It was the most inspiring moment of Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2018 to meet Veronica, the social entrepreneur and founder of Carcel, a luxury brand that creates an ethical working place for women in prisons.
Ola : Let's start from the beginning: Carcel clothes are made by imprisoned women in Peru and Thailand. What this partnership means to you and to them?
Veronica: We started manufacturing in prisons in order forthewomen to combat poverty, which is the main cause of female incarceration. In Peru 70% of female prisoners are there because of drug trafficking, predominantly cocaine, so mostly for non-violent crimes. They come from rural areas and are providers for their children and families. After being locked away for 5 - 17 years, they come out even poorer than before. So we are now turning prisons into production sites to give them new skills and good wages. This way women can make an income and get experience, save up for their life after the prison.
Ola: How do you monitor your social impact?
Veronica: There are no existing frameworks or standards, as we are the first global player doing this in an ethical way. Prison production is nothing new.But it has been contaminated by years of exploitation. Our purpose is to find out how to do it right instead of not doing anything. That's why we were contacted by the United Nationsto contributeour knowledge and we are currently working on basic ethical standards.
So how can we turn this around? How can we provide a living wage and good working conditions? We do itby taking care of our own production. We are not outsourcing like a majority of fashion brands today. We have a German production manager who is going to prison everyday to work alongside women, developing relationships with them. This way impact is measured on a day to day level. We noticed that depression was a very big issue in prisons, which we see slowly decreasing. The women are now sending money home to support their families which is a major shift in both their dignity and also the impact for their relatives. Women working with us have very long sentences, so further impact for reintegrating into society is to be seen in the future.
"The way I see it: fashion of the 21st century builds on what fashion does really well, being inspiring, self-expressive and visionary, but it also just has to work all the way throughout and solve problems across the supply chain instead of creating them. I believe people are ready for it."
Ola: You are representing a pro active approach to social innovation
Sharing economy, circular solutions and the profound understanding of consumer data are the driving force of the pre-loved fashion marketplaces. Vestiaire Collective, undoubtedly one of the most popular and globally present, curated community turns out to be the biggest disruptor for luxury brands (above Stella-von-Senger for Vestiaire Collective).
Ola: Who is your consumer?
Sébastien: We have 2 types of consumers. There are people looking for a precise product, that is sold out in other boutiques. On the other hand, we have consumers below 35 years old, who have a different vision of what does it mean to poses the product. They find the product they are interested in, wear it for 3 months and resell it. So from the start they have in mind, that there is a market for the product after they use it. This group is dynamically growing.
"On the other hand, we have consumers below 35 years old, who have a different vision of what does it mean to poses the product. They find the product they are interested in, wear it for 3 months and resell it. So from the start they have in mind, that there is a market for the product after they use it. This group is dynamically growing."
Ola: Is Asian consumer a particularly a big buying force for you?
Sebastien: We recently opened a Hong Kong office because of that. We started with Japan as a supply market and Korea as a buying market. We need to first understand what is the pace of fashion there. Often things are popular globally, but not at the same time and we must precisely know if it is going to be now or 3 months after.
Ola: Can you give an example?
Sebastien: 85% of the products cross borders. So we managed to activate the "sleeping supply" that was stored in peoples wardrobes and find new markets. For example, we were in Spain when Loewe became hot like 2 years ago. So we were able to have a big supply of Loewe bags and bring them to the market place just in time.
[caption id="attachment_4450" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Katherine Ormerod, founder of Work Work Work for Vestiaire Collective[/caption]
Ola: What kind of buyers work for you?
Sébastien: We have an international team of 30 stylists who accept the product and anticipate what will be interesting for us in the future. They are supported by data, such as: volume of the search, desirability statistics, wish lists and likes. They analyse all this data and select key products. Somehow the human selection is always key for us, not only data and machine learning. It must be a collaborative process between human and AI.
Ola: How this model will expand in the future?
Sébastien: We will be launching this year a service of giving the data back to the user, so that the sellers can become even more active participants of the community. We want to share with them the desirability and value of the product, so that they decide themselves where and when to sell. After our ultra successful partnerships with super models we also hope for partnerships with brands and designers. We aim to show them the real lifecycle of their product, which in fact they can sell up to 4 times instead of once. They could certify and refurbish the vintage goods, that we could source for them. Just like we sourced vintage products for the exhibition of Martin Margiela in Paris.
Sébastien Fabre is a CEO & Founder of Vestiaire Collective - a curated global marketplace for the re-sale of verified luxury fashion goods, founded in 2008. Currently with the community of 6 million members in 50 countries and offices in: Paris, Berlin, London, Milan, New York and Hong Kong.
This is a humble perspective on things from a CEO, as well as husband and father, behind the most hyped Danish brand - GANNI. Very personal and honest conversation about how a small team can start tackling global challenges.
16th April 2018 in Mind Space Warsaw we celebrated the launch of new Conscious Exclusive collection which brings new materials: recycledsilver and ECONYL®, a regenerated nylon fibre from fishnets and other nylon waste. Using these materials is a step towards the company 2030 goal to only use recycled or other sustainably sourced materials. I had a chance to find out more about it from Mattias Bodin, Sustainability Business Expert at H&M group. My Q&A with Mattias below!
I had a great opportunity and pleasure to chair a panel with Agnieszka Knera (Sustainability Manager H&M Poland), Dariusz Duma (philosopher, business consultant), Rafał Rudzki (Senior Manager, Deloitte Sustainability Consulting Central Europe ) and Areta Szpura (influencer and activist).
Fashion companies wanting to be at the forefront of innovation are working on how to embody circular economy principles and close the loop, often in partnership with outside innovators. Next to H&M, we find examples from other brands like: C&A launching a Cradle-to-Cradlecertified T-shirt, Parley for the Ocean partnership with Adidas and Nike Grind to name the most popular ones.
Ola: It is still hard for me to envision H&M complete transition to recycled or other sustainably sourced materials only. Did you divide this process into smaller steps to make it more tangible? At which stage are you now?
Mattias: We initiated the process by working with materials we use most, and those we prioritise. We have a few options that are available and can be scaled up, such as: sustainable cotton and recycled poliester. So for those popular materials we are in the phase of scaling up their presence in the collection, but there are many other materials that are not really commercially available yet so to posses them we are engaging with researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to support them in taking the next step. We have a pretty high amount of organic cotton, but it is limited in supply, and we aim to use more and more recycled cotton made from collected post consumer waste (worn and returned garments). In fact other organic materials we use, as: linen, jute, hemp are also difficult in terms of availability in the volumes that we operate on.
Ola.: So you mentioned collaborations and supporting startups in the sector of new material development. You do that also through H&M Foundation Global Change Award and by collaborating with: I:CO, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation and others
LPP to największy polski koncern odzieżowy obecny na rynkach zagranicznych już od 2002 roku. Należą do niego marki: Reserved, Mohito, Cropp, House i Sinsay. Od ponad roku działa butik Reserved przy Oxford Circus, a markę reklamowała ikona modelingu Cindy Crowford i nie była to pierwsza top modelka w kampaniach tej marki