Friday, 28 February 2014

10 “CHIECO” FASHION WARRIORS by Sophia Parsons

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With fashion week having just passed, once again we have seen the industry face media scrutiny. For the ethics of fashion, from sourcing to manufacture and ultimately profit, has been the subject of countless articles. This is not one of them. Although serious issues remain, it’s not all doom and gloom out there in the ever-evolving world of glamour. To restore your faith in clothing kind we bring you 10 “chieco” (pronounced chic-o) warriors that are changing the principles of fashion one garment at a time.


1) Stella McCartney
An ardent animal rights campaigner, McCartney is the face of virtuous luxury fashion, creating clothes free of leather and fur. Her ‘eco-collection’ is comprised only of organic and recycled fabrics and uses low impact dyes. McCartney firmly believes that designers should completely avoid using animal products; a sentiment that she feels should also be applied to both the food and beauty industries.



2) ASOS Green Room
Perhaps surprisingly one of the biggest online shopping outlets is also adjusting its policies by taking the environment into account. The ASOS green Room is a platform “dedicated to collections with an ethical or eco-conscious story to tell.” The Green Room provides a glossary that explains why each product is regarded as an ethical or eco-conscious garment. Launched in 2010, the Green Room has been hugely successful, now housing some of the most talked about labels in sustainable fashion.




3) Blue Q
Brothers Mitch and Seth Nash are the creative minds behind the label Blue Q. They make some fabulous environmentally friendly bags from 95% post consumer material. Furthermore, they don’t test on animals and neither do the manufacturers they work with. A clean sweep all round!



4) From Somewhere
This is a designer brand that combines sustainable thinking with fashion forward design by working with “pre consumer surplus from the manufacturing houses and textile mills of the luxury fashion industry.” Although they describe their work as “exquisite rubbish” we couldn’t disagree more! Just check out this jumper:



5) Estethica
Founded by the British Fashion Council, Estethica showcases the movement of designers committed to working sustainably, evolving to become the hub of the London ethical fashion industry. All Estethica designers must adhere to one of the three Estethica principles of fair-trade, ethical practices or use of organic and recycled materials.



6) Bottletop
This is a little label, doing big things. Bottletop creates chic handbags out of... you guessed it, bottle tops! Bottletop are included under the Estethica tag for their contribution and commitment to sustainable fashion. Their products are created both by highly skilled artisans around the world and also by people that have been trained to make them, providing fair wages to families in the process.



7) Katrien Van Hecke
Creating organic hand dyed and hand woven artisan garments, Van Hecke also possesses the Estethica tag. Her ideal clients are those who are aware of the unique workmanship that goes into her products.



8) Pachacuti
This is a company that creates contemporary Panama hats through fair-trade production and promotion. Their mission is to “redress the inequalities in the global fashion industry through demonstrating that it is possible to run a successful retail and wholesale clothing business which benefits the producers and is environmentally friendly.”



9) EABURNS
Specialising in high impact, modern statement accessories, this is a British brand that prides itself on both its style and green credentials. EABURNS recently introduced a range that is manufactured from 100% recycled silver and 18 carat gold vermeil (a metal made by coating a base of sterling silver with gold). They also source their leather from discarded scraps that other UK manufacturers find too small to be useful.



10) Lost Property of London
Taking salvaged fabric, Lost Property of London transforms it into stylish yet practical accessories. Their ethos, to create stylish pieces that are kind to the environment, is strengthened by their commitment to only source vegetable tanned leather.



We hope that these ten “chieco” fashion warriors have given you a little more faith in fashion and eased some of your grievances with the style world. What’s more this is just the tip of the iceberg, for environmentally conscious style is gaining momentum within the industry. Especially as a growing number of celebrities campaign against the use of fur, testing on animals and the impact of fast fashion. Although we cannot discount the issues within the fashion industry that we see so often in the media, it’s great to see companies taking a stand on issues that ultimately impact the whole planet.


