Model & People Tree Ambassador, Dean Newcombe talks about being fair trade in a man’s world:
PT: Are men slower than women to adopt ethics, Fair Trade and sustainable lifestyles?
Dean: I lead a charitable organisation that is more than 70% ladies, and only 2 really active members are men. Women are more compassionate than guys, so it’s not a surprise to me that they do a better job than us men when it comes to shopping Fair Trade. Perhaps men can’t see so well the long term benefits of Fair Trade as women do. It’s not like carrying a bag, or opening a door, the gentleman traditions where there is instant gratification. Fair Trade takes patience and a lot of vision I think.
PT: What do you think is the easiest way to get men to change?
Dean: Fashion is one of the few industries led by females. I would like to think that it would become ‘cool’ to be seen in Fair Trade clothing. As soon as men know that women will be impressed by this, I see a huge shift. We are simple creatures really. I of course already do think it’s cool to be seen wearing Fair Trade and love it when I connect with people doing similar things and with similar interests.
PT: How can men buy Fair Trade & still be stylish?
Dean: When I decided I would no longer buy anything that wasn’t what I considered ‘ethical’, I must admit, it was pretty tough. A few years later though, having learned a lot and with so many more choices coming every year, it’s very easy to be ethical, Fair Trade and stylish! It’s no secret that People Tree is my secret weapon with nearly half of my wardrobe dedicated to their items, but I also love finding vintage or second hand stuff. Very few things are made like they were in the generations before mine. Furniture, home-wear, clothes – I love durable and classic items of the past! Recently I bought boots from a cool French brand called Veja, some cologne from Herban Cowboy and sunglasses from Colin Leslie. Almost anything I need now, I can find ethically. Especially when it comes to fashion!
PT: What else do you do to be green?
Dean: Apart from what I buy, I also try my best to be aware of what I eat and to be mindful of the environment. Picking as much as I can from organic sources and opting for grass-fed naturally raised meats. I recycle, of course! No reason for any of us not to do that very well these days. Also I buy local if I can and I’m aware of air miles.
PT: Is it a compromise or frustrating? How do you keep yourself motivated?
Dean: It can be frustrating only buying ethical and so limiting your choices, but I think of it more as a challenge and know it’s better than the alternative. I never stop dreaming of the world that I want to live in. That won’t come through mindless buying and ignoring many of the world’s problems we all face today.
PT: What is your impression of Fair Trade and People Tree’s work on the ground in Bangladesh?
Dean: I always loved the idea of Fair Trade, but having the opportunity to see it personally in northern parts of Bangladesh made it real for me. It’s exciting to actually watch someone making the garment that you will wear. You carry that feeling every time you wear that shirt. That’s really special. Your clothing has added value from that special meaning.
PT: Why did you become a People Tree Ambassador?
Dean: I’m so happy to be an Ambassador for People Tree. I have loved this company ever since I first knew about them. I believe in their mission. To know and do nothing is almost as bad as being part of the problem, so I am trying to do my bit. Perhaps as a model and actor, I can just make my small difference towards a better, fairer world.
Shop People Tree Menswear here.