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bangladeshi garment workers are neither mysterious nor in need of saving journalists and consumer organisations should call up the ngwf offices in dhaka and get the organisation 's opinion on the bangladeshi garment industry on tuesday no one other than i had contacted the ngwf about the primark labels their opinion is that poor pay and conditions are not unique to one brand \( primark \) but rather applicable to almost all the brands that are sourcing from bangladesh0
the ngwf is also clear that it does not want to see the destruction of the industry through consumer boycotts as there are no other job opportunities for the four million women working in those factories0
they do however want people to work with them to pressure corporations into raising pay and conditions people in the uk should ask brands like primark , marks spencer , edinburgh woollen mill , or new look about the reality of their supply chain , says amin they should pressure brands to disclose their suppliers and to sign the bangladesh accord , and to ensure a fair price of bangladeshi garments and pay a living wage to garment workers0
pressure groups like war on want and labour behind the label are helping workers but other consumer groups should also contact ngwf to discuss how they could help0
in the 1990 's , to guard against patronising or victimising garment workers , the united students against sweatshops \( usas \) adopted as its motto a few lines taken from lilla watson of the aboriginal activists group in queensland , australia in the 1970 's if you have come to help me you are wasting your time but if you 've come because your liberation is bound up with mine , then let us work together0
progressive change in bangladesh depends on millions of young women taking on some of the world 's most repressive institutions and corporations they are already engaged in this fight and we can work with them what we must not do is silence their agency and their role in history by reducing them to a passive cry for help0
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when primark opens its first us store next year , it will be with the help of an army of its european fans the cheap fashion chain does n't have an online shop , and does n't advertise instead , primark will use its own shoppers to help sell the brand to fellow fashion lovers by posting photographs of themselves wearing their latest purchases on primania , the company 's new social media site less than a year old , primania now gets 300 , 000 visitors a week shoppers' comments , often complete with the price tag , are translated into six languages to reflect the group 's spread across europe0
like several other high street names , the brand is blurring the lines between publishing , shopping and social media in a bid to get closer to its customers0
primania is a simpler version of online fashion retailer asos 's fashion finder , which runs magazine style features a recent one was what to wear for your graduation and has 160 , 000 registered users both supply a constant stream of street fashion trends , styling ideas and fun photos to their own editorial teams , who then mix shoppers' ideas and selfies with fashion tips , new product information and other content0
asos also publishes a glossy magazine with circulation of 470 , 000 more than glamour , grazia or even the giveaway stylist a digital version , available in french and german , and in us and australian editions , goes to another 100 , 000 shoppers more than 30 staff at asos 's headquarters work on editorial content , and there are editors in each international territory the digital magazine hits0
john bason , finance director of primark 's parent company , associated british foods , says showing off your bargains is a characteristic of primark shopping before social media was big it was all word of mouth people saying , 'i like your outfit where did you get it \? ' that helped primark grow with social media , word of mouth is increasingly powerful0
primania , he says , took inspiration from other social media sites , like the primark haul videos of youtube blogger zoella , which can attract more than a million viewers primania is owned by primark consumers and it 's crucial that it 's customer led part of the pull of the brand is that it is something 'owned by me' , says basonalice spencer of consultantcy brand union says shopping is no longer just about buying , but lifestyle post recession consumers want to hear \( from \) brands they want to know what they think , where they stand and what their beliefs are in a digital world , people no longer go into a shop , see something and decide to buy it it is much more about buying into a lifestyle0
with more than half of female consumers now starting each fashion shopping trip via a smartphone or tablet computer , eye catching content generates sales that content might be exclusive footage of favoured bands , celebrity interviews , how to guides or fashion tips the aim is to become the shoppers' friend , interested in everything they love , whether it 's in stock or not0
asos editorial director melissa dick , who used to be online editor of women 's magazine elle , says she left traditional mags because she realised they were n't keeping up with the way young women consumed information on lifestyle and fashion0
for young women , she says , magazines are n't democratic or collaborative enough there has to be more dialogue you ca n't just broadcast as message women want to check out how their peers are dressing or behaving , and find their views and reviews of an item0
