The Huffington Post UK caught up with People Tree´s CEO, Safia Minney, to talk about Emma Watson´s designs, Occupy London and a human approach to big business.
Does the recession show that people still view ethical products as a luxury item when squeezed?
Green consumers are anxious like other consumers, they´re trading down and buying fewer new products, but we have found still tremendous loyalty.
What would you say to those people who continue to buy unethical brands?
The reality for most of the products we buy is that they haven´t been made to respect environmental laws. Most of the high street isn´t operating in a sustainable or responsible way.
Is it defensible to buy unethical clothes if you don´t have much money?
Increasingly consumers that care about society are thinking about creative solutions in how they use their money, they are buying in charity shops, and sharing clothes with friends. However, fast fashion and mass consumption is higher than it was 20 years ago, which is a big challenge for us. Recently as well, there has been so little investigative journalism going on that shows just how unethical high street fashion generally is.
What are the environmental effects of mass-produced factory clothing?
We use cotton which is low Carbon, whereas it takes unsustainable oil to make synthetic fabrics. There is so much energy going into making products that have very little value to society. Millions of tons of clothes that are thrown away are largely not bio-degradable. Using organic cotton saves a tonne of CO2 each year, for each loom. We´re promoting both social and environmental justice.
Why did you decide to join in the Occupy London movement?
People Tree has been campaigning on transparency and we wanted to join in a people´s movement. We´re all about positive job creation and making sure that livelihoods are not stripped from artisans. Economics is a truly global issue.
How much creative input did Emma Watson have?
She was very active in the design process. Every evening when she was finishing last Harry Potter film, she would come to work with us, drawing ideas herself, and then she came with us to Bangladesh to see how our work is helping people. She was keen to build in hand-sewn details where possible. She is a very well-informed girl about the issues surrounding fashion.
What have you got in the pipeline?
Next season we will have Orla Kiely collaborating with us. We also have something special lined up for the Olympics.
The liveeco team