Making An Impact From Head to Toe
The fashion industry is always growing — there will never be a time when a consumer won’t want a cute top or a pair of shoes to stand out in the crowd.
With the growing fashion industry comes a growing need for ethical and sustainable ready-to-wear clothing. Taking an extra few seconds to put down the generic shirt you found on the rack and picking up a shirt with a purpose will not only improve your closet, but will empower artisan women to unleash their potential. Ignorance is out, awareness is in. But who said you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Look good, feel good, do good. Here’s your guide to eco-conscious brands that share your vision for a sustainable future:
THE BRAND: UNLEASHED sustainably and ethically produces all organic, carefully embroidered/beaded tops handmade by artisan women in Bareilly, India. Through a job creation program by UNLEASHED, these women are able to become self-reliant and even open up their own bank accounts.
THE FACTS: Unfortunately, exploitative work is a reality. Female workers are subjected to harsh working conditions, earning minimum wage. Large companies power this vicious cycle in an effort to compete in the fast fashion industry, setting a standard of producing a product at the expense of both women and the environment. UNLEASHED is determined to break this cycle and empower talented women who create sustainable pieces of clothing.2
THE FACTS: Studies show that women and girls are taught, implicitly or explicitly, that they are inferior to men. Women are not given the proper encouragement or resources to become just as successful as men in society. Like UNLEASHED, Project Gravitas are focused on inspiring the confidence women need. Through designing comfortable and cute clothing, they aim to reflect the determination and colorful personality every woman has.3
THE FACTS: There are 130 million girls out of school today and 50 million girls, of secondary school age, denied an education. Gender inequality continues to rise as a result of unequal education opportunities. VEERAH understands the importance of empowering women through education. For every 100 customer interviews conducted, VEERAH sponsors a one-year scholarship for a She’s The First scholar.4
THE BRAND: Valdez collaborates with local collectives in Ecuador in order to help craftswomen become experienced artisans. Valdez strives to educate consumers on what they’re wearing in order to strengthen the appreciation for the product and the women who crafted it.
THE FACTS: Many artisan women have no choice but to work in below adequate conditions, earning below minimum wage, and given no personal benefits. A central cause to the detrimental cycle of poverty, the women aren’t able to grow and develop skills needed to unleash their potential. Valdez aims to bring awareness to consumers on the importance of supporting artisans and creating a system that promotes sustainable clothing.5
THE BRAND: FashionKind aims for positive social change through the use of fashion. The fashion industry has so much power and FashionKind’s mission is to use that power to support human rights and protect the environment. This company makes it clear that great fashion doesn’t have to be compromised for ethical production.
THE FACTS: Artisan women are often exploited by the fast fashion industry in order to comply with mass production orders. These poor conditions inhibit women from unleashing their full potential and become trapped in poverty. FashionKind’s goal is to promote awareness of knowing where your clothes are coming from, while supporting the women who craft luxury-style clothing. They want to give positive power to the fashion industry and break the standards that are often unethically attainable.
Contributed by Meghan Pues