asos , she says , is even experimenting with using shoppers' pictures instead of model shots to illustrate some products in the transactional part of the site0
shoppers also wanted to be able to buy what they saw with a couple of clicks , share their opinions and generally be part of the action they wanted original information , ideas or pictures that could be shared with their friends young women are on social media every 30 seconds , says dick we are giving them content they can share , and increase their social currency0
upmarket online fashion store net a porter is also trying publishing to bring in sales with porter , a bi monthly glossy magazine which shoppers can scan using a smartphone app to link to the shopping site not everything in the magazine is available on the net a porter website , but the firm promises to help shoppers find a way to buy most items , with links to brands' own websites or a concierge service0
magazines and newspapers are trying to fight back , however grazia has launched an ipad app which readers can use to buy featured products , and vogue owner cond nast has also been experimenting with shoppable websites0
some of the biggest high street retailers marks spencer , sainsbury 's , waitrose and john lewis are old hands in the magazine business , but even they are making efforts to reach out to customers waitrose now has a tv channel on its website , with cooking ideas , how to videos , celebrity interviews and cookery demos by famous chefs online recipes from tv shows can be quickly converted into a shopping list of items that can be bought online0
marks spencer has added a style and living section to its website , offering magazine style content including editors' product picks , trend suggestions and celebrity interviews it has hired new staff , including former times and financial times fashion writer nicola copping , and the 20 strong team includes specialist editors for categories such as beauty and womenswear0
some say the new look m s website is more a hindrance that a help to its shoppers mainly older women , who might be more focused on making purchases than the twentysomethings of asos or primark sales growth through the website has not been good , although marketing director patrick bousquet chavanne says style and living is the fastest growing section of the website and accounts for close to half its traffic he says shoppers are 24 more likely to make a purchase if they 've read about it0
dick reckons all retailers will have to adapt to the new world of digital sharing for a shop to become a brand , it has to have a relationship with its customers and the best way to do that is through other customers0
we were always so busy and excited by all the difficult things that they just happened and we overcame them one by one in retrospect , one of the hardest things is to make sure you get your pricing right , including your time which , as it happens , is all completely taken up if you do your own business making sure you love what you do is imperative0
rosie and i are like two sides of one coin we met at college , we worked together , we did everything together we dressed the same , liked the same music and both loved making things now we have grown into ourselves and had to focus on our strengths to get the most out of our time3
i ca n't believe tatty devine turns 15 this september the years have flown by and there have been so many amazing times last year , out of the blue , rosie and i were awarded mbes what with all the outfit choosing and planning where to have lunch afterwards it was a bit like we got married my parents nearly burst they have always let me do my own thing and have always helped and supported me so it meant a lot to see them beaming0
now , i often wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for something but when we started tatty devine it was not a classic lightbulb moment0
rosie and i started to make things together for fun it was all about fun we sparked off each other and we could make things happen the beginning was a rollercoaster ride from market stalls to london fashion week , from making things from finds in the street to our designs being shot for the millennium issue of vogue the whole thing was more like diving in at the deep end0
we had no set plan to go into the fashion world we both studied fine art at chelsea so making jewellery felt a bit like a continuation of the practice we had started there i used to sneakily read vogue for fun when i was meant to be reading kant after duchamp and the like we did n't have a plan , we thought we might do jewellery for a year , then make zines , then be in a band , and then whatever else we could dream up we had so much momentum at the start we just crashed into the fashion world head first0
tatty devine is laser cut acrylic when we first started we made things from found objects , but as we grew we ran out of cake decorations and dart flights so were on the lookout for something that we could control ourselves the really exciting moment happened when we went on a trip to new york and discovered a whole street of sign makers they were selling little acrylic shapes for bars and shops to create signs with but we knew straight away this had got to be jewellery back in london we found a model maker who had a laser cutter who could do it for us0
