“We love to listen to our customers and for this reason we would be delighted to hear from you if you would like a bespoke fair trade product made especially for you.”

July 2017 - Video Blog Newsletter Summary

July 2017 - Video Blog Newsletter Summary

July 2017 Video Blog Newsletter Summary

This month I was I was approached by Ellen van Dongen of the Responsible Shopping Dubai website and asked if The Little Fair Trade Shop would like to be featured. I said YES!

Attended my first Dubai Vegan Meet Up, continued with my Who Made My Clothes course and was diagnosed with a painful frozen shoulder.



RESPONSIBLE SHOPPING DUBAI

Ellen van Dongen Creator of Responsible Shopping Dubai and Sabeena Ahmed The Little Fair Trade Shop July 2017

I received a message from Ellen Van Dongan about participating in her work and website 'Responsible Shopping Dubai.'

I have invited her coffee and learnt what had motivated and inspired her to establish this pioneering platform.

Ellen is a vegan, ethical consumer, loves cats and is passionate about technology. It was lovely to spend a morning talking about fairtrade, ethical living and vegan pot luck meet ups.

I hope to attend another Vegan Meet Up soon.

I wish Ellen the very best and success with her website Responsible Shopping Dubai.

 

FACEBOOK VIDEO

Here is a video Facebook posted about me. I particularly love all the fairtrade pioneers and producers featured. 

Facebook video featuring fair trade pioneers

 

CONTINUED WITH 'WHO MADE MY CLOTHES?' COURSE WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER 

Week 2

This week we were asked to take an outrospective look at our clothes and learn how to emphasise with others.

 The Power of Outrospection - Roman Krznaric

Lesson 2.1

We were asked to read about the lives of 3 garment workers share our thoughts.

Pages 26 - 33 from Fashion Revolution’s 2017 Money, Fashion, Power fanzine, illustrated the work and lives of three women:

  • Rohima, from Dhaka in Bangladesh
  • Anusha, from just outside Bangalore in India
  • Soeun, from Phnom Penh in Cambodia

 

Photographs to be posted

Photographs here to be posted

Photographs here to be added

 

Lesson 2.3

All learners were asked to choose one item of clothing they wanted to research in detail.

I couldn't research my turquoise dress as it has no labels so I've decided to conduct research about my fair trade banana suit.

Fairtrade banana suit 'Make Fruit Campaign' with Sabeena Ahmed and The Little Fair Trade Shop

Lesson 2.5 WHO ASSEMBLED OUR CLOTHES?

    Many thanks to Rebecca Turner at the Fairtrade Foundation for  answering my query.

     

    Informative email response from the Fairtrade Foundation about my fairtrade banana suit - Sabeena Ahmed

     

    Hi Sabeena

    Thanks for getting in touch and apologies for the delay in responding to you.

    Here are the answers to your questions. Livslust organisation in an excellent design by a social enterprise in Latvia called Livslust, which supports a vocational program for people with a high risk of otherwise being marginalised -  http://www.livslust.com/   

    1. Who is the manufacturer or parent company? We commissioned the banana suits through a Swedish company called Fair Unlimited: www.fairunlimited.se
    1. Who stitches/assembles the banana costumes? Fair Unlimited work with a social enterprise in Latvia called Livslust, which supports a vocational program for people with a high risk of otherwise being marginalised -  http://www.livslust.com/  
    1. Is the company listed on a fashion/ethical transparency index? I don’t know, you would need to look at their website or get in touch with them to find out. But here’s some background on them: Fair Unlimited has been working with many Fair Trade in many capacities since 2005. We import and distribute clothing, shoes, bags, paper, glass and ceramic products, either directly from producer organisations or via European importers and brands such as Traidcraft, Oxfam Belgium,  Epona and Supreme Creations.  We also work with the design for many of the products, and produce our own Fairtrade pralines through a sub-contractor.
    1. What information is available about the garment workers? You can find out more at http://www.livslust.com/
    1. What materials are used to produce the banana suit? It is made from fleece as this is durable, but isn’t currently able to be Fairtrade certified unfortunately. Fair Unlimited sourced this material in line with their company policy and values.
    1. Are there any films, articles, photographs about the garment workers I could access online? Not that I know of, you may wish to contact Livslust or Fair Unlimited to see if further information exists.

     

    Best wishes,

    Rebecca

     

    Initial email to the Fairtrade Foundation about my fairtrade banana suit - Sabeena Ahmed

     

  1. Dear Fairtrade Foundation Shop team,
  2.  

  3. I would be very grateful if you could provide the following information about the fairtrade banana costumes I purchased a few years ago.
  4.  

  5. I'm currently studying a course 'Who Made Your Clothes' with the University of Exeter and we have been asked to conduct research on an item of clothing.

  6. I would be grateful if you could provide the following information as there were no labels about the manufacturer attached on any of the costumes.
    1. Who is the manufacturer or parent company?
    1. Who stitches/assembles the banana costumes?
    1. Is the company listed on a fashion/ethical transparency index
    1. What information is available about the garment workers?
    1. What materials are used to produce the banana suit?
    1. Are there any films, articles, photographs about the garment workers I could access online?

    Any support in my research would be gratefully appreciated.

    I look forward to hearing from the team soon.

    Best regards
    Sabeena

  7. I am still conducting research and due to my painful shoulder have not completed the tasks below.
  8. We were then asked to research the garment brand scores using the information and links below.
    1. Note down the issues on which your brand scores well and badly, and the explanations for these scores. Turn the information you find into internet search terms to add extra nuance and detail to these stories.
    With reference to the answers provided by the Fairtrade Foundation the banana suits were commissioned by a Swedish fairtrade company called Fairtrade Unlimited.

