At Pildora, we know that holistic sustainability includes taking care of the people around you. We also know that the fashion industry has a lot of work to do. Below, check out five initiatives to engage with and support this women’s month.
Founded by Celine Semaan, the Slow Factory is a public service organization reimagining the future of fashion as “a vehicle for social, cultural and environmental change.” What sets them apart is their climate positive and anit-racist approach. Semaan and her team are not afraid to speak the truth, and it’s gotten them in trouble with climate change deniers and politicians alike. Their goal is to create systemic change, and as I’m sure they know, that’s not going to happen without shaking things up.
Celine Semaan, image courtesy of Slow Factory
In addition to education and advocacy, Slow Factory also awards grants to small businesses and groups doing the work, and hosts an impressive lineup of initiatives and programs. Their One X One initiative brings individuals across disciplines together to collaborate on projects that empower solution based sustainable innovation. One to note: Public School NY X Theanne Schiros, a project in which Designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne have teamed up with scientist Theanne Schiros to develop and implement a new “leather” substitute grown from bacteria.
Support Slow Factory by engaging with educational materials on their Instagram and be sure to keep an eye out for calls to action.
Team image courtesy of Re/Make
Like Slow Factory, Re/Make’s mission is to make fashion a force for good. Specializing in ending fast fashion, Re/Make spreads awareness of the negative consequences of disposable clothing such as waste, ecological destruction, illegal wages, and unsafe working conditions. A community of millennial and Gen Z women, Re/Make takes an intimate approach to advocacy through one on one workshops, panels, and webinars that train women around the world to be leaders in the fight against fast fashion.
The Clean Clothes Campaign is a grass roots network of hundreds of organizations working to improve the quality of life for garment workers all around the world, which is made up almost entirely of women. The Clean Clothes Initiative recognizes the unique violence that women garment workers face. In addition to unsuitable conditions and wage theft, women are subject to sexual abuse and increased physical and verbal abuse. Women who are married or have children are unlikely to be hired in garment working positions. Single women are often forced to sign legal documents stating that they will not become pregnant. If they do become pregnant, they can be fired for it.
Image courtesy of Clean Clothes Campaign
By educating and mobilizing consumers, partnering with labor rights groups to lobby companies and governments, and providing direct aid, the Clean Clothes Campaign is paving the way to justice for garment workers around the world.
They are currently looking for volunteers and donations.
Founded in 2003, the Awaj foundation was created by a former child garment worker, Nazma Akter, and was established to protect garment workers’ rights in Bangladesh. Garment exports make up about 80% of the country’s economy, but while this may sound like a positive thing, the country’s reliance on garment exporting has driven manufacturers to cut costs to increase profits. The ones who bear the brunt of this exploitation, are the garment makers themselves. As a women led organization, gender equity is at the root of their almost 20-year fight to spread awareness, and train garment workers in their rights and abilities to negotiate.
In 2018, Lindsay Peoples Wagner wrote “What It’s Like to Be Black in Fashion” for New York Magazine, and sparked a conversation about the systemic racism that is pervasive throughout the industry. When Wagner partnered with PR specialist Sandrine Charles, the Black in Fashion Council was born to finally eradicate it.
Lindsay Peoples Wagner by Tom Newton
Their goal? To represent and secure the advancement of Black individuals in the fashion and beauty industry through partnerships that encourage accountability. Working alongside companies, instead of calling them out, is their tactic. They ask companies to take an honest look at the ways they are upholding white supremacy and harming their Black employees. As of right now, the Black in Fashion Council has over 70 companies signed up to participate in real change. Check out the full, and ever growing list, here.