Zandra and Safia launch their exclusive collaboration in Japan

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Get an exclusive inside look at the VIP party with designer Zandra Rhodes and People Tree’s Safia Minney to launch the Zandra Rhodes with People Tree Collaboration and the new Fair Trade Mark at People Tree shop in Tokyo.

One hundred customers and the People Tree team gathered for the VIP party at the People Tree Jiyugaoka (Freedom Hill) shop in Tokyo. At the event, Zandra and Safia shared their passion to challenge the rules of design and fashion.

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“When I started out, no one would buy my designs, so I started my own company,” Zandra told the audience. Safia explained how she had felt uncomfortable not knowing how clothes she bought were made, and that’s why she started a Fair Trade Fashion company.

Both women talked with passion about doing fashion differently and seeing the difference that Fair Trade makes when they visited India earlier in the year.

Safia: After Rana Plaza, who should take responsibility for protecting workers and the environment – is it the fashion industry, consumers, government or media?

Zandra: I think it’s all of us. We need to build awareness so that people know the situation and problem workers face – we all have a big and urgent role to improve things.

Safia: People Tree is launching the WFTO Fair Trade label on their clothes from the next collection – how do you think that this will help?

Zandra: You’ve put in 20 years building partnerships with farmers and artisanal Fair Trade groups, I think consumers will be assured to see the label and that the rights of workers and the environment has been taken into consideration. Hopefully lots of other fashion brands will follow.

Safia: You visited the organic cotton fields and tailors of our collaboration earlier this year – what was the most memorable or surprising things you saw?
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Zandra: I was delighted to see a system of working together that was really ‘family’ and people centered. Putting farmers, family and their communities central to fashion and textile production with a fair price and long term support. I saw schools and ponds for fresh, clean water that benefit the wider community too. It was wonderful to meet the people growing organic cotton for my collection.

Creative Art Of Souls (CAOS), the producer group that tailors the Zandra Rhodes with People Tree dresses and skirts, is a social business too and very connected to conservation as well as Fair Trade. The evening wrapped up with a lot of mobile phone pictures and peace signs. Zandra was told by many that she should be an icon for the Kawaii movement in Japan.

Thank you Japan for a lovely welcome!

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