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17
Apr

Fashion Report 2015

While Sydney Fashion Week has been grabbing headlines of late, today the Australian fashion industry is making news for much less glamorous reasons. Released overnight, the Australian Fashion Report 2015 reveals that only 9% of Australian apparel companies can guarantee that their workers receive a living wage, and only 9% fully trace their cotton. Published by Christian charity organisation Baptist World Aid Australia, the report draws on 18 months of research to give companies an overall grade based on their policies, traceability and transparency, monitoring and training, and workers rights. For the second time, Fairtrade Certified Etiko has topped the list, joined also by Audrey Blue – but some of the other results may surprise you. {continue reading…}

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15
Apr

Ma Te Sai

Ma Te Sai

Helping small-scale artisans reach an international audience, Ma Té Sai lives by a ‘from the village, for the village’ philosophy. Now the village is hitting the big smoke as the lovely folks from this Lao boutique arrive in Australia, bringing with them suitcases full of the finest Southeast Asian arts and crafts. Based in Luang Prabang, Ma Té Sai (which translates to ‘where is it from?’) source and develop beautiful fair trade products from handmakers and producers all over Laos, helping create a livelihood for artisans and promote local crafts over imports. The boutique trades in scarves and shawls, garments, accessories, bamboo wear and beauty products – but it’s hard to look past their gorgeous range of home textiles, hand woven and embroidered using silk and cotton, indigo and natural dyes. You won’t see these designs on the streets of Sydney every day, but for a rare chance to pick up your own piece here at home, Ma Té Sai’s first Australian pop-up shop launches tomorrow night at the 5th Nature workshop space at 88 Oxford Street, Paddington. Products will only be available until Sunday, so get in before stock sells out!

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14
Apr

Pmint-FashRev-TraceableBlog

Calling all Brisbane-based ethical fashion fans! You’re officially invited to our Fashion Revolution event from 5.30pm next Tuesday 21st April, presented by Peppermint, QUT Creative Enterprise Australia and QUT Fashion, with Fashion Revolution and supporting partner Patagonia. We’ll be screening the eye-opening short film Traceable: a documentary set against the backdrop of the fast fashion industry, following emerging designer Laura Siegel’s journey across India to produce her collection and exploring our connection to the communities impacted by the products we consume. Afterwards, there’ll be a panel discussion on the issues surrounding ethical fashion – hosted by eco model Amanda Rootsey, and featuring special guest Wendy Savage, Social & Environmental Responsibility Manager all the way from Patagonia USA. Patagonia was founded in 1973 and are renowned for their sustainability initiatives, including their Worn Wear program, their use of organic cotton and recycled textiles, and their ongoing donations to environmental groups. They also co-founded 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that commit at least 1% of total sales to the environment. Also on the panel will be Editor Kelley Sheenan and Deputy Editor Rebecca Jamieson from Peppermint,  Alice Jones (Sinerji), Elisabeth Harvey (Nico Underwear) and Cynthia Macnee (QUT CEA). It’s sure to be a fascinating evening and the tickets are  free (but strictly limited), so don’t forget to register now using the link below. We hope to see you there!

Register for tickets: tinyurl.com/pmintfashrev

21st April 5.30pm – ‘The Hall’ QUT
Z2 Room 226, entry via Musk Ave,
QUT Kelvin Grove Creative Precinct

 

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13
Apr

Oxfam Love Denim

Most of us have a favourite pair of jeans – the 670,000 tonnes of denim consumed globally every year are surely testament to our timeless desire for denim. But some denim companies aren’t making sure that their employees have fair and safe working conditions – worryingly, Australia’s largest denim retailer, The Just Group, has repeatedly refused to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord, an agreement designed to help all Bangladesh garment factories safer workplaces.

But all is not lost: to kickstart Australia’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, the good guys at Oxfam are urging The Just Group to stop breaking denim lovers’ hearts and get on board with the Accord in time for Fashion Revolution Day on Friday 24 April. Oxfam needs your help, too – all you have to do is head over to the Oxfam Facebook page, share their awesome Love Denim image (pictured above) and tag @JustJeans. You can write your own message, or share this one:

Hey Just Jeans, if you want to sell denim in Australia, you need to protect the people making it. Sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord! #heartbreakers @justjeans.

Help stop hearts being broken and do a good deed for denim today!

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10
Apr

AYCC

As the old saying goes, the best things in life are free – like the feel of sand between your toes, or the smell of a rainforest, or that first drop of ocean water on summer skin. Mining, dredging and other big-scale industry that threatens to disrupt or even destroy our natural ecosystems, on the other hand, takes money – a lot of money – to execute. Where exactly do those dollars come from? You may be surprised to learn that your personal savings or super could be used to back controversial projects like the Abbot Point coal port and Galilee Basin mine without you even knowing. According to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), Australia’s biggest financial institutions are bankrolling both, which have come under scrutiny for their predicted impact on one of the planet’s most vulnerable ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef. Three French banks have just announced that they are ruling out any involvement with the projects, bringing the total number of international institutions who have recently pulled out of the ventures to 12, but Australia’s ‘Big Four’ (Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ and NAB) are yet to follow suit. If contributing to the ruin of our reef doesn’t sit well with you, read-up on the issue over at AYCC and pledge to Dump Your Bank.