     

    2. Check Fashion Revolution’s Research Library Pinterest board to see if the work and lives of people making clothes for your brand in your ‘made in’ country have been discussed in worker rights NGO and other reports. Look at their covers and titles, read the brief descriptions, click the images to get to the original reports, search for their human stories and read around them to find out how and why these human stories were generated, and why they are being told.

     

    1. N.B. Always look both for human stories (i.e. garment workers talking about their lives and work) and background information (e.g. a brand’s human rights policies).

    Remember to copy information, quotations and sources into your research document as you do this. Add these details under the title – Tier One findings - and don’t forget to note down the names of the garment workers you find, as well as what they say.

    Lesson 2.6

     

    Who made their materials

     

    For this stage of your research, please follow the step by step search advice below:

    • After examining your garment’s label to find out the materials from which it was made, do an internet search to find out how each one is grown and/or made into fabric. You might want to begin with a website such as Wikipedia, which has a clothing material page.

    • Contact your brand’s customer service department by phone, email or social media and ask them to tell you from which companies and which countries they sourced your garment’s materials. Refer to the countries that you added to your table and ask if this information is correct.

    • Check Fashion Revolution’s Research Library board Pinterest again to see if you can find reports about the growing/making of your garment’s materials in different countries. Read these reports to find human stories and/or to get some ideas for search terms which may enable you to find human stories elsewhere.

    • See how likely it is that your materials were produced in countries where forced and/or child labour is common by checking this interactive US Department of Labor List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. Filter the ‘Good’ list to show ‘garments’, ‘textiles’ and/or ‘cotton’. Use your findings as search terms - e.g. ‘China’, ‘cotton’, and ‘child labour’ - to find the stories which go with this information.

    • If your garment is made from cotton, which could have been grown in Uzbekistan, check the Responsible Sourcing Network’s Pledge Against Forced Labor in the Uzbek Cotton Sector to see if its brand has signed. This is a campaign to eliminate forced labour from cotton supply chains in one country where it is known to be commonplace. Again, use your findings as search terms - e.g. your brand, ‘cotton’, and ‘Uzbekistan’ - to find the human stories that go with this information.

    • Another place to look for stories of human labour are in the case studies of reports into ‘industrial toxicology’, ‘occupational toxicology’, ‘industrial health and safety’ and/or ‘occupational health and safety’. Search for your material and each of these phrases and see what you can find. Some results may be entirely technical, but you may be able to find case studies detailing working environments, accidents or long-term exposure to substances used in the growing and manufacture of materials and their effects on workers’ lives. This search would be helpful, for example, if your item of clothing had been sandblasted.

    As before, don’t forget to look both for human stories (e.g. cotton farmers talking about their lives and work) and background information (e.g. International Labour Organisation conventions).

    Remember to copy information, quotations and sources into your research document as you do this. Add these details under the title – Tier Two findings - and don’t forget to note down the names of the workers you find, as well as what they say.

     

    Lesson 2.10 CREATE YOUR OWN STORY

    BRAND: FAIR UNLIMITED
    WEBSITE: HTTP://WWW.FAIR UNLIMITED.SE/
    MATERIAL: 100% FLEECE UNCERTIFIED
    FLO CERTIFICATION: N/A
    COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: SWEDEN
    DESIGN: FAIR UNLIMITED
    COMFORTABILITY FACTOR: VERY COMFY
    PRICE: APPROX £30

     

    Week 3

    Lesson 3.3

    Who shoulders the blame fast fashion brands or consumers?

    I feel it is our responsibility as consumers to ask brands how much garment workers are paid and no reassure shoppers that workers are not exploited or harassed.

    By the end of week 3 learners learnt to be,

    Be Curious - gain a detailed understanding of garment supply chains, how they work, and the interdependence of places, resources and people upon which they rely

  9. Find Out - undertake some detective work on one item of your own clothing to create a story of the relationship between of its consumer’s (i.e. you) and its producers’ lives.

    Do Something - understand ‘political responsibility’ and the Fashion Revolution Movement’s ‘Theory of Change’ and, in this context, make a pledge to do something that you believe will improve the lives of garment workers worldwide.

     

    TRIBUTE TO MY MOTHER

    Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano - Breast Cancer Patient and Fair Trade Supporter

    This month I was asked to write a tribute to my late mother Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano by Kindness.org.

    My beloved mother was a ‘courageous woman, she was my first school of thought, love, compassion and my paradise.’

    Mum was an extraordinarily humble, kind and charismatic lady.

    She could strike up a conversation with anyone. An empathetic listener, amazing chef and gardener, she possessed a sharp wit and humour that would instantly lift your spirits.

    Yes! She had a beautiful smile. Never once did she complain about her cancer and all those horrible treatments. She was so calm and graceful even during the most difficult times.

    Nothing was ever too much for her and she would go out of her way to help loved ones and strangers.

    Strangers would always compliment and thank her for her warm friendly nature.

    ‘Be kind to everyone you meet because they have been sent from above, she used to say.'

    To read more click on the link below.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BWxt_edgB4B/…

     

    Coping with a frozen shoulder

     

    This month I discovered that I have been suffering with a frozen shoulder.

    As I type this newsletter I hope I will encourage other bloggers, social entrepreneurs and home based workers who rely on the laptops and Mac's to think very carefully how they can work safely without causing adverse effects to their health.

    I hope to post a separate blog about my diagnosis and recovery.

    Thank you for reading and I hope to bring you another monthly newsletter next month.

    Regards

    Sabeena

     

    Further Reading and Links

    Responsible Shopping Dubai

    Dubai Vegetarian Meet Up - Dubai

    Who Made My Clothes? University of Exeter

    Kindness.org on Instagram

    Frozen Shoulder




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