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Meet The Fabric Social

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 16:58

We’ve partnered with Australian ethical fashion business The Fabric Social, and linked these awesome feminists up with artisanal craftswomen in Myanmar. The end product is The Fabric Social’s new RISE collection, which is on sale here now.

It’s feminist fashion – cutting out the exploitative middle men and ensuring women have alternatives to working in Yangon’s dangerous garment factories, which deny them their rights.

Who are The Fabric Social?

The Fabric Social is an Australian ethical fashion business, who source their clothes from women living in low-income communities confronting economic insecurity and injustice. By buying clothes through the Fabric Social, you can support their producers to stand up and claim their rights.

Meet the women behind the label

Fi

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“At The Fabric Social, we work specifically with women who typically fall outside the traditional aid and development systems. We deliberately work in geographically vulnerable locations. In the case of the Rise collection - the women producers live in the Magwe region, which is part of the Myanmar dryzone: where climate change has created a litany of problems. Uncertain seasons means crop loss for subsistence farmers, chronic indebtedness, and food insecurity. Supporting sustainable livelihoods that are not reliant on farming is critically important for Magwe, and lots of other places like it.

Alternative sustainable livelihoods too often lack the backing to get off the ground. The women in the dryzone have been hand weaving natural fibres for generations, and we aim to make an investment in these skills, and in this knowledge.

The best programs are those that make an investment in people forging their own path. This is what we aim to do. By coming from a fashion angle with the backing of emerging design talent, we are able to produce something that sells, and in turn we are able to place back to back orders. Regular income is not the sexiest impact outcome, but it is a huge deal for these women to be able to secure their livelihoods, save money, and plan for their futures.”

Sharna

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"If you read the reports about exploitation in the garments industry, the number one issue is traceability and the lack of relationships with suppliers and producers. We proudly know the names of the women we work with, have strong relationships built on trust and shared purpose. We build this thing together, and we create incredible design products together. I can't imagine doing business any other way.

“The Fabric Social exists to provide an alternative for customers who want to wear high quality design products, but want their supply chains to reflect their feminist values. It feels good to step out looking street chic as hell, and it feels better to wear pieces that celebrate good business practices. The absence of guilt is a highly under-rating feeling.

Our work with the MBoutik women in Myanmar is offering a genuine alternative. The have a living wage, a safe and supportive work environment and are developing there skills. The Rise collection is about offering customers a feminist forward alternative, and showing solidarity through buying better.

Megan

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“The Fabric Social supports women’s small businesses while maintaining local tradition by spreading it through international markets. In countries like India, you have so many women with the skill sets to create beautiful handmade items. However, the issue is that there are so many women who create the same products. By opening international markets, teaching a bit about quality control and mixing the products with a Western flair, you can drive business and thus bring a bit of economic stability – if only for that one woman. We didn’t re-invent anything; we only supported what’s already there through the opening of markets, a bit of business education and some new design ideas.

“The project in Yangon [Myanmar] – while not necessarily the most important – is the most significant in that it’s funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in conjunction with Action Aid Australia. I wish I could say I’ve had a huge hand in this but it’s really been Sharna and Fi. They’re killing it. The fact that The Fabric Social team operates on four continents and are still functioning is an achievement in itself!”

Get yourself something from the RISE collection today.

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This innovative business partnership, coordinated by ActionAid Australia through funding from DFAT’s new Business Partnerships Platform, is supporting women in Myanmar to realise their economic independence and full human rights.