Austria, DariaDaria and the Clean Clothes Campaign

A guest in Vienna, with DariaDaria and the Clean Clothes Campaign

This week Safia visited Vienna, to speak at the beautiful arthouse cinema GartenbauKino in the heart of the Austrian city.

Safia Minney in Vienna

ENTUZIASM KinobetriebsGmbH have been organizing events  since 2016, on different environmental issues, from Zero Waste to Minimalism, from Water to the Paris Climate Conference.

daria-and-safiaSafia was invited to speak at the screening of The True Cost Movie alongside the local writer Madeleine Alizadeh (dariadaria.com), Sabinna Rachimova and DI Gertrude Klaffenböck, MSc from the Clean Clothes Campaign Austria.

Such a wonderful event, in the entrance hall supporters were showing fair fashion, second hand, and there was a fabulous repair station – and so much enthusiasm and support for #wearfair and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Thank you so much for your hospitality and warmth Vienna.

And thank you too, for all of the support for @safia_minney and @slavetofash on instagram and to www.hotelstadthalle.at for your hospitality too.

Safia Minney and DariaDaria

2018 annual UK TOP100 corporate modern slavery influencers’ index rankings announced

Safia Minney, MBE, has been recognised as the #9 influencer in the inaugural 2018 Annual UK Top100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers’ Index.

Index recognises individuals from all business sectors, third sector, media and academia who are influencers in raising awareness to end modern slavery and labour exploitation.

top100index Safia Minney
The inaugural 2018 Annual UK Top100 Corporate Modern Slavery Influencers’ Index, co-created and co-curated by BRE and Sustain Worldwide, has been conceived to simultaneously raise awareness of modern slavery and labour exploitation while recognising the key influencers who are supporting its eradication. Anti-trafficking charity Hope for Justice is the official charitable partner.
The Index is based on the combination of influence on social media, as measured by Kred scores, and advocacy – policy input, speaking and media engagement – in public life, which is evaluated by desktop research. The two metrics are then aggregated via a proprietary algorithm and evenly weighted to produce the final rankings. An independent panel has verified the Index’s transparency, impartiality and robustness.

The rankings were announced on 26 September by Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE at a Recognition Dinner held at RIBA, Central London.
Safia Minney addressed more than 100 of her fellow influencers and guests at the Recognition Dinner, said:
“I am honoured to be recognised as having influence as part of this movement against modern slavery. We must all stand up for what is just and decent as human beings. For me, it’s been a personal journey of 30 years, and through the generations, as my great grand-mother was a bonded labourer in a sugar plantation. My passion and anger comes from seeing the violence and institutional corruption that silences, exploits, and abuses human beings. Our legal systems are largely dysfunctional in the developing world, where private security forces vastly out-number the police, who are in any case often corrupt. Victims of human trafficking, child labour, and forced and bonded workers rarely have recourse to the law or safe-haven. I’ve dedicated my life to proving Fair Trade and ethical business is economically possible. We all say that slavery is abhorrent, shocking and disgraceful, but we continue to buy products and services that are clearly made by people in slavery. The middle and professional classes are absolutely complicit in this. They can afford to buy and support Fair Trade and ethical brands and help create a level playing field, so these better brands like People Tree and Po-Zu, can thrive and continue to set the agenda for change.
We need to overhaul international trade. We need import controls for companies where there is not credible evidence that their workers and sub-contractors’ workers, are paid the local living wage. People around the world care and have worked tirelessly to build and be part of the Fair Trade and organic movement, but now we need effective policy from the UK and other governments.”

The rankings of the 2018 Top100 influencers can be viewed at www.MSA4Construction.com/Top100Index2018Rankings/

Safia Minney MBE is Founder of People Tree and has been a pioneer in ethical business and a campaigner for corporate accountability and eco-friendly lifestyle for more than 30 years, here and in Japan.  Safia has established Fair Trade supply chain solutions, initiated World Fair Trade Day with the WFTO, and has defined PR and marketing campaigns and the strategic directions needed to reach new markets. At the heart of everything she has done has been a creative force and passion to deliver social impact, human rights and sustainability. Safia is currently managing director of ethical footwear brand, Po-Zu and is author of 9 books, including ‘Slave to Fashion’, which exposes modern slavery in the fashion industry.

