Updated: Aug 16, 2021
A little story about a fabulous beach bag and a huge helping of international girl power.
It all started when I spotted the perfect jute bag on the arm of my friend at a lazy, boozy, Sunday lunch in Blanes. I needed it, and as if by magic it was by a brand represented by the Barcelona fashion showroom, Matmila, where my good friend Vanessa works.
She started to tell me about the brand who makes them, and the story behind them and I fell in love with everything about it. In a world which has been consumed by fast, cheap, often wildly unethical fashion. Where we all turn a blind eye when on finding out that the tops we are able to buy for £6 are produced in sweatshops by people making pence a day, the story beind my soon to be favourite bag of the summer, was a beautiful one.
We've all heard about sustainable fashion, many of the big brands we know and love have been forced to adopt an ethical line to their collections to been seen to be doing the right thing. You don't need to scratch too far below the surface to find that the majority of these retail giants are doing the bare minimum to earn the face saving right to label their products with "sustainable".
Not The Jacksons, where my bag is from. Like many fashion and accessories brands, The Jacksons produce their jute "word bags" in Bangladesh. Unlike lots of their peers, they don't use mass factories, facilities with grim working conditions, instead they have built their own powerful workforce of women, who are paid independently and fairly. To us in the west this seems totally normal. In Bangladesh where 29% of girls are married before they are 15, women's rights to own land and property are poor and even matters of rape and domestic violence are often not taken seriously, having your own money gives them independence and improves their social standing.
That's not all, The Jacksons has given the 3000 women who work with them free medical care and schools. This has meant most of the ladies daughters have found it possible to educate their daughters up to college age, in a country where the literacy rate for women is just 55%.
I think it's so important to show a little glimpse of the positive side of the ethical fashion movement in the sea of tales of horror sweatshops and slave labour. It's often easier to look away from the reality of the conditions that buying from our favourite high street stores create. Ignorance can be bliss. Shedding a light on the little projects that make a big difference is such a positive way of showing what we should all be doing more of and how and the magnificent impact it has on communities.
This post isn't in partnership with either company, just an amazing story with fashion and girl power at the heart of it that really touched me.
See you tomorrow.