You probably saw feminist tees everywhere by now. But have you ever wondered if the message t-shirt that makes you feel empowered was produced in a way that empowers the women who made it? Beyond t-shirts, why and how can any fashion brand empower all women along its supply chain? The fashion industry is mostly composed of women. However, it doesn't mean that inequality doesn't exist, on the opposite. Fast fashion message tees might empower you, but behind it, there is a woman who is not paid a living wage, and works in seriously bad conditions (overtime, in confined and not secured buildings, harassed by their employers,...). It goes the same way for other brands that use international women's day as a promotion to make you buy more stuff you don't need. Beyond that, we should also all think outside of International Women's Day and ask: who is behind my garment? Fashion Revolution is an advocate of fashion supply chain transparency. You can find their International Women's Day campaign, encouraging you to reach out to brands you're buying from and ask them the right questions here. Gender inequality and the current unsustainability of our world are tightly linked. According to Extinction Rebellion, "80% of people displaced by the effects of climate change are women", and "70% of the people living below the world’s poverty line are women — climate breakdown has a greater consequences for the poorest of people". At JOA, we are women who support other women. We are focused on our local community, by providing local solutions to global problems. Julie, Olivia and Anna source the donations and rejected by charity shops fabrics and garments used to make our bomber jackets. Then, Olivia, Anna and Gulzarine take care of cutting and assembling, while Julie tells the stories of those jackets, and of the people behind them.
A few months back, we came to the realisation that local mothers of Leyton were encountering issues to find a job, because no workplace is flexible enough to work around their motherly duties. As the woman usually being the parent staying at home to raise the children, not offering them flexible working opportunities represents a form of gender inequality in the workplace. We decided that it was about time this issue is tackled, and we are currently working on the creation of volunteer workshops for single mothers, that could then evolve into training and even employment. Gulzarine joined us in January, and we are working towards the creation of a flexible working model with her. On top of improving mental health, this initiative is set to empower. Ethical and fair traid businesses allow more women to reach leadership positions, and as female entrepreneurs, we want to encourage that. Here are a few fashion brands that do their bit to end gender inequality. We hope that more will follow their path!
We'd love to hear the ones you know! Happy International Women's Day ❤️ Julie, Olivia, and Anna.