How does shopping fair fashion support women?
Well, it’s a fact that the fashion industry is one of the most female-dominated industries in the world. Almost anywhere fashion pieces are produced, most of the work is done by women. By supporting slow fashion and making conscious consumer decisions, you’re actively supporting fairer treatment of women on a global scale. It’s estimated that 60 million women worldwide, aged 18-35 work in the garment industry making less than a minimum wage. So when it comes to women’s empowerment, your fashion choices can help make a difference by supporting brands that are paying women fairly in safe working conditions throughout their supply chain.
O My Bag and Women’s Empowerment
At O My Bag, we visit our producers twice a year and during these trips have the pleasure of meeting many of the women working at our factories. Some of these women have been making our bags since the very beginning. Over time, litres of chai tea and many meals together, we’ve built a personal relationship with these great professionals and artisans. Like all women, they deserve equal work opportunities, fair salaries and safe work environments. Want to wear your values on your shoulders? Rest assured that all O My Bag products are fairly made in safe working environments.
As a company we also support a number female support groups and organisations. Our dust bags, that with every O My Bag purchase, are made by a group of women in a remote village in India called Bhatpao, where employment opportunities are sparse and these women need stable work to support their families. In 2018 we donated our profits from Black Friday weekend to The Cup, a ‘women only’ cafe in the red light district of Kolkata, where women who have been affected by sex trafficking have a safe space to build relationships and feel a sense of community.
1. Ninety Percent
Ninety Percent is a London-based brand that’s sharing 90% of their profits between charitable causes and those who make their collection happen, aiming to challenge poor working conditions in the fashion industry and to help reduce our negative impact on the environment. And that’s not all. You can actually decide where their money goes and help them start a movement that empowers makers and wearers. Charities currently supported by the Ninety Percent include War Child, Big Life Foundation and Children’s Hope. The starting point for the brand was to create a label that was trendy and design-focused, while still adhering to their core beliefs around sustainability. It is a meeting point of ethics and aesthetics – we love!
2. Carcel Clothing
Carcel aims to create a positive impact on the world through fair employment and wages for women in prison. They believe that the main cause of female imprisonment is poverty. By offering them new skills and fair wages, Carcel tries to teach these women to support themselves, send their children to school and ultimately break with the cycle of poverty. Carcel’s philosophy: women in prison should be treated fairly in all aspects of employment – equal to fair local employment outside of prison. According to Carcel investing in their future is an investment into a better world.
Mayamiko produces clothing, homeware and accessories that are made ethically by women in Malawi. Their aesthetic combines contemporary design with traditional African techniques. All of their prints are sourced by a local cooperative of women traders. This brand is a leading advocate for better labor rights and has created the Mayamiko Trust, a charity which works in the community to train and empower disadvantaged women. One of the charity’s projects, the Mayamiko Lab, is a fashion workshop designed to provide skills, training, education and nutritious meals for locals in Lilongwe, Malawi. To top it off, they source materials locally which means minimizes their carbon footprint – yay for the planet!
London brand Birdsong promises “No sweatshops. No photoshop”. They’re selling lovely things, made in partnership with solely women’s organisations and charities, and their wearers feel lovely as a result! All of their garments are made by women, some by women’s knitting groups or impoverished migrant women’s circles. All of the women they work with are paid a London living wage and have access to a range of holistic support.which means minimizes their carbon footprint – yay for the planet!
Fashion has the potential to be a force for good when it comes to women’s empowerment – both for wearers and makers. We believe consumers can use their buying power to send a clear message to brands that they will accept nothing less than transparency and fairness for women working in every facet of the fashion industry.
O My Bag