This entry is a follow up to the article titled “Artisan Rights at the Ethical Fashion Hackathon” appearing in the Cultural IP Rights Initiative blog on May 6, 2020.
In early May 2020 along with another 120 participants from the fashion industry I took part in the Ethical Fashion Hackathon organised by the Ethical Fashion Initiative. Of the four key thematic areas addressed during the Hackathon, we at Kantala were most interested in the area of Production and Sales Cycles.
How we produce and how often we produce has been a key area interest for us at Kantala. While we make vegan handbags which have minimal impact on the people and planet, we are mindful that we can’t continue to consume the way we do right now. We produce too often and we produce too much.
At the hackathon I met Monica Boța-Moisin from the Cultural IP Rights Initiative, Bëdu founder Alice Maturin-Baird and creative thinker Júlia Coma Vilarasu, whom all shared our keen interest in addressing the issue of over production.
We agreed that a combination of unfair pricing mechanisms and contracts are at the centre of what is causing over production and over consumption in the fashion industry. The lack of transparency and solidarity has been the root cause of under priced labour, environmental exploitation and accountability in the fashion industry.
While certifications and audits for fair pricing, environmental safety and labour rights exist, none of them are legally binding and cover the complete value chain for a fashion product. Therefore, we envisioned the application of a single framework on a far broader scale, from farmer to consumer, and applied by a global institution such as the World Trade Organisation in order to make it an essential element of global fashion trade.
Our framework was selected as one of the 8 solutions - from a total of 30 submitted - by the judges. We felt this was a big win and a very important endorsement that we are in need of a global framework of this nature. While we were thankful to the judges and the EFI for this recognition, we were painfully aware of the resources and time needed to bring to life this framework. Given our current commitments we sadly had to communicate to the EFI that we are unable to undertake the project right now.
However, as we realise the importance of such a framework we collectively expressed our approval for EFI to allow other available participants to carry forward this idea and see to its creation and implementation.
On behalf of the team who worked together on this solution I want to thank the EFI for recognising the need for a global solidarity framework in the fashion industry and keeping the solution on the table for future development and implementation.
I absolutely enjoyed being part of the hackathon and in particular meeting the three other team members. We’ve already identified areas where we can collaborate on. Collaboration is the way we can all make a lasting impact on the fashion industry that will leave a positive mark on the people and planet.
All images courtesy the Ethical Fashion Initiative.