cost breakdown is presented below:

Safia Minney, MBE – Author & Project Director
Safia Minney has 30 years of publishing and media experience. She is an award winning international social entrepreneur, author of ‘Naked Fashion’ and ‘Slow Fashion’, and founder and director of People Tree.

Miki Alcalde – Photographer & Filmmaker
Miki Alcalde has been working as a photographer and videographer alongside Safia Minney for the past 8 years, in more than 20 assignments documenting People Tree’s producers in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya and Bolivia, as well as documenting press trips of Emma Watson, Liz Jones, Jo Wood and Laura Bailey.

Matt Morgan Graphic Designer & Communications Strategist
Matt Morgan set up Fact Studio, a graphic design and branding agency, to champion the power of effective design and communication as a catalyst for change and social good.

Wendy Chapman – Editorial & Project Coordinator
Wendy Chapman has been a Production Manager for over 20 years, working with creatives on successful charity campaigns, including RNIB and British Heart Foundation. She and Safia go back 30 years and recently re-joined forces with ‘Slow Fashion – Aesthetics meets Ethics’ on editorial and production.

Walton Li – Fundraising Coordinator
Walton Li is a start-up specialist and environmentalist whose experience spans across green tech start-up, biofuel energy, conversation and volunteering.

Slow Fashion – Aesthetics Meets Ethics – The Book Launch

Pioneers for sustainability, champagne cocktails and creative giants from the fashion industry – the book launch for Safia Minney’s latest publication, Slow Fashion – Aesthetics Meets Ethics, had it all.

Watch the video below for the highlights and if you feel inspired, we’d love it if you fancy sharing your own thoughts on the book and the slow fashion movement with Safia Minney on Twitter.

What people are saying about ‘Slow Fashion – Aesthetics meets Ethics’

What people are saying about ‘Slow Fashion – Aesthetics meets Ethics’ at the Book Launch in the Duke of Cambridge, Slow Food Mecca of London

23rd March 2016

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80 people gathered at The Duke of Cambridge, the slow food mecca of London to launch ‘Slow Fashion – Aesthetics meets Ethics’, written and creative directed by Safia Minney, MBE, Founder and Director of pioneer ethical fashion brand People Tree.

Published by New Internationalist, Slow Fashion profiles the designers, labels and eco-concept stores across the globe that are taking the lead in providing consumers with a more sustainable alternative to fast fashion. Working with high profile operators in the industry, Safia’s latest book is an incredinbly important part of the huge movement that is sustainable and ethical fashion

The audience of journalists, fashion bloggers, campaigners and contributors sipped on organic Prosecco cocktails whilst Caryn Franklin asked the author questions about the book.

Other speakers included Lucy Siegle, journalist and social justice advocate, who MC’d the event; Mike Gidney, CEO Fairtrade Foundation; John Hillary, Director of War on Want; Jean Lambert, MEP for The Green Party; Romy Fraser OBE, Founder of Neal’s Yard Remedies; Lord Peter Melchett, Director of the Soil Association and Orsola De Castro, Co-Founder of Fashion Revolution.

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Slow Fashion reflects Safia’s expertise, intimate and intuitive knowledge of supply chains and her supplies through Fair Trade and her 25 year history of campaigning for ethical business. Slow Fashion brings you the future of the fashion industry. We’ve got something out there: the next tool to get this message out there. We need to get this book out there. We have to fight to get this book on the playing field. Safia, you always have an answer. You are an unstoppable force. I hope we can all pay Safia back by getting this book out there.

Lucy Siegle
Journalist and Social Justice Advocate

Safia brings a radical compassion and a humanitarian approach to everything she does. I’ve had the privilege to work with her for 15 years. She has a remarkably clear eye and focus on turning a mission into ethical business with such dedication. Slow Fashion, her new book, is partly manifesto and partly how to – it’s a must read for all!

 

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Mike Gidney
CEO Fairtrade Foundation

Slow Fashion is definitely a great read and watch, there are films to inspire us, and help us to act. At a political level public pressure is helping to create policy and enforce standard in the garment supply chain – we need to keep up that energy.

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Jean Lambert
MEP

I really recommend reading Slow Fashion. Safia has been fearless in shining the spotlight on what is unacceptable business practice in the fashion industry. She holds up a mirror to unfair trade and shows us that fashion can be fair, ethical and equitable. Few people are able to go the extra mile and put their principals out there like Safia can and Slow Fashion is a testament to that. Slow Fashion is such a rich book, like a delicious plate of slow food!

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John Hilary
Director, War on Want

I am delighted to be here. What an amazing book…

Safia’s understands that cotton comes from the people on farms… The people who started it. It takes horrendous tragedies to get people to pay attention to what happens to the people supplying our clothes. Thousands of people die each year on non-organic cotton farms… the death and illness and destruction that non-organic chemical causes particularly in developing countries.

When I first got involved in the Soil Association, Safia gave me a sense of determination that we are going to change things for the better. It’s a wonderful book.

