Posts Tagged ‘fair trade fashion’

Safia’s Sustainable Christmas shopping?

Some of us fix a limit on how much we can spend on each other – forcing us to be more innovative and creative. We’ve never formalised that rule in my family but my favourite Christmas present last year was definitely my brother’s chutney – (imagine a doctor with two small children who makes time to make chutney! – so cool!).  Anyway my mate Andrew the Jamaican taxi driver filled me with the joy of buying and stockpiling for Christmas and I realised I hadn’t started anything… I like getting excited about what I’m going to give people, rarely find it a pressure and well if I hide away special organic Christmas food it’s more likely to be me raiding the special box in the middle of the night than my teenagers!

So this Saturday – aside from my People Tree Fair Trade presents, Natalie my 14 year old daughter and I set out in South London to find things that would bring a smile to her grandmother’s face – that’s where we’re all spending Christmas. I find a hip flask, some second hand records and some gorgeous second hand shoes – completely impractical for my Yorkshire Xmas, maybe People Tree Christmas party though!

charity shop 1b

Local charity shop - a treasure trove of fun!

charity shop 2

I find some cute junk jewellery and purses for my nieces

Here are a few of my Christmas present rules -

Rule 1. Never buy plastic and non-biodegradable. You can only buy plastic if it’s from a charity shop and recycled. (I buy a football hat game – where you chuck a ball at someone’s hat the ball attaches itself with Velcro to the unfortunate persons head!)

Rule 2. If you buy new, buy Fair Trade and organic! I’ve bought friends good organic wine and other foods and consumables – I want to make mince pies – veggie of course. I’ll treat everyone at People Tree’s Christmas sample sale on 10th/11th December – so come along! Homemade rules – so save those jars!

Rule 3. Buying ethical fashion can mean, buying Fair Trade or second hand (or vintage I you have a bit more money to spend). I’ve bought my Mum a gorgeous silk dress that I’ve been imagining she’ll wear on Christmas Day – glamorous and colourful.

Rule 4. Don’t forget the important things – it’s different depending on your age, my teenagers want a drum kit on eBay for £100, my mum wants to see her grandchildren more than anything for Christmas – and all I want is a good long bubble bath (organic bubbles please!) and 2 days off to cook together and drink red wine.

Rule 5. Don’t spend money, only spend time!

5th Year anniversary of Fair Trade cotton – and a photo launch to mark it!


Me and Trevor Leighton at the Fairtrade foundation launch

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.

My favourite photo from Mali of Moussa Doumbia

My favourite photo from Mali of Moussa Doumbia

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.

The Vega girls

The Vega girls

Alice wears a People Tree Richard Nicol shirt

Alice wears a People Tree Richard Nicol shirt

No time to change the world. Mike Gidney of Fairtrade foundation and James of People Tree discuss

Mike Gidney of Fairtrade foundation and James of People Tree discuss how to change the world

Laura Bailey shows us how it's done - Deb and I are out of practice

Laura Bailey shows us how it's done! Debs and I are out of practice

After the event, the ‘Fashion Fair Trade 100’ dinner, we discussed how to change the world through Fair Trade and fashion

After the event, the ‘Fashion Fair Trade 100’ dinner, we discussed how to change the world through Fair Trade and fashion.

Me and Abi of Gossypium

Me and Abi of Gossypium

Cute PT babes, SArah and Kate wear People Tree:)

Cute PT babes, Sarah and Kate wear People Tree:)

WGSN Global Style Awards – People Tree WINS Most Sustainable Brand


Matthew Langille and I celebrate People Tree's win!


What do you do when you’re in a foreign city, no friends…. yet… and you’ve had a really unfriendly experience years back? Here I was again in New York after 22 years – because WGSN organisers had been encouraging me to come to their new Fashion Award ceremony.

Pretty Wrapped Up

Party Season is fast approaching and it’s time to start thinking about what to wear and how to wear it! Here are our tips on how to match pretty dresses with chunky knits, so you can look effortlessly elegant whilst keeping wrapped up and warm – the finishing touch to your perfect party outfit…


Safia interviewed by the Dispatched team

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.


80′s Anarchy

Mad About The Man

Art of Elegance

Remember, remember… WIN £250 People Tree vouchers!

The competition is hotting up…get your entries in by Thursday 28th October and WIN £250 People Tree vouchers! PLUS don’t forget to use our amazing offer 15% OFF the Youth Collection only until Friday 29th October!

By the seaside – Shooting our spring/summer 2011 catalogue with Angela Farmer

We left Tokyo at 5.30am having slept for barely three hours! We were off to the Japanese seaside, 1 1/2 hours drive away in Chiba. For most location shoots big fashion houses have a bus with all the creature comforts – toilets, hair-dryers, cocktail cabinet. We have our beaten up, old People Tree van, which was a little bit of a shock to our top model Angela, not to mention the gusty wind that met us at the beach and nearly blew off the People Tree summer clothes she was modeling! P1020236

Miki strikes a pose to plan the shot


The team squeezed into our location van!


Riding up front


Me, shooting our Kenya Kiondo bags


Angela and me – after the shoot in her warm jacket

What a great day! Angela is gorgeous – inside and out, and modelled for our summer Japan and UK catalogues. She’s really into yoga and was named after her godmother Angela who runs an amazing yoga school with her partner in the US.

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