fifteen years later and acrylic is still exciting as i have built up such an extensive knowledge on how i can control it and push it into whatever i want it to be it allows us the freedom to create crazy one offs and we can keep all our production in britain0
my mobile phone keeps me awake i do n't have it by my bed any more or i just check my emails and facebook too much0
i ca n't sleep in , i have never been good at lie ins if i wake up at 4am chances are i will plan entire lines of new jewellery or play out the whole day ahead in my mind , then fall asleep again at five to seven and not want to wake up0
something inside just craves making things , new things that do n't exist yet i fire off rosie and we get excited and i go off like a rocket with more ideas for fun things0
i have been so lucky to work with some amazing people over the past 15 years but my dear friend rob ryan is a constant source of inspiration to me , in both his work and the way he runs his business we recently collaborated on a fine jewellery collection in gold and silver , which will always have a special place in my heart0
as creative director i wish i spent more of my time creating new jewellery , but being part of a team running tatty devine keeps me pretty busy i design around 300 pieces a year and some weeks i do nothing but invent new things , but then other weeks i meet with new possible collaborators , create photo shoots , have meetings with stores , design pop up shops that is what is so exciting , i never know what will happen next0
in the spotlight jo fairley from green black 's0
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it seems so unlikely as to be incredible a cry for help sewn into a primark dress first one , now two swansea shoppers have come forward and told the south wales evening post that they found extra labels sewn into items bought last year forced to work exhausting hours read the first degrading sweatshop conditions says the latest , pictured in the 25 june edition of the paper0
primark has promised to investigate , and may hope the labels will turn out to be a hoax perhaps they are a new form of direct action , carried out with a needle in the changing rooms or even by a mole on the inside \?0
but two months after the anniversary of the rana plaza factory collapse in bangladesh , when most of those injured and bereaved by the disaster are still waiting for compensation though primark , unlike other retailers who have admitted to a presence in the factory , has contributed to the compensation fund the secret message hidden inside a piece of women 's clothing is a startling image could a garment worker somewhere in the developing world really reach across the heads of managers , unions , manufacturers , governments , western multinationals and shopfloors into the wardrobe of an ordinary shopper , to make a complaint \? and if so , what do they want us to do about it \?0
improve their working conditions , is the obvious answer but how \? one anonymous senior executive from a big high street retailer recently told the guardian that shoppers do n't care about conditions , and research shows most prefer inexpensive over respect for human rights if consumers were more bothered about workers , goes this argument , the industry would progress0
campaigners , including the designer katharine hamnett , call this a cop out differences between retailers are proof that they , too , drive change european brands have gone further than those in the us in their support for bangladeshi trade unions in the aftermath of the rana plaza catastrophe , though matalan and benetton have yet to make any contribution to the compensation fund despite admitting links with the factory0
but it is true that the rise of ethical shopping , or what us sociologist juliet schor calls conscious consumption , has made limited headway in fashion it is possible to choose free range over factory produced eggs even in convenience stores much harder to opt to pay a premium of a couple of pounds for a t shirt that comes with ethical plus points0
in part this is down to the sheer complexity of the fashion supply chain perhaps the most poignant and ironic thing about the message in a primark dress , is that as far away as the machine operators in the stitch and sew factories of bangladesh and elsewhere might appear , they are far closer to us than most of the other millions of people involved in making our clothes0
thanks in part to the publicity surrounding the rana plaza disaster , we can at least imagine the men and women who sew them but before a cotton dress is cut and stitched it is dyed and printed before that it is woven from yarn into cloth before that it is spun from raw cotton into yarn and before that it is planted , picked , and ginned \( or cleaned \) cotton is an agricultural commodity and the world 's most important non food crop , grown on all five continents and by some of the poorest people in the world0
long before we got to meet dorset fishermen at the farmer 's market , stories about where food comes from was part of the story advertisers told us think of the man from del monte , or the cows on ben jerry 's ice cream people like to see the name of the farmer who grew their carrots on the supermarket packaging , and picture pigs in fields rather than crates0
