- What motivated you to become a ‘model with conscience?
Dean: I love modelling, my job has offered me amazing experiences around the world, but there has always been so much more that I wanted to share. Modelling gave me an audience and a voice, and now speaking out about the things I believe in makes me feel complete in this sometimes quite shallow industry.
Sofi: Modeling is a great platform to share my values about the world. It’s really an important position I have been granted.
- Tell us about the motivation behind this walk, and what inspired you to do this trip of extreme endurance?
Dean: I love travel, I love adventure and I love fitness and I often put them together to do things that make me seem quite mad! I loved the idea of using my body to raise awareness and funding for garment workers in Bangladesh but I needed a solid reason. A good idea. In the end I figured perhaps what some sweatshop workers are already doing over there is challenge enough for any man or women. So mimicking their conditions untimely seemed like the plan of action to raise awareness and funds.
Sofi: I was so happy Dean, IMA and People Tree approached me with this project. I don’t think they ever expected me to be crazy enough to actually walk the whole thing, but I love the idea of the challenge and am excited to help in this cool and unique way.
- As a model you work with fashion on a daily basis… What attracts you to work in fashion, what do you love about fashion?
Dean: To work with ethical designer labels and cool artists is a dream job I guess, but to be honest, for me what really gets me excited about how I made my living is the people, the places and the activities. My fashion passion is definitely in ethical buying, Fair Trade and used / recycled goods. I just love the feeling when I have an item I love that gives me a clear conscience too!
Sofi: Fashion is a great way to express who you are. Working in Japan made me realise the difference in fashion from country to country. As I get older I become more conscious of where I get my own clothes and who made them. I think we all need to care more about the people actually making our clothes!
- Do you believe fashion and ethics can work together? And what needs to change about the fast fashion industry?
Dean: Fashion and ethics not only can be in harmony, they should be! It’s almost unfashionable for me for items not to be ethical! If people just listened deeply to what they wanted to wear and their taste and style then I am sure fast fashion wouldn’t exist. Fast fashion is you being told what to wear. Real fashion surely comes from a deeper place.
Sofi: I think fashion can be ethical. If everyone started buying into ethical fashion then it would be popular and so would be fashion. I think it’s a matter of education. The bigger high street brands need to become part of the inevitable and source their clothes more ethically for real big change.
- What attracted you to working with and supporting People Tree and Fair Trade?
Dean: People Tree is my dream brand. It was meant to be, I just had to find them. It’s the job that despite whichever cover I have done, which show I have walked, really, the alternative matters! 100% Fair Trade, 100% organic, 100% really fits with my values.
Sofi: For me representing a brand that is really making a change in this world, was so important! Fair Trade just makes sense. Why wouldn’t we support this movement?!
- Tell us a small bit about your trip to Swallows? What left the biggest impression on you from your trip to Bangladesh?
Dean: It’s a little over a year since I was fortunate to travel to Swallows in Bangladesh. Travel always moulds you and this trip was a powerful one. I saw a lot in just a week, from suffering to unforgettable smiles. The workers at Swallows and the surrounding villages were full of happiness and contentment in life, which was in huge contrast to what we saw in the cities. It was such an inspiring and unforgettable trip.
Sofi: It would be so great if next year I can go and see garment workers lives in Bangladesh or India with my own eyes. That must be so moving and help motivate me and all those around me to support a well needed change!
- With 2015 upon us, what are your hopes and dreams for this year?
Dean: Every year excites me so much as it approaches. I already have a whole lot of things planned. Big things! Here’s hoping I will be able to visit India for the first time with People Tree. Also I will be producing an event for the 4 year anniversary of Tohoku, and I am sure PT will be a part of this, so please watch this space!
Sofi: I would love to become a model known for promoting Fair Trade and Ethical fashion. I’m still so young, but I want to change this world, or at least make my change. I’m excited!
- Any other bits you’d like to add?
Dean: I feel so so grateful that I get to be the guy who really walks this route. I know this will hurt so bad, but nothing will ever erase this memory. It just means so much to me, and it ends 2014 in the best way I could possibly dream. It aims to make a difference to help raise awareness for the urgent need for Fair Trade Fashion.
Sofi: Thank you everyone out there for your amazing support. It’s such a great team. Really I am grateful. Hope we can make a change x