Its week 4 of reading our book by Clare Press called "Wear Next: Fashioning the Future". This week we are imagining a world of fashion that is “Fair”.
What does Fair mean to you?
- Fair Pay
- Safe work conditions
- Democratization of wealth
- Fair to the planet
- One specific thing, or all encompassing, such as the 10 Fair Trade Principles as set out by WFTO or is it the B Corp list of qualifying criteria.
Also please note that this weeks meet- up will be 2:30pm Sunday 28th Jan at the 16 Foot Sailing Club in the "Blend" cafe area. No bookings required - Just come if you want to chat about the following questions.
Questions will be based on the key themes and concepts presented in this week’s chapter:
1. “To be conscious about your clothes and remember who made them”. Discuss.
If you want to dig deeper check out the podcast Clare mentions, “Remember Who Made Them”. It is a six part podcast series, digital campaign and fundraiser that aims to help energize a new solidarity economy in fashion.
2. “Whenever the system cracks, the marginalized get the worst of it”. How can we prevent this?
Here are some of my ideas:
- Better international laws – Recognizing a duty of care?
- Recognize the importance of social media and orgs like Fashion Revolution, Remember Who Made Them, Clean Clothes, Fair Trade groups and ethical influencers such as Saphia Minney and of course – Clare Press 😊
- The importance of us being prosumers and keeping up with fashion issues, such as clothing waste and data regarding what are the living wages for the counties we purchase clothes from.
- I am a radical and think that EVERY brand should disclose the pay given to textile workers per hour, the approx. time taken to construct the garment and the cost of fabric. It’s not that hard!!!! Just the marketing to justify the pricing strategy is made harder – and as far as I am concerned – Well, it is more fair that the current status quo.
3. The power of the influencer – good and bad. Hague (cheap fast fashion) v’s Megan (Outland social enterprise jeans). The book highlights that people do follow other people, so would you take on the challenge to show case “Fair”. How can you be an influencer?
Here are some of our ideas:
- In photos you post when wearing a brand worth a shout out, do it!. Help get the good ones out there.
- Know the details of what makes what you wear so special – and talk about it, so others can also know and value it too.
- When you see someone wearing something you recognize as a "Fair" brand, tell them that, “you must be a nice person because I know that item is (what you know) and thank them for being a change maker.”
4. Purpose driven businesses using Outland as an example discuss if you think this can be the norm or the exception?
Dig deeper check out the brand: Outland web page
5. How are people inspired to go on the journey to become a purpose driven business. What is the motivation behind it?
This is what we think:
- Awareness of the issues: The importance of advocacy groups like Destiny Rescue.
- Being confronted by the realities of inequality and exploitation.
- Finding the right people at the ground level.
- Belief in the idea no matter what others say.
6. Non- for profit “charity” - “this idea is baked into us by the west…(but) often it does create a dependency , and that is another form of control” – Burtle owner of Outland. Discuss
I think that nobody wants to feel dependent on a charity. From my experience most people who are marginalized, exploited and struggling want dignity, sustainable employment, autonomy and be in a position to help others. Our instore brand Global Mamas is a great example of an outstanding label, balancing Not For Profit and micro businesses. - Yvie's thought on this question.
7. Discuss what it means to be a Certified B corp organisation – Should all businesses be expected to be one?
“B Corp, or Benefit Corporation, is a type of for-profit business that is also committed to meeting specific social and environmental goals. B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but also on workers, customers, the community, and the environment. This type of business structure is designed to balance profit and purpose.
To become a certified B Corp, a company must undergo a rigorous assessment by the nonprofit organization B Lab. This assessment evaluates the company's performance in areas such as environmental responsibility, employee treatment, community engagement, and transparency. Only businesses that meet the required standards are certified as B Corps.” – quote from B Lab website
Sorry (but not very sorry), but I need to bring up WFTO even if not mentioned in the book 😊.
As for what is "better," it depends on the specific goals and values of a business. If a company is looking to address a broader range of social and environmental issues beyond fair trade, pursuing B Corp certification might be suitable. On the other hand, if the primary focus is on fair trade practices, WFTO certification may be more appropriate. Ultimately, both certifications reflect a commitment to responsible business practices, and the choice may depend on the organization's mission and priorities.
B Corp certification is aimed at the level of an entire business' operations, Fairtrade certification is largely aimed at the individual product level (and subsequent supply chain)
Want to dig deeper and understand more of the ethical & sustainable certifications, it is explained quite well on a blog by the online shop called Shop Like You Give a Damn. Would love your thoughts on this :)
Ps Hope to see some of you on this Sundays Book Club Meet up