• “Clothes to Die for” The BBC2 Documentary

     

    Here in the People Tree office, all the staff were very moved by this week’s BBC2 This World documentary, ‘Clothes to Die For’, available on BBC2 iPlayer for another two days but if you don’t have the time to watch it you can download a copy within the next two days and watch it later. It is beautifully shot and really worth a watch.

    The documentary shows the beauty and chaos of Bangladesh, in particular Dhaka, as well as the beauty of the people. On my recent trip to Dhaka with People Tree to visit our Producer Groups in Bangladesh, I was struck by how inherently artistic the country is. Simple cars, bikes and rickshaws that we take for granted are covered in such beautiful art work and decoration, not to mention the women’s saris, with batik, hand embroidery, sequins and incredibly vibrant colours. The sense of community intermingled with an enormous chaos, insane traffic and to-ing and fro-ing is what makes Bangladesh such a wonderful country. Unfortunately amongst this beautiful chaos, is a darker side of life, that can be almost compared to a type of slavery, people trapped in a cycle of poverty by subsistence wages and lack of education.

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    My heart truly broke to hear the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse speak about their experience. It was a déjà vu back to Karachi, Pakistan where I was in January 2013 with the Clean Clothes Campaign interviewing families of victims of a garment factory fire  echoing exactly the same tragic stories.  The incalculable tragedy of multiple family members dying in such tragic and unnecessary circumstances. Families left without bread winners, without compensation and struggling to get by on a daily basis. Families left with a sense that for the price of a cheap pair of jeans, the world had forgotten them and didn’t care. It’s sometimes hard to identify with these tragedies until you meet victims face to face, it’s hard to convey the sense of injustice I felt as well as pain for these mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters who spent days searching through burnt remains for their loved ones. I was really happy to see that ‘Clothes to Die For’ gave a real sense of the tragedy and loss, without being sensational, but by just focusing on the personal stories and experiences giving the workers a platform and a voice, and allowing them to tell their own story.

    I firmly believe that we all have a part to play in changing the fashion industry for better. After the Rana Plaza building collapse everyone is looking to play the blame game. But the reality is we are all involved and we each need to take on the responsibility that lies with us. This responsibility is different for each party, the factory owners, the Bangladeshi government, the buyers, the retailers, the governments of the retailers and us, the consumers. We are part of a chain; the garment passes through the workers hands and ends up in ours. No one is fully to blame, but likewise no one devoid of responsibility. And as consumers we can do something, we can shop better, buy fair and demand fair. This will make a difference.

    Working at People Tree means being part of something which gives consumers the option of buying fairly made clothes, where profit is also driven back into the community and where producers have the right to freedom of association, a living wage and a safe work place. People Tree develops long term relationships with Producer Groups not defined by cost and price, but defined by opportunity, development, capacity building and potential.

    After seeing both sides of the industry, I just hope that conventional businesses will start to follow the same principles of Fair Trade and that consumers will also support fair fashion to help keep it viable for everyone in the supply chain.

    Peopletree’s Take – One Year On: Rana Plaza Building Collapse FULL FILM

     

    Clare Nally is Peopletree’s Fair Trade & Sustainable supply chain coordinator & outreach

    Clare has a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre of Human Rights, NUIG and has spent a year working with the Dublin branch of the Clean Clothes Campaign, an international alliance of organisations set up to improve working conditions in the global garment manufacturing industry.

     

     

  • People Tree provide clothes for an ethical fashion show to raise awareness and funds for child soldiers in Uganda

    People Tree is supporting the ‘I am Somebody’s Child Soldier’ campaign by gifting pieces from our current collection for an auction at a fashion show in Uganda this August.

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    People Tree would like to share with you a very important campaign. We fully support this cause and would like you to join with us in doing all you can to help.

    The situation right now in northern Uganda is that child soldiers are not given the necessary mental health support once they have been rescued from their captors. Emilio Ovuga’s study, on mental health and child soldiers in Uganda reports that out of 58 girls and 44 boys, 87.3% of the children reported having experienced ten or more war-related traumatic psychological events. And, in a recent study by Jan Stochi, at least 6 years after the war, 95% of former child soldiers linked their depression and anxiety to war related experiences.

    If this situation remains, child soldiers will continue to turn to violence, drugs and homelessness as some of the social consequences of undiagnosed and untreated mental health.

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    People Tree admirer, Shirah Mansaray is a lawyer and a humanitarian. She is organising a fashion show, in Kampala on 16th August 2014, to raise funds that will provide rescued child soldiers in northern Uganda with mental health treatment and rehabilitation.

