Interview with Fashion commentator & campaigner, Caryn Franklin

The Ethical Agenda is a blog/ online magazine about ethical business, ethical living and ethical thinking with interviews with people doing amazing things to set the agenda for a sustainable way of being…

Safia opens THE ETHICAL AGENDA with an interview with Fashion commentator & campaigner, Caryn Franklin.

Caryn-Franklin-wears-Po-Zu-shoes-SWHow does fashion have to change to become more humane and ethical? Is it about brands, consumers, government or media taking the initiative?

I have chosen to work with the next generation of young creatives to empower them to challenge old systems and find new answers. There are many amazing educators out there that believe as I do that we can encourage emerging designers, journalists, art directors, PRs, image-makers etc, to channel their own anger and frustration at what we have now, into an authentic force for positive change. We all need passion in our lives and it’s these emotions that drive us to act. What I say to my students is don’t suppress it, express it look at how you can contribute even by bringing about the tiniest shift in another’s attitude. I’m always learning too and I really understand that finding the courage to speak, is a very hard step for some. But when you love an industry you can see its faults too and helping to make our industry better is my mission. I call myself a Disruptive Fashion Lover!

Why have you chosen to focus on body image and psychological well being?

The fashion industry is a powerful taste leadership energy in people’s lives, and with the ability to influence comes with accountability. Fashion must acknowledge that the promotion of unachievable body ideals and lack of appearance diversity is not good for the mental health of girls and women and increasingly boys and men. Studies show that we engage in social comparison to elevate our sense of self but if we feel our body type or appearance is not measuring up to idealized fashion imagery then this affects our perception of ourselves in a negative way.

Caryn-Franklin-with-Safia-Minney-Po-Zu-MD-SWIn short… thin white models should not be the only type of appearance promotion, there are many visions for humanity and many others that deserve visibility too. In seeing them celebrated, we become more visible too. There are incentives for companies to engage with a broader spectrum of appearance. Diverse models can enhance the bond that the consumer will make with the model in the sales appeal and studies show this leads to increased intention to purchase by 300%.

The routine sexualisation of women in imagery is also problematic. This normalizes consumption of femininity as sexually available and objectified. Studies show we de-personalise both men and women who are sexually objectified in imagery. This has very negative effects on gender perception but also very negative outcomes for women who are far more frequently objectified in our media whether it be as a passive and perfected exterior, a coathanger for fashion or a sexualized fembot. Women who internalize these messages for their own femininity, also are more likely to go on to self-objectify. This does huge damage to self- esteem and can lead to depression and self-harm. I’ve been able to work with organisations such as The Women’s Equality Party, The Advertising Standards Authority, Graduate Fashion Week, The Age of No Retirement and many others to help disrupt thinking and belief systems.

3. How do we bring about the reduced rate of consumption?

I think many women and increasingly men, are trapped in a cycle of medicating low self-esteem with quick fix clothing buys. I say this because I link the proliferation of false realities in advertising, (dependent upon the unachievable body ideal and the perfected self) to rising rates of body image dissatisfaction and low self worth. To my mind, we have to address the way the repetition and ubiquity of these images can influence mental health. I studied an MSc in applied psychology, to be able to find the studies to make these claims and I feel very strongly that we must begin to break the hold fashion has on the viewer’s perception of self.

Caryn-Franklin-wears-Po-Zu-shoes-seated-SW

This can be done through realistic casting, diverse appearance ideals in race, size and age, body difference and of course disruption of gender norms. This is something I encourage my students to investigate. Creating a situation where we want to buy better quality and therefore less because we want to celebrate ourselves as individuals rather than clamouring to belong to a short lived trend that keeps on changing, could mean we begin to feel really good about ourselves as authentic beings. And this means choosing clothes to express who we are not who fashion thinks we should be. Studies show that our clothing can effect our cognitions – in other words what we are wearing affects how we feel as well as how we process information. It’s early days but I do feel excited by the things I am learning through psychology research.

4. Can you tell us about projects that you are working on and what impact you are expecting this to have? Is collaboration important?

