“Made in Bangladesh” as a synonym of sustainable fashion? Yes, it is possible!
It may sound strange but this is not only possible, it is the reality of a (former) small boutique in London: The Jacksons.
Their boutique in Notting Hill was born in 1998, from the idea of two sisters: former fashion PR Joey and costumer designer Louise Jackson. The shop is full of colored and sustainable pieces but it is when they are introduced to a man who had worked as a VSO in Bangladesh that they created their first jute bag (in 2012). It has become now a glorious design collaboration between The Jacksons’ and the skillful handcraft workers in south-west Bangladesh, creating not only the beautiful and durable hand-crafted jute “word-bags” but also humorous and colorful placemats and beaded purses.
“We have grown from a workforce of less than 100 women to over 1000 artisans in South West Bangladesh, an area where there are few job opportunities for them. We are also working with small communities of artisans in other parts of Bangladesh. All of these teams are predominantly made up of women, who are paid directly giving them independence and status, empowering them to make decisions within the family. This is helping The Jackson’s fulfil a mission close to their hearts – to create as many job opportunities as possible” – they write on their website.
Their sustainable collaboration is in the middle between fair trade and a sustainable project as their mission has many positive aspects:
- Great attention to handcrafted work
- Use of natural fibers (such as the juta)
- Recycling of waste materials
- Work conditions that protect workers without exploitation
- Fair salary that permits a dignified lifestyle
- No intermediaries but direct payment to the workers
- Social inclusion of women through work
- Attention to the resources used and low environmental impact
The juta bag had a huge success and they are very trendy in summertime, which means that they are often copied without having the rights to do it and under completely different conditions. When we want to buy these bags, let’s go for the originals, even if they are not super cheap. Now we know what lies behind the price, so we have no excuses to go for a cheaper version. As conscious consumers we should always ask ourselves the correct question: “Why is it so cheap”?
My bag “Je m’en fous” is a limited editions created exclusively for Wait and See the lovely Milanese shop where they are sold. My Indian dress is a new second hand piece from Girls in the Garage in Milan.
The golden gladiator sandals are old thrifted Miu Miu, Africa ring is handmade in Senegal.