Modern Slavery is an ‘umbrella’ term for labour exploitation, forced labour, child labour and human trafficking. In 2017, 5,145 potential victims were referred to Britain’s National Referral Mechanism, a 35 per cent increase on the previous year. The UK Government has estimated there are between 10,000-13,000 people held in modern slavery in Britain today. The Global Slavery Index has estimated there are 45.8million people across 167 countries in modern day slavery.

Po-Zu will be running a 25% website wide sales promotion of slavery-free, ethically produced sustainable footwear to celebrate, use code GLOBAL25 

Safia says: “So honoured, thank you #sustainworldwide, lovely to be in a room amongst such an inspiring community, with great friends Livia (@liviafirth) and Lucy (@theseagull). Please join me to take a stand and only buy slavery free products.”

 

 

Sustainable Fashion Night, Shoreditch

Safia Minney speaking at the Sustainable Fashion night 17 July 2018, Shoreditch, London

Future Planet

Organised by

Safia Minney joins panel of evolutionaries (more to be announced soon):

Orsola de Castro, Founder & Creative Director Fashion Revolution

Safia Minney, Managing Director Po-Zu, Founder, People Tree
,  @slavetofash, @po_zu

David Greenfield, Organiser, Circular Economy Club London

Roberta Lee, Stylist, Founder Ethical Brand Directory

Book your ticket👉

Tue 17 July 2018
18:00 – 21:00 BST

Add to Calendar

Mindspace Shoreditch
9 Appold Street
London
EC2A 2AP

View Map

Its a hugely exciting time to be in fashion, a movement for positive change is well underway. Pioneered by some a growing group of leaders and evolutionaries. Themes such as transparency, collaboration and circular economy are grasping the narrative. In this event, we will bring together some of those pioneers to share their stories.

Innovation pitches * powered by Impact Investment Network

Some of the most exciting innovative brands and solutions will present their solutions.

Have something you want to share?

Please tweet @carlinnovates if you would like to share it with the community.

Context

Following the fantastic Fashion Revolution week, the launch of the transparency index, the recent Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2017, and the launch of Global Fashion Agenda 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment. FuturePlanet will curate an event to showcase and champion leading influencers, changemakers and brands with stories of sustainable innovation and social change.

We aim to Inspire

We will explore and adventure through the innovations and people that are shaping the future of fashion. The challenges and solutions, the products or campaigns that are ongoing or being launched.

Empower

Helping you discover sustainable brands, products, practices and lifestyles you can fall in love with. Empowering you to share with your friends and families.

And connect you

With a diverse network of like-minded people, who share the same interests and passions.

———————————————————————————————————————

Program

18:00 – 19:00 – Guest arrival, networking, drinks
19:00 – 19:05 – Welcome!
19:05 – 19:15 – FuturePlanet – Introduction
19:15 – 20:10 – Panel with leading influencers, innovators and changemakers
20:20 – 20:40 – Innovation Pitches, powered by Impact Investment Network
20:40 – 21:00 – Questions + audience shout-outs
21:00 – 22:00 – Networking till close.

———————————————————————————————————————

Tickets

All fees collected, after cleaning and venue costs, go entirely to FuturePlanet mission to support people and organisations that.

Plant the life-giving systems of our planet, from trees to coral.

Protect, our environment, the land, ocean and all living creatures.

Promote, a balanced personal and planet-positive lifestyle.

We super appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you there!

World Fair Trade Day 2018 and Modern Slavery

Is this you?
Do you LOVE Fashion? HATE Sweatshops?

1) READ: Slave to Fashion

Safia Minney with Slave to FashionSafia Minney’s book raises awareness of modern slavery in the fashion industry, shows how it can be eradicated by business & consumers.
Available here from publisher New Internationalist
or on Amazon UK/US.

