I subscribe to the Business of Fashion newsletter and earlier this week I saw their headline, “A Conversation with Stella McCartney on Building a Sustainable Luxury Brand” in my inbox. It got me thinking about how the same huge fashion houses are featured in the media over and over again, especially when it comes to the ethical fashion sector. The average person might think that if they can’t afford to spend $1000 on a bag their only option is to buy something mass-produced in a sweat shop.
I admire Stella McCartney’s creative talent and her commitment to her ethos. She has been a pioneer for sustainable fashion and been an important catalyst for discussion in the fashion industry about ethics. But what about everyone else? What about the smaller brands, the independent designers and start-ups who are dedicated to creating positive change in the fashion industry? An industry that employs millions of people around the world and has a profound effect on the environment. Artisan enterprise is the second largest employer in the developing world (!!!) after agriculture. The potential to make a difference through this sector is huge.
Ethical fashion online retailer, Helpsy, took the words right out of my mouth with their campaign, #ItsNotJustStella. They are encouraging YOU to share what you are doing in your businesses and lives to create a more sustainable fashion industry, share it on social media and tag #ItsNotJustStella and #BoFVoices. One thing I love about social media is the power it has to democratize important dialog. So let’s all join the conversation! We need to celebrate and hear about more than just a few elite designers. I have been an advocate for the sustainable, ethical fashion industry since I realized that it existed. More consumers need to know they have choices and that there are many ways they can make a difference.
Through Estrella de Mar, we are providing economic empowerment through dignified employment in Guatemala and giving back to the communities where our artisans live through strategic partnerships with local non-profit organizations. Our artisan partners are worker-owned women’s weaving cooperatives and small family businesses. Our handmade goods are a safeguard for important cultural textile traditions and techniques. We are committed to being the change we wish to see. “Love is the message, fashion is the medium.”