I'd like to begin this blog with love and gratitude for my beloved mother.
Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano who returned to her maker April 2016.
Mum encouraged me to participate in the Six Items Challenge 2012 when she was first diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
My beloved mother Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano
Thank you for your unconditional love, compassion and kindness.
You taught me to live my life with dignity, honesty and compassion.
Miss you always! X
I hope that South Asian shopping habits and values will change.
As a fairtrade retailer, campaigner and educator, it is clear to see that fair trade organisations, be they cotton farmers, home based workers or organic cotton and natural fibre manufacturers have all realised that consumers, people and the planet are important.
Fair Trade producer groups and organisations have made it their core mission value to support the 10 Principles of Fair Trade and the Sustainable Development Goals to promote social, trade and environmental justice.
Muslim modest fast fashion companies and brands need to understand that there are ethical consumers like myself who want to know how their clothes are made and explain their transparent supply chains,
As a consumer I would like Muslim fast fashion brands to support climate change and feel proud and happy that they aren't polluting the planet or exploiting a garment worker.
Yes! Many Muslim consumers want to know 'Who Made My Clothes?'
We want to know if you are a company or brand that offers a fair decent living wage, provides good working conditions and is happy for your employees to join a trade union and bargain collectively.
Yes! We are interested if you support the Sustainable Development Goals, are part of Climate Action, and want to be a part of the circular economy.
Transparency, honesty and accountability are essential and ethics plays an important role when targeting consumers like myself.
If you are an Asian or modest fast fashion brand and you can't address where your products are grown, created and crafted, you've lost my custom.
Empty words and green washing are not acceptable.
If you are an Asian fast fashion brand and are interested in fair trade, climate action and the sustainable development goals click on links below.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or the follow the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Clean Clothes Campaign, Labour Behind The Labour, and the World Fair Trade Organization on social media for advice and support.
There are over 35 million garment workers around the world who sew our clothes. 10 per cent of which have already been laid off since the pandemic began with millions more facing termination, hunger and debt. Their stories are never told and many consumers turn a blind eye, because cheap clothes make them feel beautiful, but at what cost?
Below is my interview with General Secretary Zehra Khan of the Home Based Women's Workers Federation Karachi and activist and member Mrs Jamila.
As reported in the Guardian, Jeyasre faced months of sexual harassment by her supervisor before he murdered her in January. Since her death, twenty-five other women garment workers at the same factory have since come forward publicly describing a culture of gender-based violence & harassment at the particular unit where Jeyasre worked, Natchi Apparels.
Fashion brands need to take accountability. Jayshre death is one death too many.
With all the above in mind I realised I had to visit home workers and fairtrade artisans around the world.
Gulshan Bibi is one of the most extraordinary women I have ever had the opportunity to meet. She is a business woman, mother, social activist and inspiration for all.
She became a widow at a young age and started to embroider clothes in her town of Haripur.
Samina Bibi Founder of SABAH PAKISTAN visited Haripur 30 years ago and decided to support Gulshan Bibi and retail her products in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Samina Bibi sold all Gulshan Bibi's embroidered products and returned with the profits.
She then encouraged Gulshan Bibi to persuade other women in Haripur to establish a co-operative and raise awareness for fair trade, fair wages much to the annoyance of men who weren't supportive and opposed the women.
Over the years the men realised that these courageous women have brought economic prosperity to the area and tourists are a good source of income.
The ladies have built a large school and train other ladies in the rural villages.
I cannot express my adoration for this woman.
She welcomed me into her home and I met with her daughters and grand children.
There was an electricity power cut, hence the darkness in the interview.
It was very cold outside.
I hope to visit Gulshan Bibi again soon.
Here is my summary of Gulshan Bibi's interview
Sabeena supporting the Six Items Challenge 2021
with Labour Behind The Label, London, UK
Items 1&2 printed cotton dress and black trousers
Black cotton traditional Pakistani dress purchased by my late mother
(item no 3)
My items of clothing
Photo to be added
Clothes for the fashion fast
Photo to be added
For the past 9 years I've been raising awareness for garment workers by supporting the Six Items Challenge with Labour Behind the Label. I blog and vlog in Urdu and English and try to inform and educate the general public and Muslim consumers about a decent living wage and good working conditions.
This year the challenge commenced 17th February - 31st March 2021.
I decided to participate and support the Six Items Challenge for the ninth year because I started to campaign for garment and factory workers while caring for my mother who had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
The six items challenge means I choose six items of clothing to wear for six weeks.
It is a long term ambition to design a fairtrade slow fashion collection in memory of my beautiful mother Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano and support fair trade certified cotton farmers, sustainable and ethical producers.
My beloved mother was a great advocate for women's empowerment and education.
I believe she would have been happy and proud of me to continue my campaigning for the millions of countless individuals producing clothes and accessories in factories and workshops around the world.
Hopefully by the end of the Six Week Challenge I would have educated a few people and raised a few pounds/dirhams.
Fast fashion is a term the fashion industry uses to entice consumers to purchase new trends, products and accessories every six to eight weeks. Some collections can be produced within a 12 day time frame.
Most of the products are cheap, poor quality and mass produced by workers in factories, work shops around the world.
Workers are paid low salaries, endure long hours and work in poor conditions to support their families.
Many are as young as 14 are the only bread winners and often forfeit the chance of a decent education and future
Many factories use hazardous chemicals to dye their fabrics and this water is discharged into rivers and the sea polluting eco systems and depleting fish stocks.
I hope to record vlogs in English and Urdu to raise awareness about garment workers over the next coming weeks.
Best regards to all the Six Items Challenge participants.
Love and regards
Wishing everyone a blessed and happy Eid Mubarak! Sabeena
Fair Trade Ethical Ramadan with Sabeena Ahmed (TBA)
As a passionate fairtrade campaigner and advocate I felt compelled to join the Fairtrade Fortnight 2024 webinar.
2024 will be 30 years of Fair trade in the United Kingdom.
This webinar was organised by the Fairtrade Foundation UK team.
I have attached photographs of the webinar below for those interested.
All credit and source courtesy of the Fairtrade Foundation team UK.
This October I continued to heal from my shoulder surgeries.
My right shoulder was very painful and inflamed again and I have struggled to type this blog.
I attended the volunteers webinars for Islamophobia Awareness Month 2023 and the 30 years of Fairtrade in the UK.
I joined the October 2023 Power Inclusive Excellence Committee and Training Tuesday: Climate Change: Taking Action to Support Women and Girls with World Pulse.
During August 2023 I attended a 2 day online webinar titled, 'Journey towards Meaningful Connectivity Exploring Value' with the Institute of Social Entrepreneurs Asia, (ISEA).
I have tried to translate these webinars in Urdu.
Sign up for fair trade awesome!
Enter your email to be the first to receive news of product launches, discounts and ethical fashion campaigns.