Hi Everyone! Something different today, to raise awareness of how Fashion can really help make the world a better place for our children and future generations. Fashion is universally hailed as a means of celebrating culture, creativity, and innovation, but events such as Malta’s recent Fashion Revolution Week (FRW) show the extent to which fashion can also be a powerful force to help the environment, animals, and of course, children. FRW’s motto was to “radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased.” It encourages fashion companies to inform shoppers where their materials and apparel was sourced, but also encourages buyers to make responsible choices. Here, we highlight eight fantastic ways to start a ‘butterfly effect’ which will hopefully have much bigger effects on children than even its founders envisioned!
1. Ethical Fashion Protects Children
One of the most important ways in which fashion can improve children’s futures is through corporate social responsibly. Around 170 million kids worldwide perform illegal work. By examining their entire supply chain, fashion companies can ensure that no minor has had to work to produce their apparel. Child labor is harmful to society at large. As noted by The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, “There is a clear link between child labour and low wages for adult workers, both in agriculture (cotton production) and in garment factories… (if) child labour was banned, labour would become more scarce, which would allow adult workers to negotiate better wages and improve labour conditions.” Consumers play an important role in promoting sustainability by shopping wisely. You will find a host of fair trade and ethical clothing brands which you can choose to support, online.
Photos by MJ Studio
2. Fashion Can Share Profits
Many companies offer a percentage of sales to charity, but campaigns such as Sézane’s Demain show how fundraising can be conducted more efficiently. Rather than sending a percentage of all sales, it has created specific pieces, the profits from which go entirely to children. Instead of just one generic T-shirt, there is a plethora of über chic items, including brightly printed tops, sweatshirts, swimwear, kids’ wear, etc. Last year, just one Demain T-shirt campaign raised €150.000 for a needy cause and this year, the firm aims to raise over €1 million. This company is just one of many that are placing ethics at the top of their list of priorities.
3. Fashion Backs Winning Projects
There are many ways that fashion companies can directly contribute to causes they believe in. By partnering with organizations that provide housing, water, schooling, and other core necessities to children, they can ensure children’s health and welfare are protected. Cotopaxi is one company that designates 2% of its annual revenue to eradicate poverty. Bombas meanwhile (which manufactures socks) show us how it’s done, by donating a pair of socks to those in need for every pair sold.
4. Fashion Provides Future Employment
Companies wishing to take a more active role than merely raising funds can consider mentorship, hosting workshops that can educate children on how to break into the fashion world. To support sustainable, ethical fashion, information is key. While going to the mall and buying items on the spot can be tempting, researching into local brands beforehand can make a big difference in terms of supporting business that in turn help children in need. Fashion is a way to express our creativity and personality, but shopping can be significantly more fulfilling when we do so mindfully. The New York Times notes that mentoring has been on the rise in the United States, and that this type of program currently serves three million youths. The fashion industry can play an important role in steering talented kids in the direction of this burgeoning industry.
5. Fashion can Fill Up a Child’s Spare Time
Mentoring projects are one thing; summer camps and workshops are another. Across the nation, summer fashion workshops are held for kids. At these fun camps, they learn to sketch, drape, create, sew, and more. Often, these camps are a child’s first chance to show their sartorial flair or discover a hidden talent.
6. Competitions for Children
There are a host of competitions that children interest in fashion can join. Beginners might take part in a sewing course, while budding models might choose to compete on the catwalk. Recently, Lizzie from Elli Fashion in Frome joined forces with indie design brand Me & Three, running a fabric competition for children and youths. All youngsters had to do was design the print for a dress for one of the silhouettes provided by Elli Fashion.
7. Boosting Confidence
In this day and age of the Internet of Things, fashion companies can do plenty to encourage children to express themselves through their clothing. Fun, lively collections that challenge stereotypes or seek inspiration from the past or future can help kids feel that innovation is fun. Through their media campaigns, they can also teach kids how to mix and match clothing and accessories to optimize their potential.
8. Promoting Positive Body Image and Diversity
Media campaigns are another means through which fashion companies can promote diversity and contentment with body image. We are seeing a far more diverse range of models both on the catwalk and online/in print. Many kids find this comforting, as opposed to what occurs when they are forced to view unrealistic images.
Fashion is a rich, colorful, exciting world that celebrates the avante-garde. As such it can help children in so many ways, both on a material and mental level. Whether you are six or 60, make sure to use fashion to express and be yourself, and support companies that believe that fashion is a vehicle towards much more profound ideals and values.
Thank you goes to Lucy Wyndham for penning this article. I love this approach and Lucy is very knowledgeable about this subject.
Happy to spread more information and insight into how Together with compassion and thoughtfulness, we can help create a better world for future generations!
Photo by MJ Studio