fashion simply ca n't deliver this kick , or not without tremendous efforts on the parts of specialists such as bruno pieters , whose recently launched honest by label provides details of exactly where and how each item was made the story of textile production is the story of industrialisation , of thrilling technological innovation in the north of england but it is also the story of slavery and the destruction of textile manufacturing in india , as ian jack wrote last week it 's no wonder this cry of rage from a garment factory , whoever put it there , pricks our consciences even if we can hardly begin to understand why0
fashion retailer jane norman is to disappear from the high street after its owner put it into administration0
the uk brand has had financial problems in the past with its current owner , edinburgh woollen mill , buying a pared down version of the chain out of administration in 20110
in a statement confirming the appointment of a restructuring firm grant thornton , the company said it was no longer able to continue to support its loss making uk and ireland retail stores it said the 24 store chain had been placed in administration in a move that puts 157 jobs at risk0
like many retailers , we have seen extremely challenging conditions on the high street for several years in what is a very competitive sector in young fashion , said the company while we have made every effort for a number of years to makes those stores work , that part of the business is no longer viable0
jane norman employs 57 full time staff and about 100 part time we intend to continue trading the stores for as long as possible with a view to achieving the best outcome for all concerned , in particular those people based in the stores , said grant thornton partner les ross it is likely , however , that store closures are inevitable0
the brand will not be axed altogether edinburgh woollen mill , which also owns peacocks , intends to sell its clothing online and in department stores overseas we fundamentally believe in the jane norman brand and its future as a web and international concessions business , it said for that reason we have taken the difficult decision to restructure the business to focus on future opportunities0
with a cream leather lounger strategically placed under a map of the world labelled the world is ours , the manchester office of boohoo founder mahmud kamani has the menace of a bond villain 's lair0
kamani and his business partner carol kane are indeed plotting world domination but their weapon of choice is fashion website boohoo com with its 8 maxi dresses and 12 jeans the retailer is giving primark a run for its money as its targets fashion hungry 16 to 24 year olds with limited finances0
the map does n't need dots , explains kamani we 're going to get everywhere for many years boohoo had been quietly going about its business in a rundown former mill but the kamani family sacrificed anonymity in march when they pressed the button on a stock market listing that earned them a fortune and a large amount of scrutiny from potential investors0
the retailer has an impressive track record , having gone from a standing start in 2007 to profits of nearly 11m from sales of 110m in the year to the end of february it has just completed the first of several phases of expansion planned for its burnley warehouses , which will eventually be able to handle sales of 1bn so far so asos , the fast growing fashion website , which until recently was a stock market darling0
after running a private business for decades , becoming a stock market pawn can be a shock for entrepreneurs used to doing what they think is best kamani is a refreshingly straight talker and reportedly told analysts at a recent meeting that boohoo 's mobile website was shit he is coy when asked about it and his pr offers that it is being upgraded0
the listing has been a baptism of fire for the senior team , including kamani 's brother jalal , who is trading director after debuting at 50p the shares soared to 85p but are now back just below the offer price0
the company 's office has the air of a start up , with crowded banks of desks in every room , shabby paintwork and trendy twentysomethings running around looking busy in the foyer a man is sorting hangers into giant cardboard boxes with more than 500 staff the company has outgrown the warren and has just bought another building around the corner0
the ipo reaped 240m for the family and board members , but the pair have not been on a shopping spree kamani has a rolls royce phantom parked outside and kane drives a shiny tank like land rover , but they are not new and although kane is doing up an old house in staffordshire she jokes it would be nice to have a bathroom0
indeed kamani labours the point that boohoo is not an overnight success but the culmination of decades of graft this is not an eight year story this is a family business that 's been going for 30 years0
a key figure is mahmud 's elderly father abdullah , who escaped war torn kenya in the 60s to start a new life in the north west with his wife and four children abdullah 's first venture was selling handbags on a market stall , but he went on to found what would become a successful family textile business , supplying high street names such as new look and primark , before he focused on boohoo0
it was a case of rags to riches for my dad , explains kamani he bought his first rolls royce 30 years ago and let my eldest brother jalal drive it out of the garage he adds my father is 80 and comes into work every day0
kamani appears to have inherited his father 's work ethic and is either on the phone or looking at messages on one of his two handsets when the conversation lulls he is momentarily distracted by an email and elbows kane it turns out that the latest sales figures have come through and he is surprised how good they are she quickly explains that a promotion has just kicked in0