Follow Sophia Parsons on Twitter here



Picture Sources:
Stella McCartney
ASOS Green Room
ASOS Green Room Glossary
Blue Q
From Somewhere
Estethica
Bottletop
Katrien Van Hecke
Pachacuti
EABURNS
Lost Property of London






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Thursday, 20 February 2014

Charity begins at home. It doesn’t have to end there. By Niall Palmer

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During the recent UK floods, two well-educated friends recently said to me


“Why are we sending all this aid overseas? We should be spending it at home.”


To my mind that’s like saying “Our roof leaks, so who cares if our neighbour’s house has been washed away?” It may seem to make financial sense to look after number one, but is that really all we’re about? Our leaking roof won’t stop water-borne disease spreading outside. Helping those in the UK and giving foreign aid are not mutually exclusive. Do national borders mean we don’t have a responsibility to one help one another? We’re living in a privileged society, according to the National Institute of Social and Economic Research the UK economy is forecast to grow 2.5% this year, and 2.1% next. The wolf may not be at the door just yet. One day we might be grateful that we have neighbours left to take us in.


There is a great deal of pressure on foreign aid, and it isn’t given away lightly. The UK government is planning to eliminate the foreign aid given to India by 2015 and that’s because India has a strong emerging economy. But that’s not the case everywhere. Foreign aid helps countries like Bangladesh provide clean drinking water and improve health care and sanitation.



In Nigeria, UK aid is working to allow 600,000 girls into education. We should all care about global population increase, but leaving people to starve or live with preventable disease is not the way forward; Nations with a highly educated population see infant mortality fall, but more importantly, birth rates fall even more dramatically. It’s foreign aid that helps us to provide that kind of influence.



It may be easy to convince ourselves that because some aid is abused that every pound we give as a nation is worthless. It’s not. And the same goes for what we do as individuals. That’s where organisations like WaterAid come in. WaterAid was first established in the UK back in 1981. From humble beginnings, they are now helping more than a million people each year gain access to safe water and improved sanitation.


With your fundraising efforts, WaterAid can do even more. The organisation’s crisis statement reads:


“Without safe water or sanitation, people are trapped in a cycle of poverty and disease. Across the developing world, millions of women are wasting precious time collecting dirty water, children are dying from preventable diarrhoeal diseases, and communities have open sewers running through them.”



We are facing a terrible, but temporary flooding crisis in the UK. But imagine if you couldn’t ever turn on a tap and drink clean water, let alone get a broken leg put in plaster or send your children to school. Giving just £15 can provide the tools to build a well and a regular donation of £2 a month could provide a village with a rain collection system. Click here to get involved.


Our society might not be perfect, but it’s not broken. If your home has been flooded, of course you expect help – from your friends, neighbours, family and government. We should use our temporary experience of tough times to remind us that people outside of our country are experiencing hardship every single day.


In time those impacted by the UK floods will see that their lives and homes will be rebuilt. But in other parts of the world these problems will continue to exist. Instead of ignoring them, let’s ask not only what our government can do to help, but what we can contribute to make the lives of our neighbors better.


Follow Niall Palmer on Twitter here





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Life Makes Heroes: Thurgood Marshall

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On May 17th, 1954 the US Supreme Court ruled on the case Brown V. Board of Education. The unanimous decision stated, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Argued by Thurgood Marshall, it was a significant victory in the Civil Rights Movement, legally outlawing racial segregation. Thurgood Marshall is a hero of change because he successfully challenged an inequitable system, winning 29 Supreme Court cases and vastly expanding the rights of black Americans. Less than a decade after the Brown decision Marshall, the grandson of a slave, would himself became a Supreme Court justice, the first African American ever appointed.


Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1908. His great-grandfather had been taken from, what is now, the Democratic Republic of Congo, to be enslaved in the US. Following the outlaw of slavery in 1865, many of the states that had allowed it sought to continue their old way of life through sustaining the marginalization of black Americans. These states, that were overwhelmingly located South of the Mason-Dixon line, enacted “Jim Crow laws” that segregated black Americans, confining them into a separate and a lot less equal space. For having a workforce without any rights was extremely profitable to those in charge. Indeed since the foundation of the US, citizens had sought slaves to profit from their labor. Jim Crow laws that so explicitly defined the spheres that black residents could enter were no more than a de facto extension of slavery. Since they severely limited the opportunities that were open to black Americans to advance.