I have just come out of a very tiring few weeks and I am hopeful that the cultural shift that we are currently observing will have long lasting impact. No one can have missed the debate around sexual assault in the workplace and the accusations about Harvey Weinstein that led to his immediate dismissal. I decided to use this film producer’s behaviour as a reason to re-visit protests I have made over the years, about fashion photographer Terry Richardson – also a predator. I wrote a piece for Refinery29 about my attempts to speak out and stop him from working with young women (this included writing for national press and giving an interview on Channel 4 news back in 2013 as well as continued initiatives through out the years). A few days after the Refinery 29 piece, the Sunday Times quoted me in their feature and in a very short space of time, brands were distancing themselves from him. I’ve made it sound very simple and it hasn’t been…I only started being vocal in 2013 after reading about him but other women and industry voices have been protesting for much longer. I’ve never written so many pieces this last week or given so many interviews. I’ve been glued to my social networking platforms because everyone wanted information and quotes. I’ve just done quite a few back-to-back 18 hour days spent in my PJs because as soon as I got up it started all over again! It’s been a revelation that this time round everything changed when this man had previously seemed untouchable. But that in itself has also been a wonderful education. Keep speaking out don’t let it drop!

5. Can you share with us the one positive phrase/ inspiring words or vision that keeps you motivated and moving the agenda forward?

Psychologist Hamira Riaz recently wrote “I used to keep a lot to myself, expressing opinions brings the risk of being judged. However, such reticence born of fear is the ultimate betrayal of one’s ability to affect change,” This really resonated with me. Perhaps everyone is waiting for some very big powerful initiatives to create change when all the time they could be actively involved by using their voice. I just try and use my voice is all – sometimes it leads to a shift.

6. What are you wearing in these lovely photographs we took of you and why did you choose the Stormtrooper boots? Aren’t they the bad guys? 😉

Love those boots so comfortable and sleek.

I am wearing them with a second hand laser-cut skirt from my local store Kensal Vintage and a wonderful sample garment jacket from Ada Zanditon.

Caryn-Franklin-wears-Po-Zu-SW

I am enjoying what I am wearing because every garment embraces sustainability. It makes me feel nice to think about clothes this way.

2. Which book is a ‘must read’ to help understand the issues in your field?

One of my favourite books recently has been Dorothy Rowe’s Beyond Fear. As a noted psychologist Rowe explains how, when we begin to observe the stories we tell ourselves, we can move beyond the fear we all feel about life, unknown outcomes, death and humiliation. Well you asked!!! I really recommend it she’s a brilliant writer.

To find our more about franklinonfashion.com click here

Follow Caryn on twitter: @caryn_franklin

Follow Caryn on instagram: @franklinonfashion

Caryn wears: Po-Zu.com Stormtrooper boots, chrome-free leather

Safia wears: Po-Zu.com ethical sneakers, organic cotton

Frequently asked questions – Safia Minney

Safia is often asked MANY questions about why she made the decision to make a career working within, and speaking publicly about fair trade and sustainable fashion, and eradicating modern slavery in the fashion industry. Here’s a few of those questions – and Safia’s thoughts in reply.

Safia MinneySafia Minney, Founder of People Tree, Managing Director of Po-Zu sustainable footwear. Author: Naked Fashion, Slow Fashion and Slave to Fashion.

Speaker agent: Gordon Poole Ltd

1) Safia, what made you decide to make a business from selling ethical and sustainable clothing?

I am simply an ethical consumer. I didn’t want my money to be spent with companies that don’t respect the workers that make their products and the environment. I realised that I would have to design products myself to get products that met high standards. That’s how People Tree started –  we had to construct some of the first Fair Trade and organic supply chains in the world for clothing and foods.

Safia-Minney-Cotton-Farmers

2) How difficult/easy was it to find ethical manufacturers/suppliers?

I asked suppliers and Fair Trade groups how important women’s rights and the environment are to them. I would set up a new product with them, and we would work hard to design, sample and market-test it. Through that process I could see how sincere and capable the suppliers were.

It wasn’t difficult to find groups that share the same values, but helping them make good quality products when they needed help in so many ways: training in the design process and product development, in pattern-cutting and quality control management, and help with production and financial planning as well as  building infrastructure, processes and procuring environmentally friendly materials in rural areas which is very very challenging. Also, you have to sustain orders. It’s a long- term partnership that helps achieve great things, not one-off orders.