2) CELEBRATE: World Fair Trade Day – 12th May 2018

World Fair Trade Day, launched in 2001, has become the focal point for the Fair Trade movement to celebrate, in myriad culturally diverse ways, its achievements and to promote its aims.
Safia Minney Fair Trade Day Love Fashion Hate SweatshopsSafia says: “As consumers, we have the power to take a stand against our dysfunctional capitalist system, to make purchasing choices that reflect who we are and how we want the world to be. Things have moved on since the early days of the Fair Trade movement and pioneers such as the Body Shop.

I was swept up in the first wave of ethical consumerism and activism on that inauspicious day over 30 years ago, in Oxfam on Oxford Street, where I stumbled across a book on Third World Poverty and the need for Fair Trade.

Today, we can all be part of the second wave, which is being driven by social media and digital innovation, to ensure transparency in supply chains and demand an end to modern slavery and worker exploitation. There is also
an important place for protests and writing to MPs and brands.

My book ‘Slave to Fashion’ provides many of the tools you need to make a difference, while also highlighting some innovative projects that you can support and learn from as you continue on your own ethical journey.”

Follow @wfto_fairtrade for more on #FairTradeDay and how you can TAKE ACTION TOO!
#LiveFair read more here: https://wfto.com/events/world-fair-trade-day-2018-0

#LoveFashionHateSweatshops
#SlaveToFash #SlaveToFashion
#ModernSlavery #SafiaMinney
Photo credit @WarOnWant

Read more about ‘Fair Trade’ here on Safia’s blog

Slave to Fashion Book Design, Matt Morgan, @Fact_Studio

 

fair rubber logo

Find out more about the Fair Rubber Po-Zu use in their Sri Lankan produced sneakers.

click here https://www.fairrubber.org/english/

and here: Po-Zu Fair Rubber sneakers

Fair Rubber sneakers

Safia Minney, speaking engagements, April to July 2018

Safia Minney, MBE, author, activist, MD of Po-Zu & founder of People Tree, will be speaking at the following events:

1) Monday 23 April 2018 – Fashion for Good in Amsterdam

ReMake-Nexus-Amsterdam-201819:00 – 20:00 – Panel with Ethical Fashion Trailblazers – Safia Minney (Founder, People Tree), Antoinette Klatzky (Executive Director, Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute); Ruby Veridiano (Paris Ambassador, Remake)

The panel will be focused on how a variety of stakeholders can interact with one another to move the industry forward, highlighting the important we are each doing in our roles.

Please use this RSVP link to book your ticket.

Fashion for Good
102 Rokin
1012 KZ Amsterdam
Netherlands

London Sustainable Fashion Rooms_poster-digital_po-zu LOGOS

2) Tuesday 24th April – London Sustainable Fashion Rooms, The Truman Brewery

18:30 – 19:30 Rana Plaza – Never Again – 5 Years On, £7 Register here.

Panel: Safia Minney MBE
Baroness Lola Young – OBE, Actress, Author and Crossbench Peer
Sarah Ditty – Fashion Revolution
Tamsin Lejeune – Common Objective and Founder of the Ethical Fashion Forum
Dolly Jones – Journalist
Sam Maher – Clean Clothes Campaign
Mariusz Stochaj – Earth Positive

Also at the venue – POP-UP SHOP AND SAMPLE SALE: 11:00-20:00

Shop 4 The Old Truman Brewery
Dray Walk
London
E1 6QL

3) Thursday 26th April – London Sustainable Fashion Rooms, The Truman Brewery

18:30-19:30 Sustainable Design, Sourcing and Buying, £7 Register here

Panel: Safia Minney – MBE
Sven Segal – Founder of Po-Zu
Nina Marenzi – The Sustainable Angle
Tamsin Lejeune – Common Objective & Founder of the Ethical Fashion Forum
Bronwyn Lowenthal – founder of Lowie

Also at the venue all week, POP-UP SHOP AND SAMPLE SALE: 11:00-20:00

4) Saturday 28th April – London Sustainable Fashion Rooms, The Truman Brewery

11:00-12:00 The New Frontier – Broadening the Media Debate on Ethical Fashion and The Vegan Revolution, £7 Register here.

