7 change-making fashion brands to support this International Women’s Day

Gender inequality is still a global issue and we’re pleased to see so many fashion brands joining the crusade to empower, support, protect and uplift women. Here we round up some of our favourite female-centric labels to support on International Women’s Day and every day…

SEP JORDAN

Founded in 2013 by Italian philanthropist Roberta Ventura, SEP employs hundreds of female refugees living in Jordan’s Jerash Camp to create its hand-embroidered accessories. The women undergo a two-month training course at the camp’s SEP-Tamari Foundation Academy and are paid a fair wage to support their families. An estimated 50,000 people live at the refugee camp, which opened in 1967 to house people fleeing Gaza. “Unlike other brands that are trying to adapt to sustainability goals and trends, we were created with a specific mission to bring thousands of refugees above the poverty line,” says its founder. “Employing the refugees, rather than supplying them with constant aid, helps them to grow as people and collecting a continuous stream of income for themselves and their family.” In 2020, SEP Jordan was awarded B Corporation status, certifying that it puts purpose above profit.

CONTACT: E: info@sepjordan.com sepjordan.eu

THE COLOMBIA COLLECTIVE

Founded in 2019, The Colombia Collective works with talented artisans to create beautiful handmade homewares and accessories using traditional age-old techniques. The brand, which is currently stocked by Liberty London, is the brainchild of Kate Wrigley who worked as an architect for the Colombian government. During her time there she discovered the work of local artisans and decided to help sell their products internationally. Today The Colombia Collective is made up of 800 artisans from 14 different communities, each with their own identity and story. Kate’s aim is to preserve ancestral craft techniques while celebrating and supporting the region’s talented makers. Best-selling products in the range include intricately woven bags, napkin rings and placemats, colourful ceramics and intricately crafted earrings.

CONTACT: E: contact@thecolombiacollective.co.uk   

SAYWOOD STUDIOS

Created in 2020 by London College of Fashion graduate Harriet Saywood-Bellisario, Saywood is an ethically made slow fashion brand that creates colourful and wearable everyday essentials. Each piece is made in small volumes using responsibly sourced materials then elevated with beautiful attention to detail. Designed to be worn and re-worn, its signature garments are both timeless and modern. Expect to see classic styles such as shirts given an unexpected contemporary twist. The brand’s collection is small and is built on quality pieces with longevity in mind. With sustainability at the heart of her brand, the designer takes a responsible approach and works with sustainable fabrics and local makers whenever possible.

CONTACT: Tel: 07745 245 512 E: info@saywoodstudio.co.uk

PEOPLE TREE

Safia Minney

Pioneering sustainable womenswear brand People Tree was created over 30 years ago by social entrepreneur and women’s rights campaigner Safia Minney MBE. Its core mission has remained the same over the past three decades: to create every product to the highest ethical and environmental standard. The brand works with highly skilled garment makers from around world and ensures they are provided with good working conditions and paid fair wages. Its design team not only focuses on creating beautiful clothing, but also on preserving traditional hand skills such as weaving and embroidery to help women out of poverty. Its garments are made by unique fair-trade groups from around the world, such as sock maker Bulus in Turkey and Dhaka’s Artisan Hut, which put women’s rights at the forefront and take sustainability seriously.

CONTACT: E: wholesale@peopletree.co.uk

DASKA

Twenty-four-year-old Maryam Khan is changing people’s perceptions about modest fashion with her recently launched label Daska. The brand was created after the designer spotted a gap in the market for high quality and stylish modest clothing that could be worn by everyone. Part of her mission is to empower women to feel beautiful without showing their skin, whether for religious reasons or otherwise. Each of its garments pushes the boundaries of traditional modest design with timeless silhouettes, playful patterns and a bright colour palette. Its founder is also dedicated to sustainability and enlists environmentally responsible fabrics for each new season collection.  

CONTACT: E: sofia@blackpr.co.uk    

NESAVAALI

Reinventing traditional Indian textiles for the global woman, sustainable label Nesavaali fuses ethnic style with Western fashion, creating a contemporary design signature. The label was created in 2018 by designer Shangami Muthumani to support highly skilled female artisans in India who hand weave beautiful silks and fabrics in the ancient traditions of their ancestors while facing poverty and hardship. Today her brand helps women create a better life by providing working opportunities and fair wages. Its short order range includes gold foil printed dresses, tailored suits, flared skirts and jumpsuits. Wholesale prices start from £12 per dress.

CONTACT: nesavaali.com

BEEN LONDON

The brainchild of former BBC journalist Genia Mineeva, Been London creates unisex accessories made from recycled materials. The brand launched in 2018 with the help of a Kickstarter campaing and has gone onto win multiple awards for its efforts in sustainability. Its designers utilise a range of fully certified materials with a transparent supply chain while keeping carbon emissions to a minimum. Tannery offcuts and trimmings are recycled into new rolls of buttery-soft leather, pineapple leaves and apple skins are repurposed into vegan leather, and post-consumer single use plastics are remade into zips and hardware. The collections are then handmade locally in East London by an all-female team who are paid a London living wage.

CONTACT: E: partnerships@been.london been.london