3) Why do you think that some people have the impression that ethical and sustainable clothing is expensive?

Because fast fashion doesn’t cover the true costs: The social costs and environmental costs. Also, ethical brands haven’t reached the scale to make distribution costs really cheap because they don’t use slave labour to build up their businesses.

I always wanted ethical fashion to be “democratic” and affordable. People connect directly with the makers of what they consume. We started small-scale. That’s not very cost effective, but we always kept the prices at People Tree affordable and in-line with mid-market brands. So there’s no excuse not to be able to afford fair trade fashion.

Why Po-Zu Footwear shoes are perceived as expensive?

Our ethically and sustainably made Po-Zu shoes come at a cost (when compared with non-ethical mainstream brands) which we think is not just reasonable, but totally justifiable.
For those who are not aware of this issue, we highly recommend watching The True Cost movie which highlights the reason why most clothing items are in fact too cheap. And of course, reading my book Slave To Fashion published by New Internationalist.
Further information concerning ethical issues more specifically to the shoe industry can be found at the Better Shoes Foundation website. @BetterShoes_F on twitter –  http://www.bettershoes.org/

Safia Minney Slave to Fashion

4) How do you keep a good relationship with the suppliers to ensure that the quality of the working environment is up to standard?

We have bi-annual reviews that are monitored by The World Fair Trade Organisation. The Soil Association monitor organic standards for cotton and many of the food farmers. We also visit the groups regularly and work together with them to invest in better buildings, ventilation, water waste management systems and the kind of things that make life healthier where products are produced. We go way down the supply chain too to try to make the best job we can at influencing suppliers to do better. We invest in upgrading skills, and market exposure programmes.

5) Why is hand craftsmanship an important element within People Tree?

It provides more jobs and livelihoods in rural areas for women. That’s the point. Women with families need decent work and a chance to earn whilst looking after their children. People Tree hand knitting, hand weaving, hand embroidery and hand printing provides work for two thirds of the people who make for the company, even though it only accounts for one third of the product sales. I love hand craft skills. They revive traditional skills and celebrate the incredible ancient agriculture and textile heritage of our worlds.

6) Why do you think that most UK high street fashion brands do not follow the same ethics as People Tree?

They are beginning to emulate some aspects. Using organic cotton for example is great. Some progressive brands are starting to look at worker rights through their obligations to eradicate modern slavery.

Some are beginning to phase out the worst types of environmental production techniques.

The problem is that laws need to be properly enforced and business CEOs and Directors held accountable.

7) Why do you think that the general public are only starting to become aware of the severity of modern slavery in garment factories in the last 10 or so years?

I think many of us have been aware for years. Campaigning groups, media makers and ethical fashion brands have done a great job of raising awareness and the government has done little to lead in most countries.

A post shared by Safia Minney (@slavetofash) on

The True Cost movie, Fashion Revolution and many books on the issues have helped get people angry and forcing change. So much is changing now. It’s cool to care. The problem is – is it quick enough and can we change things fast enough? We need collaboration on a huge scale and for business, consumers, govts of every nation and campaigning groups to work to reform business, financial and legislative systems as we know them.

8) Do you feel that UK fast fashion brands use sustainable and ethical fashion as a marketing strategy, therefore not taking these major problems seriously?

I think some are trying hard to revamp their out-dated ways of producing clothes and doing business. I’m hoping that they will share best practice more and more through many new initiatives and through the Ethical Trading Initiative and HULT. We have some very serious problems and very little time to solve them.

I wish that we hadn’t spent 10-20 years with what was generally a load of old ‘greenwash’ wasting time in grappling with the key issues: over production, over consumption, waste and prices so low as to result in a throw away culture that undermines workers’ rights, our planet’s resources and ecosystem and in many cases our physiological well-being.

9) Why do you think that some UK high street fast fashion brands do not take modern slavery in garment factories seriously?

They are beginning to now that the UK Modern Slavery Act requires them to declare what they are doing to eradicate slavery if they are a company of £36million turnover of more. Consumers need to be more demanding and not buy from brands that they don’t trust.