Panel: Safia Minney – MBE
Kate Arnell – British television presenter/Eco Blogger
Bel Jacobs – Fashion, Style, Beauty & Culture, previously Style Editor for Metro
Tansy Hoskins – author of Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion, political commentator on the BBC, Sky News, Al Jazeera and Channel 4’s Ten O’Clock Live
Zoe Partridge – founder of Wear the Walk
Lara Balsam – Lara runs a London-based vegan charity, and blogs at myfairladle.co.uk, where she serves up big helpings of ethical food and fashion

Also at the venue all week, POP-UP SHOP AND SAMPLE SALE: 11:00-20:00*

5) Sunday 20th May – BAFTS – {British Association of Fair Trade Shops} Annual conference

BAFTS conference 2018Speakers: Safia Minney MBE
Sian Conway of Ethical Hour
Sabita Banerji Chair of Oxford Fair Trade Coalition
Emilie Schultze Traidcraft Exchange
Jo Bega CEO Child Rescue Nepal
Josh Pitts from Equal Exchange UK

Book tickets here

Westbourne Grove Church
London
W11 2RW

6) Tokyo June 9-10th – NELIS {Next Leaders’ Initiative for Sustainability}

NELIS JapanSafia will be speaking at NELIS {Next Leaders’ Initiative for Sustainability} in Japan.

Tokyo June 9-10th, 2018 – for more information, please email: info@nelis2020.net

Make sure to follow Safia on twitter and instagram – as we shall be sharing more there too

7)  July 28, 2018 | New York City

freetheslaves

Safia Minney will be Keynote Speaker at the FREE THE SLAVES, Fashion for Freedom event, July 28, 2018 | 6:00 to 10:00pm
The Mezzanine NYC | 55 Broadway​, New York, NY 10006

Pop-up shop and speakers.

Tickets and information here: http://www.ftsfashionforfreedom.com/tickets.html

*[London Sustainable Fashion Rooms – EVENT: Monday 23 – Sunday 29 April, The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, E1 6QL From niche to norm: Ethical fashion and footwear takes centre-stage during Fashion Revolution Week in this week-long community hub and pop-up boutique curated by Po-Zu.]

Books in my DNA? Safia Minney, Author

Safia writes:

Books in my DNA? Yes, books kind of run in my blood. My Grandparents ran a book publishing house and book shop in Zurich. They published political books, papers and religious books. My Mother and her sisters studied librarianship. Before the days of computers they were expected to have read every book in the shop and were expected to make recommendations to customers from memory.

I remember as a child spending hours in my Gran’s book shop cellar where specialist titles and stock was kept. Of course, I couldn’t read German so many of the books were closed to me, but there were a few children’s illustrated books which I loved and lots of different sized German/ English dictionaries to dip into.  Books were wrapped with gorgeous wrapping paper as presents and brown paper and string for your own use – there were no plastic bags in sight.

I became, like many happy kids, an avid reader at seven, but then my dad died suddenly of stomach cancer, and the shock burst my childhood bubble.  I was the eldest and I felt I had to help my Mum. I stopped reading and fell behind at school. I started to dream about going out to work and earn money, so I could look after my family. I left school at 17 and oddly started as a production assistant at a publishing company working on a magazine.  I loved co-ordinating the artwork for ads, and learning how a magazine is put together. I wanted to understand how it worked as a business so I studied advertising, communications and PR in the evenings and tried different business ideas to test my skills, renting a desk in a nearby office and starting a gorilla gram company in my lunch hour and around work. I became a pretty good marketeer and associate publisher, but I still didn’t have the confidence to write.

I began to write when I started People Tree in Japan. I would research human rights and environmental issues and write articles in English, and then check the nuance of translations in Japanese with the help of patient friends and colleagues reading in Japanese to me. Having a baby helped me get over two decades of ‘writer’s block’.  With as little as 30 minutes to myself between my son, Jerome’s naps, I just had to stop over-thinking and  ‘get it down’.