     

    Child Soldiers 2

     

    The fashion show is committed to raising awareness of mental health issues suffered by rescued child soldiers and raising £16,000. In the initial stages of the charity, they will be working with 162 child soldiers that were rescued from the civil war in northern Uganda. The charity will fund specialist psychotherapists to provide ongoing support and rehabilitation for rescued child soldiers suffering from post war trauma.

    The name of the campaign is ‘I am Somebody’s Child Soldier’. See video here: http://vimeo.com/99996587

    After the charity has established a firm presence, the aim is to then set up a rehabilitation centre for those child soldiers that have been excluded from their communities, where ongoing support from qualified psychotherapists will continue to be provided.

    Please sign their petition calling on World Leaders and International Organisations to act on mental ill health amongst child soldiers- http://chn.ge/1jfKGH3

    You can also show your support by sharing this information on: Facebook,

    Instagram – @i_am_somebodys_child_soldier

    Twitter – @Rescue_My_Mind

    Also, they have a donation page - www.igg.me/at/iamsomebodyschildsoldier

    And an Email address – info@iamsomebodyschildsoldier.org

    Designers and Stores can donate their old collections by sending them here – 47 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3QB, United Kingdom.

    Registered charity number 1157761.

     

  • Pants To Poverty – New Fashion Revolution Collection

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    Today on the People Tree blog, we are all excited about the brand new Pants To Poverty range! The UK’s leading sustainable underwear brand have been very busy and are launching their new Fashion Revolution Collection, shot at their birth place – The Royal Exchange in the heart of London. They are good friends in the Fair Trade movement and they’ve been making glorious Fair Trade and organic pants for nine years, since their first collection as part of Nelson Mandela’s Global Campaign to Make Poverty History.

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    This year Pants To Poverty were part of the global Fashion Revolution Day campaign, which mobilised thousands of people around the world to help prevent disasters like Rana Plaza from ever happening again. A cause everyone here at People Tree fully supports. In London and in India they held “The Pantrepreneur Challenge”, where the winners travelled to meet the makers of their amazing pants.

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    Pants To Poverty are an inspiration, they want to raise “undie-wearness” and change the world!

    Check out their new and improved website http://www.pantstopoverty.com/

    Thank you for reading and from everyone at Pants To Poverty and People Tree – as Pants to Poverty love to say HAVE A  PANTASTIC Day!

    If you require more information about the range please get in touch with the Marketing Director, Romain Renoux: romain@pantstopoverty.com

  • Works of Wind – Ethical Pop-Up Shop off Oxford Street

    On Sunday the 15th June 2014 it was Global Wind Day – a worldwide event discovering wind, its power and the possibilities it holds to change our world. To celebrate this Renewable UK, the leading not for profit renewable energy trade association, asked us to be part of ‘Works of Wind’ – A pop-up event inspired by wind power and ethical fashion and art.

    People Tree Stand at Works of Wind

    The event was held on Thursday 19th June at the Nancy Victor Gallery and sustainable designers, artists and other companies were invited to display their work. People Tree and the other companies at the event have a shared goal, to look out for the environment and making the world a cleaner and friendlier place.

    Works of Wind

    Other designers at the event were Mark Beesley, an artist and illustrator who uses wind turbines for the source of his inspiration and creates beautifully striking paintings; Environmental Justice Foundation, a non-profit organisation working to protect the environment and defend human rights; Cock and Bull, an up-and-coming sustainable menswear brand and neighbour to us at our East London office; South London Saddles, who provide handmade leather custom bicycle seats; and What Daisy Did, a young inspirational couple who have turned their experience travelling India into an eco-friendly, Fair Trade business venture, making exquisitely crafted bags.

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    It was lovely to see all these designers supporting the event too and great to get to speak to members of the public about our work and share the message of the importance of sustainability.

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  • Farm to Fashion Father’s Day Guide

    Do you have plans with the family for this Father’s Day? Brunch, BBQ, or however you celebrate the dads in your life, here’s your guide to a delicious – and stylish – weekend. Here at the People Tree, we love locally sourced and organic food. We are passionate about the provenance of what we eat and drink, just like we are passionate about the provenance of the clothes we sell. In this special post, we’re highlighting a few of our favourite recipes made with locally sourced and organic ingredients, alongside our favourite People Tree dresses for the season! Read to the end to find out how to save £10 on the dresses featured in this blog.

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    Grilled Halloumi and Melon Salad with Bacon and Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

    Sara, Digital Marketing Manager: I am a mum to four young children. My husband, Mark, is truly a superhero dad. He’s the first one home in the evening, so usually cooking is his gig. So in our house Father’s Day is all about celebrating Mark. We let him have a lie in and then treat him to  brunch. On the menu this year? A delicious grilled halloumi and melon salad, served with locally sourced bacon from Field and Flower and homemade cinnamon rolls. For brunch, I love pairing something sweet with something savory like a salad made with halloumi cheese.  The salad is made with melon, rocket, fresh herbs, and halloumi that is grilled in garlic, olive oil and sea salt. Find all of the details at Abel and Cole.

