People Tree’s Diaries – Fashion Revolution 2019
Every year thousands of people across the world come together to remember the people of the Bangladesh Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013. The catastrophe killed 1138 people and injured many more. This tragedy, along with many others, could have been avoided. There were continuous safety and working environment failures and it ultimately left blood on many U.K high street retailers’ hands. The Rana Plaza event marks a watershed moment for the fashion industry – it is no longer acceptable to exploit and abuse people in other countries in the name of fashion. Anyone who fails to see this is on the wrong side of history.
Fashion Revolution 2019
Fast forward to today, the Rana Plaza anniversary marks a week where thousands of people celebrate the lives of the people who make our clothes and demand transparency from brands to tell us #whomademyclothes. This campaign — called Fashion Revolution — is a week of the year to demand for better practices from brands and demand strong standards for all working in the fashion industry. During this week, brands and producers are encouraged to respond with the hashtag #imadeyourclothes and to demonstrate transparency in their supply chain.
People Tree’s Dairies
As part of Fashion Revolution week 2019, Compare Ethics has collaborated with People Tree to uncover who made your clothes. We have taken a deep dive into the supply chain of one of the industry leading ethical brands, and documented the first ever People Tree’s Diaries.
This series of diary entries will show you what it means to be a supplier of People Tree and a day in the life of a People Tree worker.
The Artisan Hut Dairy
Artisan Hut was founded in 2002 by Monju Haque and has its head office and production workshop in Dhaka, India. Artisan Hut has created opportunities for artisans in rural areas such as Narsingdi and Jhenaidha, by using their traditional hand skills of hand weaving, block printing and hand embroidery.
The highly skilled, hand weavers of Bangladesh cannot compete with the fast fashion market, where the main priority is to get a new garment from the design board to the shop floor in 6 weeks. Together with People Tree, Artisan Hut’s mission is to promote and celebrate traditional crafting skills through their beautiful garments.
By focusing on best practice, not speed to market, Artisan Hut workers get a direct positive impact on their wellbeing, and People Tree receive garments that are built to last!
I MADE YOUR CLOTHES DIARY ENTRY – MS. HOSNA AKTER at ARTISAN HUT, BANGLADESH
Job: Assistant Tailor
What do you like about working for Artisan Hut?
Hosna: I like the working environment and the capacity building Artisan Hut provide. I enjoyed participating in the World Fair Trade Day last year and meeting with other Fair Trade organisations and staff.
Can you tell us about your daily working routine?
Hosna: I live with my mother, brother and sister in the Ashkona region of Dhaka, just a 10 minute walk from the office. I usually wake up at 7 o’clock in the morning and get ready to go to the office.
After having my breakfast, I leave the house at 8:45am to be ready to start work at 9am. I have my lunch at home together with my family. I finish work at 5pm and go back home.
I normally rest, watch TV and help my mother with cooking. I also like to visit my family and friends at their homes. I have dinner together with my mother and my brother and sister at 8pm and I go to bed early at around 9pm.
Collection Ms. Hosna Akter worked on:
The Creative Handicrafts Dairy
Creative Handicrafts is a social enterprise based in Mumbai, India, that empowers women from slum communities through providing them with strong ability to achieve economic independence. Since its inception in 1984 and registration in 1994, Creative Handicrafts has slowly grown into a Fair Trade Organisation that supports the women who make textile-based, Fair Trade Certified products.
The focus of Creative Handicrafts is not the women alone but their families too – especially their children. This is reflected in the various educational support projects. In keeping with its mission, Creative Handicrafts also started a catering service managed by women who could not pick up the skill of sewing. This project is now run under the name ‘ASLI FOODS’ and is managed independently by the women themselves.
The team are long standing suppliers of People Tree, the Creative Handcraft’s representative said:
“At Creative Handicrafts, we are grateful for a continuous flow of orders from People Tree as it is here that we can give hope to women of less fortunate backgrounds. Their orders make the women push their technical and tailoring skills to a level they did not see possible and they are thoroughly surprised with the beautiful garments they are able to produce by standing up to the challenge. The People Tree team, constantly innovating, give our women an opportunity to learn and women with little or no basic education have a chance of becoming financially independent.”
I MADE YOUR CLOTHES DIARY ENTRY – MS. CHANDRA SINGH, CREATIVE HANDICRAFTS, INDIA
Job: Stitching Operator
What do you like about working for Creative Handicrafts?
Chandra: I like to stitch, especially new patterns. I like working together as a group with the other women at Creative Handicrafts, there is great unity in our team.
Can you tell us about your typical daily routine?
Chandra: I get up at 5:30am and cook both breakfast and lunch for my family. My husband goes to work and takes the children to their classes. I leave for work at 8:30am to start at 9:30am. I stitch around eight to ten easy pieces or two to three challenging ones a day. I have my lunch break at 1pm and I go home at 6pm.
My children prepare tea for me and after a bit of relaxation I prepare dinner for my family. I go to sleep by 11pm.
Collection Ms. Chandra Singh worked on:
The Dev Tech Dairy
Dev Tech is a small producer group that provides jobs to artisans in rural Bangladesh and has its garment production unit based in Dhaka. They make beautifully unique, hand woven garments, which are one of a kind. Dev Tech, in partnership with People Tree, supports this unique skill of hand weaving. The whole process is done by hand from preparing the yarn for the loom to weaving the fabric, which is then cut and tailored into a People Tree garment.
I MADE YOUR CLOTHES DIARY ENTRY – MR. PATRIAR JONSON GOMES, DEV TECH, BANGLADESH
Job: CEO and Owner
Why did you choose to set up a Fair Trade organisation which focuses on reviving traditional Bangladeshi skills such as hand weaving?
Patriar: Handwoven fabric is environmentally-friendly. The hand weaving process is carbon neutral and can save up to 1 ton of carbon emissions per one hand loom a year. It helps protect our environment and also creates opportunities for disadvantaged artisan groups. We very much enjoy working with People Tree and People Tree customers.
I MADE YOUR CLOTHES DIARY ENTRY – CHIN SNAL, DEV TECH, BANGLADESH
Job: Quality Checker
What do you like about working for Dev Tech?
Chin: I enjoy the working environment at Dev Tech and appreciate the transparency behind the business. The capacity building programme and the office manual are helpful.
Can you tell us about your typical daily routine?
Chin: I live only 10 minutes walking distance from the office, in a place called Khilkhet. I wake up at 7:30am and get ready for work. After having breakfast and preparing my lunch, I leave for the office at 8:45am.
The Dev Tech team have worked on:
BE THE CHANGE
People Tree’s diaries show us that you really can be the change you want to see in the world. This brand provides proof that knowing who made your clothes can be achieved and benefits all those involved.
When a worker has access to a living wage and a safe working environment, it brings a host of wellbeing benefits that ultimately supports the brand in the long term. It still amazes me that some fast fashion outlets fail to see this. Sadly for them, they are on the wrong side of history. People are calling for transparency and best practice. People are demanding to know who made their clothes. It’s about time fast fashion lifted a page from People Tree’s dairies!