In order too enforce these laws, white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan formed, inflicting a trail of violence that became commonplace in the Southern States. Even though amendments to the constitution had been enacted following the Civil War to give black Americans equal rights, white supremacists sought to continue the historical disenfranchisement of black Americans through terror.


The following video gives a brief account of lynching, it should be noted that lynching became widespread to keep those who spoke out in their place.


In 1896 the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, capable of changing and enforcing laws, heard the Plessy V. Ferguson case. In it a black resident of New Orleans argued that the separate spaces were far from equal. But the court would not be swayed and racial segregation was deemed constitutional. It was not until Thurgood Marshall brought the Brown V. Board of Education case to the Supreme Court in 1954, that the ruling was overturned. In this major victory of the long Civil Rights Movement, Marshall laid the foundation for black Americans to have equal opportunities.


Growing up Marshall had direct experience of segregated life in the US where everything from schools to water fountains was strictly divided. Formal signs detailed where each person should go according to their skin color and informal practices, blatantly denying people from entering or attending an institution were commonplace. Disobeying these laws would land you in prison, or worse, dead; killed by the unjust system that was comprised of white supremacist groups, local lawmakers and social norms. After completing his undergraduate degree at Lincoln University in 1930, Thurgood Marshall sought entry to the University of Maryland School of Law, located in his hometown. Yet he was denied admission due to the school’s segregation policy. It was just five years later, after graduating first in his class from Howard University School of Law that he sued the University of Maryland’s law school and won.


Over the course of his career as a lawyer Marshall won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court. In 1963, just 8 years after he successfully argued the Brown case, President Kennedy appointed Marshall to be a justice of the Supreme Court, the first black justice ever appointed. As Lewis argues, “He may be remembered as someone who had at least as powerful an influence on the Supreme Court before he joined it as while a member.”


If there's a hero of change you want us to cover in our series of people changing the world their way, just let us know. To explore how you can change the world your way, visit Makerble.com.






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Monday, 10 February 2014

In 10 years time, charities and their funders will need to be transparent

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It’s a common theme that we’re seeing across sectors. The rise of the internet and with it the increased accessibility of information is triggering uprisings from consumers to businesses from donors to charities and from donors to donors.


Donors want charities to be more transparent

People want to know where their money goes. Last year an NPC research report published in the Third Sector Magazine suggested that as many as 50% of people are “put off giving because they think charities are not clear about how donations are spent”. If the figures are to be believed, this amounts to an amazing opportunity, one that could add up to £665million/year in additional donations. There are some age-old truths that could soon become myths under the transparency spotlight. Anecdotal evidence from initiatives such as Filanthropy* crowdfunding events suggest the current truth that donors don’t like to award money to core costs is dismantled once young donors at least, understand the importance of core costs and the benefits of investing in them.

Transparency around where the money goes leads to that increased understanding because there’s no simple way to avoid it. There’s an attached education process. Being open about where funds go leads to donors learning more about where funds go. Once charities start to embrace it the challenge becomes how, while it still isn’t the norm, is it best to marry ones ideals to the requirements of less flexible institutional donors, who often hold much of the power? How is it best to be transparent when you fail, when you’re inefficient, while all the time fighting to survive in a deeply competitive funding environment?

Donors need to embrace the realities results show

The current reality is that charities being open about failure, or most often, about not achieving what donors have asked that them achieve (which is not necessarily failure) exposes them and invites a contrast to others in their field. This can lead some donors who have fixed understandings and targets connected to what they want to fund, to withdraw support. At the moment being totally transparent is a risk, which can make improving and innovation a risk. That’s a sorry state of affairs. Instead, both individual and institutional donors need to embrace honesty, recognising their own misconceptions up front.

Intermediaries are starting to contribute and facilitate dialogue between charities and donors. In the US David Callahan has built and released Inside Philanthropy, a site on which NGOs can leave anonymous feedback on major funders, introducing a safe feedback mechanism. In 10 years time transparency and an understanding that failure, for example, on both sides is inherent in effecting change, in testing new solutions, will be embraced and we’ll all be better for it.