    • Slice a melon into thin wedges. Carve the peel off.
    • Crush 6 garlic cloves. Heat up a large frying pan and add a few drizzles of olive oil. Add the crushed garlic and halloumi. Fry until golden on each side, being careful not to burn the garlic.
    • Layer the halloumi and melon on a bed of rocket. Top with a handful of fresh mint and basil leaves. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt.
    Orla Kiely Sleeveless Dress, £75

    Orla Kiely Sleeveless Dress, £75

    For the perfect sunny Father’s Day brunch, I plan to wear my favourite Orla Kiely Dress. The dress is perfect for feeling pretty and cool on hut summer days. Plus the Flower Girls print is adorable!

    A Ginger Twist on the Classic Pimms

    Jo, Merchandising Manager: This Father’s Day, I’ll be spending the afternoon with my dad enjoying a BBQ. On a sunny June afternoon, nothing’s better with BBQ than Pimms. For the best Pimms and lemonade, as well as the usual strawberries, citrus fruits, cucumber & mint, try adding some ginger beer (equal parts to the lemonade) to give it an extra kick. Here’s my recipe:

    • Mix 1 part Pimms with 1.5 parts chilled lemonade and 1.5 parts chilled ginger beer
    • Add sliced cucumber, orange and strawberry along with mint and serve over ice.
    Jessica Stripe Dress, £80

    Jessica Stripe Dress, £80

    What will I be wearing at our family BBQ? I’m planning on the Jessica Dress. The handwoven fabric has a relaxed feel and I love the stripes! The Jessica Dress is perfect for sipping Pimms at family BBQs.

    Looking for a non-alcoholic alternative? This Abel and Cole recipe for Very Impressive Elderflower Presse sounds delicious…and the chef is wearing a People Tree dress!

    A Spicy Burger on the Grill

    Beth, Graphic Designer: My dad will use any excuse to crank up the BBQ, so there’s no better way to celebrate Father’s Day together! He loves spicy food and I know he’ll love this great burger and salsa recipe from Riverford Farm.

    • In a bowl, combine 1 finely chopped onion, 2 diced tomatoes, 1 finely chopped and deseeded red chili with a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and add chopped fresh parsley or coriander to make the salsa.
    • Grill some locally sourced, organic beef burgers (or veggie burgers, if that’s your style) and buns
    • Serve burgers topped with lettuce, mayonnaise and salsa
    Christy Dress, £78

    Christy Dress, £78

    My Father’s Day plans call for the Cristy Dress. This check pattern is fresh and modern, and contrasts really well with the vintage fit & flare shape – very flattering!

    Simple Strawberry Dessert

    Alice, Buying Assistant: For Father’s Day this year, it’s my job to bring dessert. It’s summer, so I don’t want to fuss around in the kitchen. For a simple summer dessert, try the following:

    • Start with mini meringues – preferably homemade. These can be made up to a couple of days in advance as long as they are kept in an airtight box
    • Chop fresh organic British strawberries and place on top of mini meringues
    • Use a fork to break up and mash a small handful of strawberries. Add a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, or more to taste.Pour over the top of the strawberries and meringues, add a sprinkling of sugar if needed, and fresh mint to dress.
    Lois Dress, £75

    Lois Dress, £75

    This Sunday I’m planning to wear the Lois Dress. Nothing says summer quite like a floral dress and the Lois is really on-trend in sunshine yellow!

    Why spend Father’s Day in the kitchen?

    Nathalie, Wholesale Manager: I’m not sure my dad even knows Sunday is Father’s Day – he’s just glad I’m coming home to see him! Why bother cooking? My brothers and I will take him to the pub for a lunch. I will be wearing a the Michelle Shift Dress with gladiator sandals.

    Michelle Shift Dress, £110

    Michelle Shift Dress, £110

    Want to take your dad to a pub for lunch? Why not try the Duke of Cambridge, Britain’s first and only organic certified pub? This is where the lucky winners of our Fair Trade Day contest will go for dinner in London.

    Want to save £10 on the dresses featured in this blog? Visit our website to find out how you can enjoy £10 off our favourite summer styles. This offer ends Monday the 16th of June.

    P.S. Why not pop over to the Abel and Cole website? Abel and Cole are hosting a Dress Up your Salad competition this week for a chance to win a People Tree dress and a salad box. Hurry, contest ends 18 June 2014.