people have invested in us and that 's an honour , he continues we work hard we worked hard when we were on the market stalls we work hard now it 's what we 've always done i do n't have another hobby or life i want to walk into my office an old man0
after proving useful in the runup to the flotation , the comparison with asos stopped being favourable earlier this month , when asos blamed the strong pound and heavy discounting for a massive profit warning the alert spooked investors , wiping as much as 40 off asos 's share price on the day and pulling boohoo down with it0
it has led to a dramatic reappraisal of asos 's prospects , with morgan stanley analyst anisha singhai slashing her price for the stock from 40 to 25 \( asos suffered a further setback this weekend when a fire at its barnsley warehouse forced it to stop taking orders \) on the surface the fashion websites have a lot in common , but there are key differences while asos carries 75 , 000 products , including 1 , 000 third party brands , boohoo stocks just 9 , 000 of its own clothing lines0
kane , who is co chief executive of the listed group , says the focus on own brand is key we 're in full control of our pricing structure all the way through , she says if you want to promote your own brand you have n't got any restrictions0
after working together for more than 20 years kane set up its design team in 1993 the co chief executives are prone to interrupting each other any business doing international trade will have challenges on foreign exchange , continues kamani but we only sell boohoo , so we command the price0
unusually boohoo buys very small quantities of stock , 300 500 pieces at a time , with one in four orders then repeated because this is an e commerce business you 've got to be fresh all the time , says kane a traditional retailer might buy three or four styles but we 'll buy 25 that way we 've covered off the overall volume required and the one that really works we 'll get back into0
at the moment boohoo has seven major markets , including the uk , us and france , although it ships to more than 100 despite the breakneck growth of recent years the cream lounger still looks pristine kamani says he never uses it for brainstorming sessions once i was really tired and actually laid on it and tried to rest , he says but every fucker kept walking through the door because i always say my door 's open0
the textile and clothing industry is the second largest employer after agriculture in the developing world , and a large percentage of this workforce are women research shows that empowering and investing in women has a cumulative bonus women are likely to spend their income on their children and families , on education , health and nutrition , bringing long term positive change and prosperity to communities0
there are numerous fashion brands making a strong social impact but restricted to their local markets because i am aware of the role that fashion plays in our lives and the lives of those that create it , i decided to support these brands and bring them to a global mainstream market via the online boutique fashion compassion0
as of april , more than 53 , 000 palestine refugees from syria were seeking safety and shelter from the continuing conflict in lebanon one of the first brands fashion compassion partnered was palestyle , a brand providing jobs and an income to palestinian refugee women in camps in lebanon and jordan0
with a vision of becoming a leading accessory brand in the middle east , fashion compassion worked as its retailer , agent and distributor , helping to build its market in pakistan and securing its stock in the british museum palestyle started with a small team of 20 women who used their skills and craftsmanship to add traditional embroidery and designs to fashion pieces , and today works with 100 women , investing in community projects such as the water tank exchange program , which has provided clean water to over 4 , 000 refugees0
rags2riches is another brand creating positive change through fashion , working with women in payatas , one of the poorest parts of the philippine capital according to the payatas poverty alleviation foundation , almost 40 of the active population are unemployed and nearly half are earning less than 4 , 000 philippine pesos \( 100 \) a month0
many women living in payatas were part of the cottage industry of rug weavers controlled by middle men , leaving them with minimal money for the work they created rags2riches was created to give these skilled women fair access to the market it has formed a partnership with well known filipino designers who have transformed the scrap material into high end fashion accessories in three years , the brand has supported more than 400 women \( pdf \) , upcycled more than 500 tons of scrap cloth , and increased the earning potential of artisans from less than 0 02 per day to more than 10 per day0
in rwanda , indego africa is working with women to support them through economic empowerment and education this summer it is launching a leadership academy in kigali that will provide business training for 100 emerging artisan leaders over the next two years indego africa has taken the work of its artisans to a global level by partnering with the likes of j crew , eileen fisher , toms and nicole miller0