10. Prior to publishing your book ‘Slave to Fashion’, you wrote about SLOW Fashion – what drove you to write the ‘Slow Fashion’ book?

We used to say that clothes made by hand in this way weren’t well designed –  now they are. The Aesthetics are good.

And that the shops retailing fair and sustainable fashion were ugly – this is no longer true.

We have many strong ethical brands and gorgeous eco-concept stores around the world. The book “Slow Fashion” features this, with interviews about the key influencers. I used to get so fed up with people using aesthetics as an excuse not to buy responsibly – it really used to make me mad! How can any new product innovation improve without customer support? This is especially unfair when fair fashion competes in the same market with fast fashion often produced by modern slaves.

I wrote “Slow Fashion” because over the last 20 years I have seen cotton grown organically and the care the farmers put in to manage the pests and improve soil fertility and the huge benefits this has to the environment, their incomes and promoting organic foods and health locally and their incomes.

Making fabrics and clothes manually, like hand-weaving fabric, hand embroidery and hand knitting, we create beautiful clothing, in a carbon neutral way, (no energy used except for people-power) and maximise the livelihoods created through this in rural areas. I believe that fashion can be a powerful tool for rural development and help women. We need fashion made like this to become the “fair trade gold label”.

11) What kind of problems do you face when you stock only ethical and sustainable fashion and accessories?

It’s hard work being a 100 percent dedicated ethical fashion company.

You don’t make compromises with workers’ rights or using sustainable materials. In fact you keep setting the bar higher and higher. You try to run faster that the best and set the agenda in your industry. It’s hard, but fun, working with other dedicated change makers – who love design and great products as much as people and our wonderful planet. You have to bring your customers on the journey with you. That’s part of the work that I really enjoy too.

Transcript of interview with Katie Edwards. Summer 2017.

Safia Minney, Founder of People Tree, Managing Director of Po-Zu sustainable footwear. Author: Naked Fashion, Slow Fashion and Slave to Fashion.

To book Safia for public speaking engagements, please contact her agent: Gordon Poole Ltd

Buy the books:
“Slow Fashion” – here in the UK, here in the US
“Slave to Fashion” – here in the UK, here in the US

Follow Safia on twitter twitter.com/safiaminney

and Instagram too.

Jaz O’Hara Founder of The Worldwide Tribe in conversation

Safia Minney chats with Jaz O’Hara, founder of theworldwidetribe.com
A humanitarian organisation supporting refugees.

1. You organisation does amazing work on the ground and raising awareness of refugees – how do you split your time? Which has been the most effect campaign to date? (Jaz, love your videos, which is your favourite and why?)

Splitting my time can be tricky; it’s a lot of juggling. In my opinion, raising awareness is so important so I give a lot of talks about the refugee crisis and my experiences in schools and universities… but then I don’t like to be talking about our work on the ground, more than being on the ground. For this reason I try to also spend as much time as possible in camps, meeting people and understating the needs.

logo_theworldwidetribeIn terms of campaigns, our aim is to reach those not already ‘on side.’ The people who don’t already know much about the refugee crisis or support refugees. The people outside of our echo chamber. We do this by tapping into popular culture. For example, in the summer of 2016, when Pokemon Go was sweeping across the world, we took the game to the refugee camp we were working in in Northern France, the Jungle and made a short film. The film had the tag line:

“If Pokemon can cross borders…why can’t a refugee?”

The intention was to reach people engaged with the game and encourage them to start thinking about the crisis we are in the midst of here in Europe. The film was short and shareable, uplifting and positive. We always aim to inspire with our content and never paint anyone out to be a victim, only a hero.

2. Should we be focussing on the causes that force people to flee their homes as well as their resettling – which are the most effective ways of doing this – how can the public support these initiatives? Are there any important pieces of government regulation that need to change to stabilise the home regions and make it possible for people to stay in their homes?

Absolutely I would say it’s super important to look at the cause of these problems and trace them back to the source. If we could avoid there being any refugees in the first place… that would be the best possible solution.