Peter Melchett
Policy Director, Soil Association

It’s an honor for me to be here. I do feel that I am with friends and have been friends with Safia for 25 years. This is just another exciting episode of Safia’s life – particularly from a retailer’s point of view. As a retailer, you are the interface with the customer. It’s about trust. With Safia, I trust that she knows what she’s doing. She knows the people at the beginning of that chain. We don’t usually know where these products come from – we don’t know the stories. But Safia unravels what’s behind each of those products we buy on a whim. When you featured retailers, that was really exciting to me. There are other retailers there who care.

Romy Fraser
Founder Neal’s Yard Remedies & Trill Farm

Safia and I have both been called pioneers and it seemed so lonely for so long… But tonight we are all here together. The difference between slow fashion and fast fashion is like a one-night stand and a relationship… We want to know the person, who they are, who made them, their taste in things and where they want to go. You want to build on something. Asking the question ‘Who made my clothes?’ call allow you to follow the thread of your jumper back to the person who has woven the cotton. I hope that in the future, we will re-own the [fashion] industry. The supply chain, the fashion industry, can really ignite solutions.

Orsola De Castro
Co-Founder Fashion Revolution

 

Slow Fashion is available to purchase from local bookshops, Amazon and direct from New Internationalist.

Caryn Franklin interviews Safia Minney about her latest book: Slow Fashion – Aesthetics meets Ethics

23rd March 2016

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Caryn: Good evening everyone and lovely to see you. I’m going to be really teasing out information from Safia about her book that you will hopefully all take home with you tonight. It’s a fantastic book because it is packed with knowledge and words from people who have done a small part of the journey with Safia and for helping to bring those voices and an alternative belief system and that’s crucially important because we need a system to believe in or a logistic to engage with in order to shift and in order to change and Safia is doing all of that work and we just have to agree with it!

So just tell us a little bit about the book…

Safia: There has been a staggering shift in the awareness – in civil society in industry, in policy and in the media after the horrific tragedy of the collapse of Rana Plaza. I wanted to really capture this new chapter which has been full of incredible campaigns like Fashion Revolution, ethical brands and stores that have really put pressure on the industry and policy makers to change. Also, as I was developing the European market for People Tree (now celebrating our 25th anniversary since I started the company in Japan). The retail growth of eco concept stores worldwide is amazing. They sell Fair Trade, sustainable and ethical fashion and look completely different to how they looked 10 years ago. Travelling around Germany, Scandinavia, Japan, it’s incredible to see the prolification of ethical brands has led to better quality stores – alongside ethical and vintage fashion, they sell ethical lifestyle products, local art, they have organic cafes and run talks about well-being and social issues. I think the whole fashion industry is changing and we have some of those key people here tonight who have helped shaped that change.

I’m hoping you can download the QR code reader app onto your phone and watch the films. You can actually go into the stores, look around and see the products and meet the people who run them. These people have done a remarkable job of creating stores which are really engaging. And we need more stores like this, so I’m really hoping that we can promote the eco-concept stores near us. Because this is the future of fashion, telling the story of fashion – the story of the producer and the products.

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Caryn: Tell us a little about why you think it’s taking much longer for the fashion industry to embrace slow produce – we’re in one of many organic, slow food pubs in London but why is slow fashion taking longer?

Safia: Clearly fashion product has a shorter product life cycle – a maximum 6 months often to design a product and get it to market – it makes it very expensive in terms of supply chain development – all of the transparency needs to be done and truly sustainable and fair – this takes time to check properly. We’ve come to a place where we have fair trade and ethical systems and standards for cotton like organic cottons and Fair Trade standards for clothing manufacture. There’s a lot of initiatives that show how to improve the supply chain, worker’s rights and environmental protection, compared to 5 to 10 years ago, I don’t think that fashion companies now have any excuse to not engage with delivering sustainability and worker’s rights behind the products they make and retail.

Caryn: How can we now get over the worthiness of Fair Trade issues not having the edgy approach or coolness that people are looking for when it comes to fashion – how can we weave this in that its uncool not to link the worker with the product?

Safia: There’s beautiful, quality products and really desirable fashion that you will buy because you love the product. Clearly ethical fashion is competing on an un-level playing field and there is no real environmental or social cost factored into conventional fashion prices.

That is a genuine challenge for ethical brands as we spend money on developing supply chains, paying fair prices and better environmental practice, results in less money available to spend on marketing. Caryn, how do you think ethical fashion companies can get more for their tiny marketing budgets?

Caryn: What I do know from the work that I’ve done in promotional work with sustainable fashion is that if we can reach these individuals and get them to make a personal decision and unite them. What happens is that people get stuck in a system and they feel disempowered which is why an alternative belief system is crucial. Everyone wants to make a contribution to change. Especially if you work in fashion – we need to contribute to what feels good about being human. I’ve seen you do it say ‘come and help, you know you want to.’ We need to incorporate more ambassadors who can do that on your behalf, invite people to switch, to make changes in their lives on a limited budget so that they feel very engaged with slow fashion and what it is they love about fashion itself and the opportunity for change.

