People Tree Model and Ambassador Rebecca Pearson traveled Bangladesh to model for our summer catalogue, which is landing on our customer’s doorsteps soon. Each day this week, we are sharing notes from Rebecca’s Bangladesh diary. Read about Day 1, and come back tomorrow for Day 3.
Day 2: Getting to Know Thanapara
Smugly I lie in, while everyone else works before breakfast. The guesthouse is comfortable but is not exactly 5 stars. I fast become used to washing using a bucket of cold water. I entertain the thought of adopting this bracing method when I return to London (this doesn’t happen!).
Breakfast is fruit, sugary tea (this becomes addictive) and curried onions (not something I’m mad about). We then tour the factory, and see the entire process of making a garment, from the dying of threads through to the weaving, sewing and embroidery. It is wonderful to see how much effort and care goes into making each garment.
Hand weaving is usually a male occupation – it’s tough work and the women work half a day weaving and then thread bobbins for the other half of the day. Dean, our male model, attempts to weave, but cannot master the co-ordination and speed that seems so effortless when the women here do it!
We then sit together with the women of Thanapara. Safia tells the artisans what People Tree have been doing to develop Fair Trade in the UK. I find this interesting because it shows how collaborative and equal the whole process of making People Tree garments truly is. Each of us models was then invited to say something to the women. I describe meeting ethical fashion activist Livia Firth when we were both wearing People Tree dresses.
In the evening, we take a boat trip and watch the sun set over the water. I get used to Dean being my ‘boyfriend’ for the shoot. Angela, People Tree’s Japanese model, looks serene and elegant, whilst I trip over, hair flying everywhere. Finally it’s time for dinner and an early night. We’re set to start early – 4:30 am – the next day…