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Friday, 8 March 2019

International Womens Day; 8 brands supporting Women around the World

It's International Women's Day! 

For me, International Women's Day is a day to celebrate, to show your love for all the women in your life but it is also about recognising the privilege I have to live, dress and work where I want and how I want, something many women are still not allowed to do. This years theme, #BalanceForBetter is all about us creating a world where everyone is treated equally because we all know a balanced world is a better one.

There has been many campaigns from fast fashion brands with their women empowerment tops for sale, and yes they are raising money for charity but they are not really for women empowerment. Why you ask? Well because behind the brand are the people who make the clothes. Let's all be honest, the people making those garments, many who are working for next to no wage, will not feel empowered by having to print girl pwr on a top. Instead, some may feel invisible.

So this International Womens Day I thought I'd share some brands that are helping those in the supply chain and the world around them. Some are high end, others are high street but they all have supporting their workers for a better life, lifting women out of poverty and striving to ensure that those individuals are empowered in common.

People Tree
One of the early pioneers of sustainable Fair Trade fashion, People Tree produces products made to the highest ethical and environmental standards. The company actively supports farmers, artisans and producers in 6 countries, with many women being part of the supply chain.

Founded back in 2002, Bottletop takes traditional Artisan techniques and invests in the communities to turn the product into something that can be classes as high end. The company supports and invests heavily in their workers, where the majority of them are women. Additionally, through The Bottletop Foundation, the sales of bags have been able to help educate young people around the world about health issues and transferable skills. What a company!

The Body Shop 
The Body shop is a high street classic but they are more than just the products they make. Many of their ingredients are now fairtrade and organic. Recently they launched their She behind Shea campaign their first ever Community Trade ingredient made by 640 women across 11 villages in northern Ghana. The premium paid helps positively impact a huge 49,000 people and has led to 7 schools being built, which just goes to show the power that paying a premium on incredible products can have. To celebrate International Women's Day they're also running talks on self care, empowerment and activism.

Jose Finas
Is a High End brand with an incredible campaign called you can leave. The collection is all about supporting female abuse victims because according to the UN one in three women world wide will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime which is a TERRIFYING statistic. The tshirts call out the lies women often tell and the trainers have integrated messages throughout about being proud to be a women. If you cant afford the trainers like me, you can still grab some shoelaces to support such an amazing campaign.

A Danish brand that employs women in prison to make clothes may not be the first thing that springs to mind as to create a clothing brand but that is exactly what Carcel have done. Carcel wanted to create a positive impact through fair employment and wages for women in prison. This allows them to provide training and new skills and to help prisoners save up for a crime free future. The company not only set up their productions in countries with high rates of poverty related crimes to try and allow for positive social change, but also use the finest materials that are native to the country the products are being made in.

Birdsong chooses to works only with women's groups and charities to make clothing instead of using sweatshops. From supporting women refugees who hand print some of the tshirts to a knit and knatter group for older women, the brand still ensures that all employees are paid above London Living Wage. Now that's a brand supporting women locally!

Olive and Frank
A brand that specialises in slogan t's was always going to appear on one of my list eventually. Olive and Frank t shirts are all made from organic cotton and are printed ethically in the UK meeting the Fair Wear Standard which ensures all those in the supply chain are paid a living wage. Finally, on International Women's Day they've created a tshirt where 100% of the profits will go to Womenkind charity, and £5 from the t-shirt will be donated if bought at any other time!

Raven and Lily
If bags are your thing then Raven and Lily are for you. Although the brand isn't vegan they are fair trade and use recycled amd repurposed materials in all their projects. Working with over 150 local female artisans, workers are paid fair trade wage and have hacess to health care, sustainable income and other tools they need to survive. Even more impressive though, is every product purchased helps fund microloans  to female entrepreneurs. On International Women's Day and the following weekend, the brand is donating 10% of all their sales to fund microloands for single mother entrepreneurs in Ethopia which helps lift women out of poverty!

So there you have it, brands doing good for women around the world and in many different ways. I shall end this post with one last message, an African Proverb, that I feel really encapsulates what International Women's Day is about, "When women move forward, the world moves with them".


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