??????????April 24th 2013 was a day in fashion history when things changed. Over 1,127 people were killed and many thousands injured as a result of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Most of the victims were female garment workers. News of the disaster echoed around the world. The message was clear: the world must never allow such appalling conditions in which our clothes are made. Fashion Fabulous had the good fortune to be invited to a special event held during London Fashion Week at Somerset House, The Strand, London, highlighting good manufacturing practice for the fashion industry.

Amongst the speakers were organiser Safia Minney MBE and CEO of People Tree and world famous designer Zandra Rhodes (pictured above) , Caryn Franklin MBE, broadcaster and journalist, designer Tracy Mulligan and John Hilary, Executive Director from War on Want.

Safia Minney said that  “Since the Rana Plaza tragedy, consumers want to know what to look for to be sure producers are treated well. People Tree started over 20 years ago and pioneered Fair Trade, covering fair wages, working conditions, transparency, capacity building, environmental best practice and gender equality. We should be engaging the consumer and showing the transparency of the product. Achieving more interest is what we have got.”

Caryn Franklin added “that there was a need  for promoting sustainable body and beauty ideals and emotional considerate manufacturing practice. Racial diversity and size diversity were very important too.”

Zandra Rhodes who had been collaborating with People Tree on a new fashion collection project told us “You have to start from the grassroots. We met the workers in India. I think it is raising the interest as much as possible”

John Hilary, Executive Director from War on Want said “His organisation had called upon big names and was pleased to say that the public wanted action. Over 80 of the world’s largest fashion brands have now signed the Bangladesh Safety Accord. Topshop has joined that list”. He emphasised that “it is possible to have beautiful clothes and it can be done safely”.

V&O2%20Cover_0002-2Fashion Fabulous has been following People Tree’s efforts with interest for many years. Co-author, Russell Rose, highlighted it in his book, Veggie and Organic London, amongst his reviews of all the organic clothes shops, restaurants and cafes in London. He was impressed that People Tree campaigned for consumers to wear organic cotton to help prevent the chronic health problems and death of thousands of people associated with the use of agricultural pesticides.

??????????With the job of creating designs for People Tree, Tracy Mulligan, Head designer for People Tree and no stranger to the London fashion scene and one of the first London Fashion Week New Generation designers said “there was a need to train producers in ethical methods. The new collection provides work for 4000 organic farmers.  I wanted to bring a modern approach to the collection. There’s a minimalist collection, something that could be worn to go out to a restaurant whilst the main collection is for every day wear.”

DSCN3978-1People Tree offers an alternative to fast fashion. Slow Fashion means standing up to exploitation, family separation, slum cities and pollution. The fast fashion industry is fuelled by the insatiable demand for cheap clothing and accessories. It produces sweatshops, child labour, pollution and global warming.

After the talks and over a glass of wine we met up with Safia’s charming daughter Natalie Minney looking delightful in a white jumpsuit.
from the newly created SS14 Atelier Collection. The collection was hand-dyed and hand-woven from 100% Fair Trade fabric consistent with People Tree’s ethos of providing some of the world’s most marginalised communities with a sustainable living. This collection provided an enhancement of skill growth particularly for the Fair Trade groups of Bangladesh.

…and the future? People Tree are now collaborating with Danish-born designer Peter Jensen.

Interested in finding out more from distinguished experts in the field, the next upcoming London highly informative event focusing on making people and the planet count first is “Fashion Takes Action” hosted by Safia Minney,  with Zandra Rhodes,  Lord Peter Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association, and commentator Liz Jones, Daily Mail Reporter, and takes place at 6.30pm on Tuesday the 29th October at 40 Fashion Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6PX.  For invitations apply to mia.hadrill@peopletree.co.uk

People Tree is stocked in many outlets around London including 69b, Broadway Market, London E8; Mania Mia, 307 New King’s Road, London SW6.

For the most fashionable places to shop in London, see our latest book Fashion Fabulous London 3rd Edition that reviews in detail the Top 200 fashion shops and looks at over 130 venues to eat and drink in London.

The current edition of Fashion Fabulous is stocked in Selfridges, Harrods, Waterstones Foyles, Daunt, Hatchards, Stanfords Travel, The Fan Museum, 3939, Wall & Jones, Mania Mia, Nico Didonna, Present-London. Internationally it’s at Barnes & Noble in NY, and bookshops in Italy, Japan, China, Australia, Russia and throughout the world and online from Amazon and many independent online websites.

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Fashion Fabulous 3rd Edition cover

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