ETHICAL FASHION & ART TAKES THE SPOTLIGHT WITH GLOBAL STORYTELLING: MEET THE FOUNDERS OF REDSTART

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1.  Tell us about the REDSTART project and it’s mission?

Redstart is an initiative to raise awareness about ethical fashion and art through storytelling.  Between the team and our partners we have already gathered many inspiring stories, but there are many more yet to be discovered.  

"The goal of the project is to connect contributors and like-minded people through a series of online gatherings and interviews."

This then provides a platform to inform, educate and help those in the industry to share their stories.
 

2. Tell us a bit about yourselves as founders and what initially made you so passionate about raising awareness towards the ethical fashion & art industry? 

Eddie: For many years I’ve been working with social entrepreneurs, as a consultant, mentor and also a co-founder. I am still shocked by the rate at which fashion has undergone a change towards 'fast fashion' and what this has meant for the people and the planet. One of my clients last year in India really inspired me: Allika (meaning ‘weave' in Hindi) is not only helping the environment and not only teaching women to weave (and paying them to learn for a day!), but also teaching them entrepreneurship skills so that they too can set up their own business. It’s a beautiful, fully circular mission that Allika is on.

Charmaine: With an event planning and marketing background, I was involved in large-scale event productions including citywide charity fashion shows.  Having the privilege to work with local designers and international brands, I get to experience the glamorous stage with flashing cameras, gorgeous models and the behind the scenes backstage madness.  Working closely with volunteers and interns, I realise how little acknowledgement staff receive.  This lead to me thinking about the entire assembly line. There is a lack of mention of where the clothes came from, which country they are made, who made them and what type of conditions they work in. This triggered my curiosity to explore the fashion and art industry to find out more. 

3. Give us some examples of what particular elements of the current state of the fashion & art industry you wish to change?

" With approximately 1 in 6 people in the world working within the fashion industry, the issues are huge and entwined. "

From terrible production ethics, working conditions (especially women) and the consumption of the ‘fast fashion’ industry, and the sheer waste involved (second behind the energy industry), we aim to raise awareness of all the issues, and highlight those who are tackling these issues to inspire people to make better choices, both in terms of consumers and business owners.

  

4. You just launched your online campaign. How do you hope your audience will get a better understanding of what goes on behind the ethical fashion and art industry?

" Our goal is to first hear and share people’s stories from all around the world, so that when we bring these people together they will better understand and connect with each other. "

Secondly these stories will be used to highlight the different issues to raise awareness with those who currently don’t care, or just simply are not aware of how their choices are affecting the planet and the people involved.

 

5. Who can submit their story? Have you had any particular interesting ones since your launch?

Anyone can submit his or her story, as this involves us all. Within minutes of the newsletter from ArtJobs.com going out, we received a story very similar to what we’ve described above (a real let down of business ethics from consumers to business owners across the whole supply chain), and another one which describes why a woman loves her necklace made from her and her sister’s teeth - which might sound gruesome, but her story is one about family, creativity and knowing exactly why she wears it, that it leaves you with a feeling of joy, that simple things can also feel good.

6. What comes after the online campaign?

We’ll sort the stories into different themes and share them across the many online and offline platforms we’re a part of. Also to connect people, we are running online gatherings, along with interviews to delve deeper into people’s stories. Across the world we will also do walking tours to visit these businesses and run two different kinds of workshops: innovative design thinking ones to help solve challenges they are facing, along with hands on workshops where participants learn special skills.

 

7. Where do you see the REDSTART project in 5 years? 10 years?

RedStart in 5 years…  " We hope that in a small but powerful way, these powerful stories we’re collecting become part of the consciousness of everyday people. "  That when they begin to care slightly more, these issues might not escalate in 5 years time. The outrage of what’s going on right now, needs to be SHOUTED about, and the people trying to improve the situation need to helped in order to scale up.

 

8. In your opinion what are some of the positive and negative ways technology has affected the art and fashion industry?

Technology will always change industries. Without current technology fast fashion could not exist at all. The wave of suicides of Indian farmers, the largest group of suicides anywhere in the world (over 250,000), are partly as a direct result of a change in technology of how farming production methods have changed.

It’s how consumers choose between the available choices that set up how businesses can often operate and utilise the necessary technology. Much of the new wearable tech has focussed upon vibrating updates from social media or health/fitness information, and we see a growing requirement in showcasing “You Are What You Wear”, and so ethical brands can truly utilise this to improve customer awareness and loyalty. 

Find out more here at RedStart

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