People Tree was founded 10 years ago in the UK on a new idea – that people and the planet would always be central to everything we do. People Tree has always believed and proved that fashion can be a tool for Change. Fashion through Fair Trade, can lift people out of poverty, give them a route to sustained employment, earn a living wage, develop their communities and invest in protecting their environment.
Posts Tagged ‘fair trade clothing’
Trevor Leighton photographed 12 celebrities wearing Fair Trade Fashion – (frankly speaking I didn’t recognise one People Tree product there – even though the stylist was sent more than 20 pieces!) Anyway … I love his last campaign where he shot Anita Roddick with a pineapple in her mouth to promote Fair Trade foods.
I was asked to give a short speech after Elizabeth Day from the Guardian who told the audience of 200 - half inebriated on Fair Trade wine - supporters about life in Mali, West Africa for cotton farmers. Fairtrade Foundation have released their report – The Great Cotton Stitch-up which says what we activists have been saying for years that 3 billion dollars a year of US and EU subsidy to cotton farmers, reduces the world price of cotton making West African farmers 10% poorer than they would otherwise be. Fair Trade cotton in Mali has helped more than 90% of cotton farmers go to school when less than 40% usually can. A very well presented report: The Great Cotton Stitch Up – read it online.
Fair Trade Fashion Pioneers.
In my talk I discussed that People Tree and other Fair Trade fashion pioneers had found an alternative to fast fashion – the human and natural world exploitative model of fashion that has spread now to every corner of the world. I told, stage by stage, how differently we work with farmer and artisans and asked the audience to ‘imagine’ a new fashion industry based on those principals. I also introduced other pioneer fairtrade clothing brands: Epona, Pants to Poverty, Gossypium, Pachacuti and Fairly Covered who together with People Tree make up a strong voice to change our fashion industry. We are also demanding that VAT (20% in the UK from January 2011) should be dropped on Fair Trade clothing.
After the event, the ‘Fashion Fair Trade 100’ dinner, we discussed how to change the world through Fair Trade and fashion.
People Tree has always campaigned to raise awareness of the exploitation of garment workers in the developing world but I was deeply shocked to find this happening right under our noses in Leicester. You might want to watch Channel 4’s Dispatches documentary ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secret’ – an excellent piece of journalism, the kind we need more of.
There is a small contribution from me and a bad contribution from my hair! This wasn’t a bad hair day it was a mad hair day! But seriously the key issue is why the trading system is so unfair and why people feel they need to leave their own country and come to the UK to work for less than half the minimum wage. I remember my father telling me he refused to help his cousin in Mauritius (who was an excellent tailor) come to the UK back in the 50’s knowing he would end up worse off. I would very much welcome your comments on whose role is it to make a change; businesses, the government or consumers.
Hashmukh Patel visited us from Agrocel, our organic Fair Trade cotton project in India, to tell 500 people about why it’s important that they buy Fair Trade fashion. A huge thank you to Leni’s models for helping us with the event!
I love hanging out with him, he’s so organic and has the most wonderful feeling about him. He taught me yoga – he naturally sees that businesses have to be sustainable to the farmer, building the farmer up economically through Fair Trade, so that they can go organic. It takes 3-5 years for farmers to go organic and they need to know that they have secure orders as they are so poor they cannot afford to take further risks with their lives and their families livelihoods.
Photos of Emma Watson’s collaboration with People Tree (First showing ever!)
Hashmukh Patel from Agrocel and me
So many things to see including a dance powered disco floor!
And I’ve never seen so many types of garlic!
We were encouraged us to insolate our houses with British wool
A stand highlighting the importance of buying wine with corks rather than screw tops – protecting the livelihoods of cork producers in countries like Portugal.
And remember dry you clothes on a line don’t tumble dry..!
They’ve got great taste, Prince Charles and his team!
I loved the recycled paint pods and wellies with flowery plants and herbs growing out of them. I also appreciated the mixed farming reflected in Charlie’s garden - I see this in the organic cotton fields in Gujarat too - – a row of tomatoes, roses, herbs, huge great leeks and some gorgeous small fruit trees. We are lucky to have such a practical and eco Royal.
Here are some snaps of the garden:
There were lots of other wonderful sights to enjoy too including my sons favourite…
A solar powered bike, complete with sound system! - put together with recycled parts from all kinds of different vehicles.
Wow, this vintage and Fairtrade fortnight went by so fast. Here is a tiny post of the outfits I wore in the second and final week of the challenge.
This is a 1940’s dress which was £30 from my local charity shop, and the boots are hand-me downs from our ex mail-order manager Fran. Never be too shy to accept lovely gifts from your colleagues!
