For us, what resonates most on International Women’s Day is unity. The unity of women around the world. Scrap that, the unity of men and women around the world to protect the rights of half of our population. Instagram hashtags to voice solidarity, the Nasty Woman poem that went viral, and the internationally coordinated and well-attended protests against Trump and his inner circle. Rather than dwelling on the quite confusing and difficult messages we are receiving from all angles as a woman, we want to focus on a positive movement.
In the fashion industry, we need this same unity more than ever. 80% of garment workers in the fashion industry are women. Most of them work within the supply-chain of large high-street labels, which is often synonymous with being disgracefully underpaid, working in unsafe conditions with no rights and abused physically, mentally and/or sexually. The irony is that these women are making clothes for the very self-proclaiming feminists who are snapchatting their placards from last month’s protests. Whilst the Fashion Revolution has grown incredibly, many of the industry’s issues continue to slip under the radar in favour of corporate interest and consumer demand for cheaper products.
One of the main reasons we launched ESEM was to give women a genuine alternative to supporting that cruel supply chain – an alternative that is sustainable and fashionable and affordable. We are committed to only supporting brands through which artisans with a fair wage, a safe working environment, and an opportunity to progress. The chance for women to develop through training, support and working means that their children are far more likely to be educated. The impact of your purchase goes far beyond this season’s colours – it’s empowering the next generation.
We are so excited to shine a spotlight on female artisans from around the world and the inspirational entrepreneurs we are lucky enough to work with. Many of our partners weren’t available at all in the UK market until we launched, which makes sharing their visions with you even more special.
To our partners, - thank you for trusting us with telling the stories of women from around the world. Ara Collective (Guatemalan and Mexican women), Badala (Rwandan, Kenyan and Honduran women), Marie Mae (female entrepreneurs in developing countries), Mata Traders (Indian women) Mia Malia (Indian women) Soko (Kenyan women), and Tribe Alive (Haitan women).
And to you, reader, thank you for supporting us on our journey so far. We are already excited thinking about which brands we will have next #IWD that promote female empowerment and gender equality.