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8
Apr

Slums: The Cities of Tomorrow

The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival is back for another year, bringing an agenda-setting program of events to venues across Australia. The highlight of the 2015 Festival schedule is the line-up of award-winning feature and short films, all tackling topics not normally found on the silver screen. From rebuilding lives in post-earthquake Pakistan to marriage abduction in Ethiopia, global warming, food waste and the fight to save the world’s bees, this is a rare chance to engage with international viewpoints on the big issues and stories that never made the news. Co-presented with NGOs including Plan, Oxfam Australia and The Asylum Seeker’s Resource Centre, other events include pop-up exhibitions, breakfast roundtables and industry panels, including a ‘Meet the Filmmakers’ event with Damon Gameau, director of That Sugar Film. While the bulk of the program is reserved for audiences in Melbourne and Sydney, there are film screenings on in almost every urban centre this year, including Alice Springs and Darwin. Check the HRAFF website to view your city’s schedule and to reserve your tickets.

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2
Apr

Untouched World NEW

The days are getting cooler, which means it’s time to start stocking up on those winter woollies – and if you like a bit of luxury in your layers, look no further than New Zealand brand Untouched World. This globally respected knitwear label has struck the perfect balance of sustainability and style – their chic, classic range of men’s and women’s clothing is made using merino, eco-possum, cashmere, organic cotton, linen and bamboo, and the company assesses factors such as energy use, water use and chemical footprint for every garment it produces. Their efforts have even won the attention of the United Nations – Untouched World is the first and only company in the world to be recognised by UNESCO for their sustainability practices. You can find out more by reading our special feature on Untouched World in the current issue of Peppermint, which is available from all good newsagencies and our Etsy store. In the meantime, stave off winter’s chill and check out the full Untouched World online!

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1
Apr

Canadian Fair Trade Network

There’s often more to our clothing labels than meets the eye, and this new campaign from the Canadian Fair Trade Network is taking transparency to whole new heights – or should that be lengths? The series of printed adverts promote fairtrade buying habits by taking a hoodie, a blazer and other common items of clothing and adding a few more details about their provenance than most customers would probably bargain for. Anecdotes printed on the oversized labels describe different scenarios where clothes are typically made, and they are far from tall tales. Industrial accidents in Bangladesh, child labour in Cambodia, below-standard wages – these are just some of the issues garment workers face today. The red hoodie pictured above tells the story of Tejan:

“100% cotton. Made in Sierra Leone by Tejan. The first few times he coughed up blood he hid it from his family. They couldn’t afford medical treatment and he couldn’t risk losing his long-time job at the cotton plantation. When he fell into a seizure one day it could no longer be ignored. The diagnosis was pesticide poisoning. The lack of proper protective clothing has left him with leukemia at the age of 34. He has two daughters. One of them starts work at the factory next year.”

Each image concludes with the message that ‘This label doesn’t tell the whole story’, a reminder that there’s often a tragic legacy lurking behind the tiny tags on our clothes. In a few weeks time, you can follow the message of this campaign and turn your own shirt inside out for Fashion Revolution Day 2015, baring all to mark the two year anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy.

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27
Mar

Earth Hour 2015

One of the year’s best-loved environmental campaigns is upon us again. This Saturday March 28 at 8.30pm, it’s time to switch off the lights and reflect on climate change for Earth Hour 2015. More than 170 countries are set to participate in this year’s event which has special significance, taking place just days before a deadline for UN-member states to submit their carbon-curbing pledges ahead of a December summit where new carbon-reduction targets will be laid out. Show your support this weekend by participating in one of Earth Hour’s registered events – perhaps by dancing in the dark at a No Lights No Lycra party, happening in most capital cities. Or you could get behind WWF’s Save The Ales campaign, which highlights climate change’s threat to declining cereal crops in an appeal to brew-loving Australians. It’s not too late to register your own picnic, camp-out or cook -up – check out Earth Hour’s tips for marking the occasion and don’t forget to switch off tomorrow night!

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25
Mar

Toms

Their ‘One For One’ model for selling slip-on shoes made them famous, now social enterprise TOMS have launched another line of accessories with a surprising flow-on effect. For every duffel, tote or clutch purchased from their new bag collection, TOMS will match it by providing a ‘safe birth kit’ to a healthcare professional in a developing country. Buy a bag, and you could be contributing to the safe delivery of a baby in Bangladesh, India, Haiti or Ethiopia. The kits contain gloves, soap, gauze and other supplies, and will be donated to grassroots programs such as BRAC and Ayzh, who will also benefit from increased training for birthing attendants. Bags may be the latest addition to the TOMS’ portfolio but this isn’t their first step away from footwear – if you’re a fan of the One For One model, you can cast a vote for conscious consumerism by purchasing TOMS garments, eyewear, and even coffee.

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