I’m wearing a Kashmiri hand embroidered Fair Trade skirt with a t-shirt that a total stranger gave me, which is a bit cheeky! And a handbag I bought second hand for £5 from my local charity shop and boots from the same place for £15.
This is my tyrannosaurus rex pose. I’m wearing a Fair Trade hand-woven Richard Nicoll shirt with a pair of jeans bought for £10 from my local charity shop.
1980s top that was second hand when I bought it, and simple hand-woven black trousers – Fair Trade of course! I realised today – I look crap in black!
This is one of my favourite Fair Trade dresses from People Tree Japan, designed by Chisato Tsumori – hand block printed and hand embroidered – so easy to wear. Worn with vintage inspired ring from the People Tree new Autumn/Winter collection
This is how I ended our Vintage and Fairtrade fortnight. At the weekend I had a lovely rummage around in car-boot sales and charity shops. Here are some of the things I found!
A pack of cards stored in a little book
OMG! I love this gramophone.
If you have to buy one – buy a second-hand one.
“Totally Fair Trade!
Everyone loves check – I like this red and navy blue check in hand woven silk. I’m wearing it with an organic cotton T-shirt – both from People Tree.
This leather satchel is vintage and Fair Trade made by Afghan refugees about 10 years ago from People Tree Japan.”
“Vintage or Fair Trade?
I designed this from a prom dress out of a hand woven Fair Trade black sari inspired by vintage. So, I guess it’s both. Worn with united nude shoes, kind of 40’s. I love it!”
Well done, Wayne Hemingway and team for pulling off the most exciting innovative event of the year! A three day festival of music, fashion and film – attended by the most stylish festival goers you’ve ever met. (Check out my blog tomorrow for style highlights!).
Such incredible content! – The curators did an amazing job of creating something with such authenticity and really inspiring three generations of fashion, music and culture lovers. The only risk for Vintage Goodwood if they do it next year is that too many people might come and spoil it!
Glamping or Camping?
Actually I was camping – as I didn’t have the budget for a gypsy caravan or yurt at £2000 for the weekend. Even in the rain in our camp site were things unfamiliar to festival camping – people pushing mini rails of outfits over the wet grass, pockets inside tent walls bulging with makeup and people don’t quit a 50s crinoline dress even if they need to get around in wellies.
Friday – Rained pretty much on and off all day – I spent the day doing location hunting as co-founder Wayne Hemingway had welcomed me shooting for the High-Summer People Tree catalogue here at Vintage Goodwood. Learning how to camp again after 20 years of not stepping into a tent. This time I was with family and friends. Disaster – Natalie my 14 year old daughter left the top off her two man tent ‘for some fresh air’ and it rains in – results is three teenagers MORE in our four man tent – a cosy start to a photo shoot the next day!
Saturday – The team arrive early and we prepare for rain ALL DAY. But somehow the unimaginable happens and between monsoon style down pours the sun comes out! We try to keep everyone dry – which is easy as everyone is so lovely and friendly at Vintage – and we seem to be surrounded by People Tree customers.
Things I missed: The make your own bikini out of bunting and a dozen other workshops as well as a Zandra Rhodes fashion show.
After finishing the photoshoot everyone has to dash back to London, I feel bad… for me and my gang we’re off to the Noisettes – I lose my kids, then find my kids, and groove with them to Earth, Wind and Fire – heaven!
Sunday – Still a few more shots to do – and then I’m free to experience everything ‘Vintage’ has to offer. I watch ‘Tommy’ in the cinema, then a film about Joy Division in a 1950s mobile cinema that has a screen and seating inside for 15 people – this is amazing. Loads of dancing at the soul casino disco where Wayne is DJ-ing and to Kid Creole and the Coconuts. I also picked up some nice vintage shopping… and met some great people who live and breathe it!
I’m working with the People Tree design team on the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection – Looking at craft skills, hand knitted pieces and tribal hints on new silhouettes – and we’re revisiting the producers traditional skills, hand weaves, block prints and embroideries too. The team asked me a few questions about the meetings and I thought i’d share them with you.
How will People Tree start to interpret the themes for its collection?
We’re thinking craft meets couture –practical, wearable clothes that flatter the body with innocent embroidery like cross stitch and braiding.
What sorts of colour pallet can we expect to see for AW11? Some surprise new colours, a gorgeous green and lots of funky highlights.
What’s your favourite idea that you and the team have discussed so far?
A new piece inspired by a block print dress I made at a fair trade group years back – white silk with a beautiful screen print.
Are there any themes that People Tree can’t do and why would that be? We don’t do synthetic fabrics. We don’t do fast fashion – ours is slow. We love craft skills.