Putting the Spotlight on Positive Fashion
Fast Fashion. Modern Slavery. Climate Change. These are all terms we associate with the Sustainable Fashion movement. They’re also terms that highlight the negative effects of buying unsustainable fashion. Sometimes scary statistics and depressing factoids overwhelm the conversation about Sustainable Fashion. It’s easy to forget that there are many brands doing incredibly positive things for fashion. In other words, there's a lot of Positive Fashion out there. In May, our first-ever pop-up store will be themed around positivity. Instead of spiralling into the negative, we’ll be celebrating the positive change heralded by some of our favourite sustainable brands. We’ll be thinking about global positivity, positivity within communities, and personal positivity. We’re sure you’re going to love it. In fact, we’re positive. To get you excited for The MAMOQ Positive Popup…
…Here are the strides some companies are taking toward Positive Fashion
Empowering the Workforce
One of the most positive steps a company can take is towards empowering its workforce. For the sustainable fashion industry, this change often starts at the most basic level, with seamstresses and garment workers. One of our favourite brands, Mayamiko, was founded with exactly this goal in mind. Mayamiko empowers local women in Malawi by giving them long-term employment paid at a fair wage. These seamstresses can then take all the positivity from their own stories and put them back into the garments they create. This basically means Mayamiko's looks are not only chic but have positivity bursting from their seams. You can hear about Mayamiko’s mission directly from the founder, Paola Masperi at our Positive Popup lecture series. She’ll join us on Thursday 30 May to talk about why Fast Fashion is a Feminist issue (Tickets & Info Here) and how we can turn the fashion industry into a source of female empowerment.
Tales of Thread is another company devoted to empowering its workers in an effort to achieve Positive Fashion. Rebecca Fordham founded Tales of Thread as a way to generate opportunities for fashion creatives in Ghana. Since then, she has sought out African factories that are owned and operated by women. She also offers her workers training and skills development to support their future careers. Again, these positive stories flow from the garment workers directly into the finished looks.
Incorporating Charitable Missions
Brands are also thinking beyond their own workforces and are giving back to their local communities. Rhumaa is one such brand. Rhumaa’s designs are inspired by the work of South African artists. In return for that inspiration, Rhumaa nurtures the talents of young creatives in South Africa. 5% of every Rhumaa purchase goes to the Rhumaa Foundation, which helps young creatives find creative work. The Foundation also works closely with organisations such as Learn to Earn. Through these partnerships, they help young people transition into long-term employment. It’s great to see brands like Rhumaa investing in the next generation.
RubyMoon is also committed to investing in charitable missions. They donate 100% of their profits to fund micro-loans for female entrepreneurs. So, in addition to making amazing activewear, they’re making amazing contributions to the lives of women in developing countries. RubyMoon works closely with LendwithCare, a micro-financing organisation. Through this partnership, they make sure their loans are going to the women who need them most. Some of RubyMoon’s amazing looks like the Graciela, Ysabel and Leilani, are named after the women RubyMoon has invested in. These are definitely some pieces of Positive Fashion.
Fashion as a Tool for Awareness
Sustainable fashion companies are in a great position to raise awareness for various causes. Maison de Choup raises awareness through the words printed on their garments. Their texty t-shirts include phrases like “Sometimes I’m OK, Sometimes I’m Not,” and “Don’t Feed the Fears.” These inspirational messages raise awareness for mental health issues. Maison de Choup founder, George Hodgson, struggled with crippling anxiety in his youth. Now he wants his designs to start a conversation about the importance of mental health. More than anything else, his designs remind those afflicted that they’re not alone. He also donates 25% of his profits to mental health charities as part of that mission. You can hear more about George’s journey and his focus on Positive Fashion at our Positive Popup. He’ll join us for a panel on Tuesday 28 May (Tickets & Info Here) to talk about how fashion can be a force for good.
Fashion as a force for good is also at the heart of Hopeful Traders, an artistic streetwear brand. Hopeful Traders’ looks are designed by artists who have suffered homelessness or acute mental health issues. They use their designs to tell their stories. Many designs are imprinted with the reminder that “we are hopeful” for the future. This brand is turning tragedy and devastation into positivity and hope. Their garments are reminders of what we can overcome.
We can’t talk about Positive Fashion without mentioning body positivity. Positive Fashion is all about feeling good about ourselves and our outfit choices. But, of course, first, we have to feel good about the bodies in those outfits. Deakin and Blue is one brand that celebrates different body types. They create their looks in three distinct versions (the Hepburn, the Monroe and the Hendricks), each of which is designed to flatter a specific body type. It’s great to see brands incorporating body positivity not only during marketing but actually at the design stage too.
Where Does It Come From is also a brand celebrating the differences in our bodies. Their central mission is supply-chain transparency. Still, an emphasis on body positivity is evident throughout their collections. People of various shapes, sizes and ages proudly model the looks on their brand page. While using these models to celebrate our differences, their underlying message is also that underneath, we’re all the same. Many of their items, such as the Organic Long Sleeve White Shirt are gender-neutral, made to suit the bodies of men and women. This is a celebration of body positivity both in our uniqueness and in the universal qualities we all share.
Pushing the Boundaries of Creativity
Recycling and upcycling of materials are also huge steps towards Positive Fashion. Many brands commit to a completely closed-loop or circular economy with regards to their materials. Belo is one brand on a mission to reduce plastic waste, one adorable handbag at a time. Their new line of bags is made out of old seatbelts. This innovation is totally an example of Positive Fashion. But Belo didn't stop there. They also decided to make the lining of each handbag out of recycled plastic from old plastic bottles. Join us at our Positive Popup on May 30th to hear about these amazing bags and more straight from the co-founder of Belo, Charlotte Bingham-Willis as she discusses her journey founding Belo (Tickets & Info Here).
Riley Studio is also all about reducing waste and using upcycled materials. They focus on using fabrics like Q-Nova, Econyl, and recycled PET that are generated from pre and post-consumer waste. In other words, they’re saving plastic from the landfill and putting it back into innovative gender-neutral designs. Riley Studio is also pushing boundaries with those designs. For example, their Modular Teddy Coat (which is super cosy, by the way), has detachable sleeves to become a vest. And, as we know, the more versatile a look is, the more sustainable it is. Riley Studio is a brand that shows how pushing the boundaries of creativity can lead to some undeniably Positive Fashion.
Our Positive Popup runs from Thursday, May 23rd through June 2nd. Join us at 32 Charlotte Road for guilt-free positive shopping, or check out one of our many workshops, talks, and panel discussions talking about sustainability in the fashion industry and the steps our brands are taking towards Positive Fashion. To learn more click here.