I was lucky to have been invited to some talks at the Houses of Parliament, as a part of Parliament Week and to say I was very excited was an understatement! Plus, I love fashion, so two birds were killed with one stone! It was hosted and organised by London Ethnic; a great company promoting and working with London based fashion, fashion designers and producers of clothing specifically made in Britain.
The main topic of conversation was how democracy is needed within the fashion industry.
The event included talks from politicians such as, Baroness Jo Valentine, MP Tulip Siddiq, MP Ian Paisley and leaders in the fashion & beauty industry, including Kate Hills; the founder of Make it British.
The day was introduced by London Ethnic’s founder and CEO, Saumen Kar, who explained the importance of fashion and clothing being made in London, and more ethically, rather than opting for cheap labour, which the high streets are prone to do now a days. London Ethnic aims to bring together London fashion in order to make the British economy more profitable and create opportunities for the industry. The aim being to grow demand for manufacturing here rather than going abroad.
There were some underlining issues that were brought to the fore, such as how ethically buying clothing that are made in countries where people, even children work in sometimes very poor pay and conditions, can be damaging. Clothes being made in sweat houses, may be cheap, but where do these clothes end up? In landfill, stock piling which is detrimental to both the environment and to society. The future being to produce clothing in the UK and in a safe environment.
The quality of fashion made in London will be beneficial and this would be made easier if there were more factories and helping designers being an operative. It is therefore key to improve the carbon footprint of the fashion industry.
An interesting finding was to hear that people were willing to pay more for UK labels and 8% would be willing to pay more for a ‘Made In Britain’ label, making it a step in the right direction.
Baroness Valentine from the British membership spoke about how modern fashion has also played a part in the change in democracy. Developments being made through technology, education and even, social media. The reigns of power passed on to the younger audience and from bloggers (like me) etc. Fashion will add to the economic supply chain, attract talent and make change. The need being to raise the profile to make fashion more profitable for everyone from designers to the people of Bangladesh.
London being the largest hub for sustainable fashion means that there is room for positive manoeuvre and a big shift coming from colleges and graduates.
A great platform is Mysource.io, an online B2B platform which is a network that matches fashion professionals with the connections and resources they need to grow successful and sustainable businesses. Companies can also gain badges to show that they are sustainable and therefore attain a better profile.
It was great to see so many people passionate about not only fashion, but also ethical fashion and the responsibility we all play in making it a success.
Apart from the underlining issues, there was a fun/cool fashion show where the clothes modelled were made from refurbished clothing and were very fashionable at the same time.
Between each talk there was also the opportunity to mingle, network and savour the delightful snacks including popcorn from Propercorn which was delicious.
I must say a great big Thank you to London Ethnic for inviting me and applaud them on backing such a good cause.
I met some awesome people, heard some important talks and got to see the Houses of Parliament from the inside which was just Amazing!
Here I am, inside of the grounds of the Houses of Parliaments.
Coincidentally, I was in Oxford Street after the talks and bought a dress that had a Made in Britain label and I was delighted, as it was good to see the label and that clothing can be sourced within the UK and made in London. I too was contributing, which felt fab – overall an apt end to a great day!