Aura Que

(uk.linkedin.com/in/laura-queening)

Aura Que is the the brand started up in 2008 by Laura Queening, a Fashion graduate from the London College of Fashion. She had previously been teaching English in Nepal and was inspired by Asian culture and her travel experiences in Nepal to design and create accessories in collaboration with small Nepalese producers WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation) producers.

Aura Que is now an established brand with it's own website full of colourful, fashionable and most importantly ethically sourced products from Handbags, scarves, gifts to clothing. Aura Que was even featured in Vogue (http://www.vogue.co.uk/blogs/the-green-style-blog/2014/auraque-diary- 12th August 2014).

Laura creates her designs and uses the traditional skills and locally sourced natural fibres to produce her ranges, fibres such as Bamboo for scarves and even Banana yarn made from the Banana plantation wastage, this brings an extra income for the farmers. The Traditional Dhaka fabric which is hand woven and traditionally used to make hats and tops for the national dress, is adapted for Laura's bags.

Their ethical practices combine working closely with the producers, ensuring a safe working environment and the payment of a fair living wage. They are always looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint, machines used are run by foot pedals, wastage is recycled as much as possible.

North Face

(Pumalin National Park
www.visitchile.com)

Tragically the news announced Douglas Tompkins, the co founder of North Face died in a kayaking accident in Chile in early December, aged 72.

His love of adventure and exploration led him to start his small ski and backpacking retail  and mail order business in 1966. He was passionate about protecting the environment and his mantra 'Never Stop Exploring' led to the expansion of the business, acquiring Esprit in the late 1960's.

Although the speciality active clothing North Face produce may seem at first glance unethical, the company is transparent and are commited to the use of chemicals responsibly. their website states  '.......The CMWG was formed in spring 2011 as a subgroup of the OIA Sustainability Working Group to establish shared approaches and tools for the assessment and management of chemicals and their potential impacts on humans and the environment across product life cycles. We envision and strive to create a world in which all consumer products are produced using Green Chemistry practices, ultimately using inherently safer chemicals and reducing or eliminating hazardous chemicals, in order to preserve human health and a clean environment. ...'   (http://www.thenorthface.eu/blog/eu/en/chemical-responsibility)

When Douglas sold his companies to take early retirement, both him and his wife '...spent up to $300 million on 2.2 million acres of wilderness to create national parks and reserves in South America....'(Facebook written by Amanda Mohdin 9th December 2015) and even though he was faced with opposition by Chilean and Argentinian governments, he was persistant and this eventually paid off as now the Chilian government are grateful for preserving this land. A lifetime legacy left to the people of Chile.

Jane Shepherdson

(the common galleries world map app garden camera find / flickr.com)

Not a designer nor a brand,  but Jane Shepherdson is a recgonised face in the fashion industry, she was known as the brand director who helped turn Topshop into the fast fashion model they are today,  Went on to accept an invitation from Oxfam to help with....

'.....a brand-new, sustainable shop-fit, the stores will stock a host of sustainable fashion labels and rebrand their second-hand clothes as recycled fashion. Shepherdson has also set up an initiative with some of the bright lights from the London College of Fashion. Its most promising students have designed items of clothing created from a mix of environmentally friendly fabrics and restyled second-hand clothes and textiles.....' (http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG3364886/Jane-Shepherdson-from-Topshop-to-Oxfam.html/ BY Cat Callender | 11 May 2008)

Jane is now the CEO of Whistles, from fast fashion to a marginally slow fashion at the luxury High end, where she is striving to make the company ethical and transparent, she feels this is very important. whilst a Topshop she did an investigation into labour exploitation in the supply chain.

She was also a director at People Tree ( A Fair Trade ethical fashion brand)

source.ethicalfashionforum.com. 1st March 2011 interviewed Jane on her ethical values and it was refreshing to see she is totaly committed to ethical values in Fashion on top of which, Womens Issues Globally are a passion of hers, a feminist, which she has no problems with.

 

Primark

(primarks new recyclable brown carrier bags / Lesley Thomas / 5th April 2007 www.telegraph.co.uk)

The Guardian 16th June 2008 ' primark fires child worker firms'

A BBC panorama investigative programme carried out an undercover operation over 6 months and alerted Primark to the use of child labour in 3 of their Indian suppliers.....Primark immediately terminated the contracts with said suppliers.

The Telegraph 25th April 2013 'Primark 'shocked' by Bangladesh building collapse'

Another shame to Primarks reputation when this horrific disaster hits the news, as The Rana Plaza Factory in Bangladesh collapses, killing over 1000 workers........Primark responded by offering short term financial support and food aid with long term compensation to the victims and their families.

Doesnt bode well for this popular high street fast fashion brand , however tainted with constant scandals Primark strive to prove they are doing their best to tackle these unethical practisces, thy have worked hard to maintain a transparent corporate code of conduct,.

With currently over 600 major suppliers in 16 countries employing around 700,000 workers, the corporate responsibility relies heavily on fair trade and human rights, which includes introducing an Ethical Trade Director, Ethical Managers and joining ETI and ILO to help them create a working code of practice.

This includes Safe and hygenic working conditions, No child labour, living wages, no excessive working hours, no discrimination and humane treatment of all employees.

The supplier and factory selection is rigid with regular audits carried out,.

Primark have had the misfortune to be misled and been decieved by their scrupulous suppliers, something that happens often in the supply chain and sometimes beyond a retailers control.

So how do Primark trade ethically and still keep their prices low and still make a profit ?

Well, they have no expensive ad campaigns, they always place large orders with low mark ups, overheads are kept to a minimum, and their suppliers source fabrics locally saving on added logistics costs.

Their paper bags are 100% recycled cardboard.

 

 

Katherine Hamnett

(mademan.com/chickpedia/Katherine-hamnett)

With an air of 'So What .......' this feisty English fashion designer is best known for her political slogan T-Shirts, from pop bands to celebrities to joe public to herself being seen wearing these statement items of clothing.

Notoriously wearing a statement T-Shirt against missiles when meeting Margaret Thatcher to parading anti Blair/ War T-shirts on the catwalk, this lady has a message, an opinion and she is not afraid to voice it.

Katherines contribution to Ethical Fashion really began in 1989, starting up her own campaign in sustainability, including the use of organic cotton.

Katherine has been an inspiration to many in the fashion industry, her campaign T-Shirts are used by charities and NGO's to raise awareness and get their messages across as well as raising funds for the causes. The enviromental justice Foundation campaign aims to end child labour and pesticides in the cotton industry, and since 2007 joined forces with many designers including Katherine.

(The Sustainability Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black / Thames and Hudson/ Pages 44/59)