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Safia: It might sound strange, but despite being an owner of People Tree, we ought to be buying less fashion. We ought to be buying more second-hand vintage, up-cycled and when we do buy something new, of course it should be Fair Trade and organic! It’s about people being more conscious about what they buy.

Caryn: Do you have a simple point to leave our audience with tonight?

Safia: I just want to tell you about some of the feedback I got from some of the Fair Trade groups I work with from around the world including Nepal, Bangladesh and India about the Slow Fashion Book.

In Bangladesh they said: “If we have better stores selling our clothing and products, we can empower more women, more people with these orders, we can build schools, we can build clean water facilities, we can start micro credit programs”.

From India: “We want to introduce some of your campaigns in Europe here in India – your book is inspiring to us!”

So really there is just so much excitement from the Fair Trade movement about this book. I really hope to create livelihoods and support people to help themselves, my new book will inspire people to start new stores and to continue to campaign for fairer fashion, I hope.

Slow Fashion is available to purchase from local bookshops, Amazon and direct from New Internationalist.

Zandra Rhodes AW16 London Fashion Week Presentation at ICA, London

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This is Zandra’s second season showing her clothing collection in London. A designer better known for her bags and accessories so far in London, Zandra’s clothing designs have always been big with Americans.

“I wanted to bring movement and character to my clothes,” says Zandra of her latest London stage. Her presentation has 16 models swaying and walking around on an island installed in the middle of a well-refreshed, well DJ’d, well-lit hall at The ICA. What I love about Zandra’s presentation is that it reminds me of the theatre of Alexander McQueen’s ‘Savage Beauty’ but in place of mannequins Zandra presents us with real women.

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There is something very real and wonderful about the event. Zandra’s collection, the care with which she has directed every detail of the production, the guests that span her decades working in fashion, the new ethical and eco brigade who know and love our work together at People Tree and the amazing collections she’s designed with us in organic cotton.

Zandra, 75, is such a hard worker, travelling with me around India and Bangladesh, her energy levels are incredible and we share the same love of textiles and craft skills.

What I love about her collection tonight is that I can see her bold prints and graphics echoing some of the gorgeous textiles that we admired together in Bangladesh. There are at least 3 dresses I would love to own.

Safia Minney and Anna Borgeryd in Conversation

Safia interviews Anna Borgeryd, Swedish business woman and author of ‘Integrity’, a revolutionary new eco-novel, at her book launch event in ‘Tibits’, London. Published this month by New Internationalist.
February 2016

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Safia: You are well known in Sweden as an entrepreneur and environmental researcher. Why was it so important to you to express your ideas in a novel aimed at a wide, popular readership?

Anna: I had this calling, this huge need to write the novel, body and spirit and an interest in ecology pushed me to write ‘Integrity’ – some of it is based on personal experience too. The novel was a way to make environmental issues more accessible to people.

Safia: Throughout the novel, you more or less alternate between Vera’s and Peter’s perspective, giving them around the same space. Why were you so keen to do that, given that the starting standpoint for both you and the reader is likely to be much closer to Vera’s?

Anna: They say for a good love story you have to give both people equal space and share their perspectives, thoughts and characters with the reader, otherwise one person becomes simply an object.

Safia: Did you find it difficult to put yourself in Peter’s shoes at the beginning, given his inveterate and unthinking womanizing?

Anna: I wanted the reader to get to know Peter better, at first he is difficult to like as you say, then you see him growing and that the problem her faces come from his difficult upbringing. He is a womanizer at the beginning and then he grows up and shows real strength, strength that Vera lacks, so they complement each other.

Safia: How much of you is there in Vera?

Anna: I guess there’s a lot of Vera in me – she is a strong woman, a feminist and has real integrity.

Safia: Throughout the novel, you return to Vera’s experience with the Kogi indigenous people of the Colombian rainforest. Why is that so important to the message of the book and how does it relate to our predicament in the early 21st century?

Anna: The Kogi indigenous people fascinate me. I found videos of The Kogi Shaman called Mamas. We really need to find solutions and new economic systems that properly value the natural resource base of our earth and protect our environment. This is the message the Kogi people are sending to us – they can see signs of devastation even in their pristine hilltops in Colombia. They are calling to us to wake up and act responsibly.

Safia: You also have a background in film, I sense this in the dramatic opening of the book. The story that would translate well to a TV miniseries or a movie – have you had any interest from film-makers either in Sweden or abroad?
Anna: Yes, I think it will be very soon made into a film or mini-series – I’ll be hearing about it very soon. I’m passionate about films and excited about this next project.

Safia: Tell me how do you address sustainability in your own business Polarbröd? You are fifth generation bread makers – how incredible!

Anna: We have built our own wind turbines and meet much of our energy demands with renewable energy – we are also using more organic ingredients. We are one of the largest bread businesses in Sweden, so we need to lead by example and get the debate going about sustainable ways of producing food.

“A compelling novel – compassionate and empowering.” Vandana Shiva