None of these people want to leave their homes so if there would be any way for them to stay, I would always advocate that, but we are not talking about one issue here, we work with people fleeing the world’s worst atrocities… from a genocide in Sudan, to compulsory military service and a totalitarian regime in Eritrea, to the war in Syria. Stabilising these home regions is no easy task and not one we pretend to know how to tackle

What we do know though, is what we have seen and experienced once people leave. The crazy conditions of the camps. The lack of dignity and respect. Right on our doorstep. This is what we can tackle.
We also focus on awareness and education. I believe that changing mindsets and increasing understanding of the situation both in camps and in the home countries of the people we work with, is a huge catalyst towards positive change.

3. How do you keep positive and keep your energy levels up?

Burn out is very real in this industry. People get so emotionally involved in this work that it’s hard to think about anything else, ever. I am guilty of this. But unless you look after yourself, you are useless to anyone else, and this realisation led me to create more balance in my life.

At first it was hard for me to relax and enjoy myself, knowing what I now know and having seen what I had seen. Christmas 2015 was a struggle as many people that I had made very good friends with were suffering in the freezing cold of the Jungle camp in Calais, whilst I was celebrating with my family. It just didn’t seem right. I felt guilty. But I have since learnt to deal with these emotions much better through taking time for things like meditation and yoga…the things I need to keep me going. These things enable me to keep working and I know that the more effective I am, the more impact my work can have on the ground.

4. What drove you to set up your organisation and how can we help support your work?

An update on CalaisThe Worldwide Tribe was born organically from a Facebook post I wrote about my first visit to the Jungle Camp in Calais. It was a personal, raw and emotional post that went viral and sparked a HUGE response. Very soon after I quit my job in ethical fashion to focus 110% on the humanitarian crisis on our doorstep. I just couldn’t think about anything else..!

There are many ways to support our work. You can donate, volunteer or fundraise, but you can also simply read and share our posts. Educating yourself, growing your own understanding and joining the tribe. This is the most important think really. All the details are on our website www.theworldwidetribe.com.

We update our social media daily too so check out our Facebook: www.facebook.com/theworldwidetribe

Instagram: @theworldwidetribe

5. Why is ethical fashion important to you and whose your style icon?

Ethical Fashion has always been important to me. Before setting up the Worldwide Tribe I worked for an Ethical Underwear brand, producing Fair Trade, organic cotton underwear in India. Working closely alongside cotton farmers in rural India, I spent a lot of time really understanding our supply chain. Those three years working between India and London were very insightful, special and transformational for me and brought me to where I am today. Fashion is a huge, powerful industry with the ability to power incredible change. My style icons are still the ladies working in those cotton fields. The way they wear colour brings me so much happiness that I don’t understand why the world doesn’t look to them for inspiration!

To find our more about theworldwidetribe.com click here

Jaz wears: Po-Zu.com ethical sneakers, organic cotton

WIN a fair trade Tshirt, and Duffle Bag from Slave to Fashion

COMPETITION TIME

Modern Slavery in fashion… How do we eradicate it? We can start by TALKING about it – and here at the ‘Slave To Fashion’ project, led by founder of People Tree and Managing Director of Po-Zu, @Safia_Minney, we want to hear from you.

Slave to Fashion Tshirt and Bag giveawayTag a friend, and tell us in eight words (or more!), why Slavery is wrong – And be in with a chance to win a ‘Slave to  Fashion’ Fair trade Tshirt and Jute Duffle Bag- to assist you in spreading the word further –  you may select from either a black bag, or a magenta bag – see them here:

Freeset Jute bags are manufactured in fair trade conditions. All workers are paid fair wages and have healthy working conditions. And the most important thing of all – each Bag is sewn by the talented Freeset seamstresses and represents another step on their journey to freedom.

Slave to Fashion Tees are made by FairShareFashion.com with Continental Clothing Co. wholesale, a pioneering company, that strives to pay workers a living wage.

All the fabrics are knitted at their in-house facilities, and dyed with GOTS approved chemicals, using low-water and controlled waste discharge processes, certified to OekoTex 100 Class I standard and conforming to REACH.

Organic certified fabrics are dyed in our zero-discharge dyehouse, where all the water is recycled in a closed-loop system.