another social enterprise , sougha , was established by the khalifa fund in the united arab emirates to preserve and promote the traditions of women emirati artisans sougha creates economic opportunities for isolated local communities by reviving their skills and connecting them to new markets due to religious and cultural restrictions , the women do n't have access to the outside work , so the sougha team visits these artisans , refines their products and sells them to a global market0
as an online retailer the social impact of fashion compassion is not limited to just providing a platform for socially responsible brands it also creates awareness around sustainability , and supports girls' education through its partnership with the united nations world food program , which provides school meals and take home rations as an incentive for poor families to send their daughters to school , while giving girls the nutrients they need to focus in class0
ethical fashion companies do not have to compete with big retailers they are different and can grow alongside them since the rana plaza factory collapse , steps have been taken by bigger brands to look into transparency , code of conduct , working conditions and wages retailers cannot afford another such disaster to happen , and checks are being introduced to ensure better standards the bigger players will always dictate the fashion landscape but small retailers can also have a profound impact on the industry0
as consumers , we need to assess our needs , desires and the part we play in the cycle of consumption fashion has the power to bring positive change to the most disadvantaged women around the world , but it is only with the support of us all that the sustainable fashion industry can boom and grow0
ayesha mustafa is founder and director of fashion compassion , an online sustainable fashion retailer providing a platform and market to socially responsible brands from developing countries0
the fashion hub is funded by h m all content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled advertisement feature find out more here0
join the community of sustainability professionals and experts become a gsb member to get more stories like this direct to your inbox0
the other day , i woke up to find several sexually explicit photos of myself in my inbox some of them showed me doing things i 'd already written about in the widely quoted account of my encounter with photographer terry richardson at age 19 others showed me doing things of which i had and have no memory at all my body language is stiff , but a close reading of my face reveals nothing , even to me the lights are on , but no one 's home0
i have two different haircuts0
please let me know if it is indeed you , and if so , whether you think it 's two occasions and you forgot , or what , new york magazine reporter benjamin wallace wrote in the email0
this was not entirely unexpected a little while before that , i came across a photo of richardson reaching out to grab my breast it jogged a vague memory of uncle terry groping me without asking something i was always terrified would happen when i was modeling for guys with cameras but which i did n't precisely recall happening in the shoot i wrote about it made me wonder what else i was n't remembering0
it was not a very good feeling to have , least of all when i 'd already spoken at length about my experience in the belief that i was telling the absolute truth i worried what conclusions wallace would draw for his readers my conclusions would , i figured , be somewhat different trauma particularly sexual trauma affects memory , often in ways that allow predators to traumatize their victims while simultaneously rendering them unreliable witnesses to their own lives0
on monday morning , instead of pictures , i woke up to wallace 's cover story , is terry richardson an artist or a predator \? is that supposed to be a trick question \?0
from roman polanski to woody allen and thousands of nice guys in between , it should be obvious by now that artists and predators are n't mutually exclusive sexual predators are n't drooling monsters that hide in caves they are husbands , fathers , employees , friends and , yes , sometimes artists why is this so hard for some people to understand \?0
but figuring the headline might have been written by an editor looking to titillate , i read on0
in more than 7 , 000 words , the false dichotomy of the headline is never directly addressed despite all the words the article spends illuminating richardson 's glamorous but messed up childhood , his nepotistic career arc and what various people think of his provocative work call me crazy , but allegations of sexual harassment and abuse are a little more important than what type of sandwich uncle terry likes to eat in the morning0
it treats the central question of richardson 's many critics was meaningful consent given for the sex acts in these images \? in a cursory fashion , given that it 's the theme this major magazine article promises to explore it is n't as though the author lacked for material wallace and i spoke for over an hour , and the only quote he used from me was in regard to the aforementioned images0
stories from other people were treated similarly brief points about their accusations accompanied by parenthetical denials from richardson 's camp charlotte waters 's story of assault was mentioned , but accompanied by the mitigating mention that she referred to herself as a pervert in an introductory email almost as though that was a green light for whatever sena cech released a statement about how her story was mischaracterized by wallace0