My first books, By Hand, Naked Fashion, etc, started as a huge wall-paper like flat-plan taking up half my sitting room, I would take photographs with my friend Miki Alcalde in countries like Bangladesh, Kenya, India.  I would interview people as I travelled at our Fair Trade producers and started doing investigative journalism to find out the true cost of fast fashion. Once I had decided on the structure of the book, I would write page by page, racing rather, as I had two companies to run, as well as my family. My first book, was sari covered and hand typeset by Professor Lal in Kolkata, India and told the stories of Fair Trade activists and artisans, then came By Hand, Naked Fashion, Slow Fashion and Slave to Fashion and an autobiography in between – some in Japanese and all in English.  Even my son wrote a book called; Fair Trade for kids based on his experience of kids working in Indonesia.

Reading List

  1. SLOW FASHION – AESTHETICS MEETS ETHICS – Buy it here
  2. NAKED FASHION – THE NEW SUSTAINABLE FASHION REVOLUTION  –Buy it here
  3. BY HAND – THE FAIR TRADE FASHION AGENDA – Buy it here
  4. SLAVE to FASHION – Buy it here

MaineEthics insta-slow-fashion-book

I always say that I will NEVER write another book or take on another book project. But you never know…some stories are just bursting to be told…

 

A post shared by Safia Minney (@slavetofash) on

safia minney slave to fashion world book day

Shining a light on modern slavery in the fashion industry – follow Slave to Fashion on instagram, share our book to raise awareness –  – question fashion supply chain practices, talk about this at school, at work…on social media #SlaveToFash and not just on World Book Day…

‘Fair Trade’ added to Encyclopedia Britannica

Safia Minney writes: Great to see the new entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica for Fair Trade after over 30 years of what many would argue is the most significant grassroots movement for social justice and sustainability of our time.

Britannica Fair Trade
PLEASE CLICK IMAGE TO RETWEET

It has also led to the development of the MDGs (Millennium Development goals) and SDGs (Sustainable development goals) and other new bodies of thinking on New Economics, and standards for ethical business, and a ground swell for ethical consumption, etc. Fair Trade was seen in the 70s as a solution to poverty at a time when people were becoming increasingly disillusioned with ‘charity’, people were calling for ‘Trade not Aid’, (charity being seen as often ineffective, unsustainable, paternalistic and often hampering local economic development initiatives). Fair Trade began to be seen as a way of bringing long-term support through a partnering approach to trade whilst promoting better livelihoods, prices, gender equality, environmental sustainability, local initiatives and self-determination to empower people and create healthy economies. (I’ve seen it close up – it really does reach the parts other trade cannot reach.)Safia Minney Fair Trade
Fair Trade started linking small scale producer groups, but today the principles of Fair Trade now coming to large scale factories and farming practice, which is good on the whole. (Although, I would always prefer earning a living working on a handloom in a village rather than in a large factory).

I very much hope that the Sri Lanka ethical line that we have just developed at Po-Zu will create waves. Not just because they are beautiful sneakers, but also because as Po-Zu orders grow, we will be able to further widen our collections by bringing new natural materials to the factory and work more closely with the community and support the workers in ways that will make the most difference to them.

This is your chance to become a shareholder in Po-Zu, to earn some lovely rewards, like a pair of our first Sri Lanka shoes, and benefit from the growing interest in ethical fashion. Trend forecasters agree that ethical footwear is the next big thing – and this is the chance that doesn’t come along often. We hope that you’ll join our remarkable, committed and talented team at Po-Zu.

(Safia Minney received an MBE for her services to Fair Trade and Fashion in 2009. She is founder and built People Tree as Global CEO for 24 years. She is now Managing Director at Po-Zu. Watch this space).

Read the listing www.britannica.com/topic/fair-trade

Safia Minney available for speaking engagements worldwide and also for consultancy work. Please contact: info@safia-minney.com

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.

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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.