Prize Draw Terms and Conditions

  1. Follow @slavetofash on instagram
  2. Tag a friend on the instagram post dated 13/07/2017
  3. In eight words or more, tell us why slavery is wrong.
  4. Open to UK entries only.

Pakistan Fashion DNA – mentoring

Pakistan Fashion DNA – mentoring

Safia Minney writes:

It was wonderful working with some of Pakistan’s most creative fashion designers Zuria Dor, Gulabo, Pink Tree, Jeem, Munib Nawaz & Sonya Battla as part of a program to promote ethics and culture by the British Council.

Despite having a rich handcraft and textile heritage, unlike countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan has no Fair Trade movement.  My role in the mentoring program was to work with them to help develop their collections for London Fashion Week using sustainable and Fair Trade practices where possible.

British-Council-PakistanAll the designers are passionate about showcasing the best of Pakistan’s hand skills in their collections and their work is exquisite.  Some of my favourite skills like Zardozi embroidery, using metal wire beads together with hand embroidery, featured strongly in many collections.  Designers were also keen to use hand woven textile at the same time to innovate and use organic cotton and other materials – Munib was incredible at making very eco and avant garde fabrics locally.

One of the issues is that with weak local NGOs and trade unions, Pakistan has little awareness of minimum wages – let alone a debate about Living Wages.  Setting up cost sheets and looking at ways to reflect fair labour costs into design and product development reminded me of designing collections for People Tree with their producers.

The results were strong and some friendships made for life. Have a look at the fashion show presented at London Fashion Week.

Special thanks to other mentors that worked alongside me Sury Bagenal, Carrie Munden and Toby Meadows and Ethical Fashion Forum and the team at The British Council.

Filmed by Safia’s daughter, Natalie Minney.

Useful links: 

Follow us on instagram http://www.instagram.com/SlavetoFash

Follow us on twitter http://www.twitter.com/SlavetoFash

Buy the Slave to Fashion book here in the UK

Safia Minney’s “Slave to Fashion” Book Launch at the Duke of Cambridge

Slave to Fashion Book launch 24 April 2017

Safia writes:

   It’s an historic day to launch a book.  The 4th anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh killing over 1,000 garment factory workers who work under highly exploitative conditions to make the clothes we buy, often for the price of a lunch, on our high streets.

I started the project excited to understand what the impact of the new UK Modern Slavery Act* meant to companies in changing their business practice and delivering fundamental human rights to their workers.  After having spent over two decades visiting factories and setting up ethical and Fair Trade supply chains, I feel a window of change is here. 

Friends and long-time campaigners, were calling me excited that the term ‘modern slavery’ was being used and that finally some progressive business leaders wanted ‘social dialogue’ and a level playing field and to enable them to look at their supply chains for slavery – whether it is ‘risk management’ or a sense of ‘wanting to do the right thing’ this has the potential to change things at the grassroots.  The principles of Fair Trade have never been more relevant. My hope is that the Slave to Fashion book provides a snap shot and promotes awareness on how can industry, campaigners and consumers can help eradicate slavery.

Published by New Internationalist and with the help of over 500 supporters through Kickstarter, what was clear was that a large number of people want to know more about modern-slavery in fashion supply chains.  The research took myself and Miki Alcalde, photographer and film-maker, to India, Cambodia and Bangladesh. I interviewed leaders in the anti-slavery movement, trade unions, progressive businesses and tech start-ups working on transparency.  Also, some of the most moving interviews were with people who themselves are caught up in slavery and lawyers and activists working to free them, rehabilitate them; and on prevention.  What’s clear is that the principles of Fair Trade and better business would radically help to do this.

I am deeply grateful to the supporters of the book, the team and contributors across the world that helped me to research and write Slave to Fashion.

Watch the Slave to Fashion launch event hosted by the Duke of Cambridge, Angel, Islington in London and supported by New Internationalist and Po-Zu ethical shoes.

Safia Minney’s “Slave to Fashion” Book Launch at the Duke of Cambridge.

The inspiration for Slave to Fashion came to me in a dream. The faces and hands of women, children and men reached out to me, calling, smiling, asking for solidarity, not charity, and for me to witness and tell their story. (It was not a nightmare; nightmares leave you trying to forget. In this dream I wanted to remember the feelings and the colours, and to reconnect with the people in it.) They are us and we are them…

Safia Minney, Author, and Managing Director of www.Po-Zu.com

Slave to Fashion book launch

To name a few, special thanks go to:
Caryn Franklin, Livia Firth & the Eco-Age team, Lucy Siegle, Geetie Singh-Watson, Andrew Morgan & The True Cost team, Baroness Lola Young, Cindy Berman, ETI, Quintin Lake, Tamsin Lejeune & Harold Tillman, CBE of Ethical Fashion Forum, Matt Morgan, Fact Studio, Walton Li, Liz Wilkinson, Wendy Chapman & the one-and-only Miki Alcalde for all their support and faith.

Useful links: 

Follow us on instagram http://www.instagram.com/SlavetoFash

Follow us on twitter http://www.twitter.com/SlavetoFash

Buy the Slave to Fashion book here in the UK

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents/enacted  *UK Modern

Slavery ActBook Cover Slave to FASHION

Slave to Fashion Book featured on Fairtrade Foundation blog

What do you know about modern slavery in fashion

Slave to Fashion front cover

by Safia Minney, Founder of People Tree and Managing Director of Po-Zu (ethical footwear company)

Safia launches her new book ‘Slave to Fashion’ during Fashion Revolution Week. The book discusses modern slavery in fashion supply chains and goes through Safia’s journey finding out more behind the fashion industry.

I’m hoping that Slave to Fashion will be a crash course on modern slavery;  why is it still happening in numbers like we have never seen before and what needs to change to stop it. Modern slavery includes; human trafficking, bonded, forced and child labour and excessive overtime.

The inspiration for Slave to Fashion came to me in a dream.

The faces and hands of women, children and men reached out to me, calling, smiling, asking for solidarity, not charity, and for me to witness and tell their stories.  I wanted a big solution to poverty, exploitation and social injustice…

The book covers The Modern Slavery Act, The Global economy, Meet the Slaves (to protect the people I changed their names and masked their faces with a pink ribbon), the Social & Technical Innovations and investigative journalism that is making the difference, and a Toolkit.

The Fair Trade movement has been key to building public awareness, set decent standards for different agricultural commodities and manufacturing for products and terms of trade and has inspired policy makers and the media. The MSA (Modern Slavery Act), passed in 2015, which included supply chains and requires companies with a turnover of £36mn to file a Slavery Report on what they are doing to eradicate slavery in their supply chains, requires sign off of the company board.  There is a lot that needs to happen to make this more effective and give the public access to this information, and make it easy to act upon.

The MSA represents a unique opportunity to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (remember those?!) and the Ruggie Principles (UN Guiding Principles and Human Rights). But what does this mean in reality for the workers?

It is clear that it has the power as companies are forced to get to know their supply chains and maintain information through good transparency, promote social dialogue, design and plan their orders better, to strengthen local legal systems, challenge corruption and strengthen human rights through laws and codes of practice that WORK,  including paying a living wage and respecting independent trade unions.

Researching, interviewing for and writing Slave to Fashion, I spend 6 months meeting women men and children in India, Cambodia and Bangladesh and hearing their stories and interviewed business people and activists working on human rights and slavery issues. Girls who were 12 when they started working at a cotton mill where her friends, other children were bonded labourers, and at 15 felt too exhausted and burnt out to work in a garment factory for 6 days a week; women who were trafficked and ended up in the sex and garment trade. Women who are sexually harassed by their male supervisors and who walk a thin line daily between losing the benefits of a permanent job and ‘giving sexual favours’. The sickening violence of slavery and misused power.

The great news is that there are Fairtrade, social enterprise and tech solutions out there and there are progressive companies too who are pushing the boundaries forward and inviting their peers to work with them to improve practice.

As a Fairtrade leader and entrepreneur, having worked in the so-called developing world with trade unions and economically marginalised people for over 20 years, we know that good trade can make a huge difference to people and prevent communities protect themselves from criminal gangs that broker people.

Slave to Fashion book launch - group photo

Safia Minney launches new book: Slave to Fashion, published by New Internationalist on 24th April 2017.

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’!