Donors want each other to be more transparent

It’s not rocket science but those who are interested in changing the world want increasingly to know what each other are doing so that they can have the most impact. There’s little sense in focusing all resources on the same problem. If we knew what we all spent our funds on we could distribute them effectively. The International Aid and Transparency Initiative is leading the way in the world of international development, calling on donor governments to publish spreadsheets in the same format detailing their aid spend. Anyone can go onto their website and look at where those donor governments involved are spending their funds. Last December, at the end of an Alliance breakfast, Fran Perrin of the Indigo Trust called for a similar initiative for UK Donors, accessible to all.

 ‘In a google generation we expect to be able to search for and share that data’

In ten years time that information will be out there. Yes there are challenges, but it will inevitably lead to improved performance and better allocation of funds. For those seeking to improve the world it may be scary, but it’s not complicated.

This blog was inspired by the Guardian's 'In 10 years time' series
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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Life Makes Heroes: Malala Yousafzai

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On October 9, 2012 the Taliban stopped a school bus in the Swat region of Pakistan. It was transporting female students and their teachers home after a day of lessons. One of the students was Malala Yousafzai, a 15 year old who had voiced her disagreement when the Taliban forbade education to girls. On that fateful day the Taliban shot Malala in the head. Miraculously she survived. Malala is a hero of change because she risked her life to raise awareness to the disproportionate number of girls who do not have access to education.


Born July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan Malala grew up with a strong motivation to be educated. Seeing that her brothers could think of their future positively, without any restrictions on what they wanted to be, Malala found it much harder. In order to achieve a life outside of “my four walls… just cooking and giving birth to children” Malala had to be eligible for a white-collar job. Instead of putting her off, these boundaries motivated her to “become educated and empower [herself] with knowledge.” Yet her chances for success dwindled. Following 9/11 and the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, anti-Western sentiment swept through the Swat region of Pakistan and the Taliban’s power began to take hold. In taking a conservative line the Taliban announced in 2008 that all female education must cease.


But Malala didn’t stop attending classes. She kept going to the school that her father had founded, right up until the day that she was shot. In the years between 2008 and 2012 Malala became a powerful voice against the denial of education to females in Pakistan. In 2009, at the age of 11, Malala began to write posts for the BBC Urdu blog, Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl. Raising awareness of the Taliban’s threat to her education, Malala’s posts were anonymous. However her identity was revealed when she spoke in public locally of her belief in education for females, in a documentary, and in her 2011 nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Whilst people considered her father, the owner of local schools that permitted female students, at the greatest personal risk, no one suspected that the Taliban would target a child.


Just as Malala was undeterred by the challenge of creating a future as a woman outside of the home, the shooting has only bolstered her message. Now she speaks out and inspires people across the world to make a difference in ensuring that all children have access to education. On her sixteenth birthday Malala spoke from the UN headquarters advocating that all children should be able to go to school. Malala has been called a hero by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize the past two years in a row. Asked by the BBC’s Mishal Husain what she thinks the Taliban achieved by shooting her, Malala responded, "I think they may be regretting that they shot Malala. Now she is heard in every corner of the world."


If there's a hero of change you want us to cover in our series of people changing the world their way, just let us know. To explore how you can change the world your way, visit Makerble.com.





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Friday, 31 January 2014

Change the World Your Way: Write for Our Blog!

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Make Worldwide is a conscious lifestyle company that has created Makerble.com and we are recruiting student contributors to write for our Lifestyle Blog.


About Make Worldwide

Everything we create helps people bring their values into their lifestyles. We think of it as Changing The World YOUR Way. Last year we created Makerble.com, it shows you the change you make in the world through the charitable projects you fund. To find out more about Makerble, watch our 60 second video: http://youtu.be/2v8ghfRDCMg We’re based in London and have a great team of volunteers working with our core team.


Our Lifestyle Blog

Our Lifestyle Blog looks at culture through a conscious lens. We unpack the causes inspiring the stories behind Oscar-winning movies, chart-topping singles and best-selling books while exploring the big themes surrounding the latest fashion, food, travel and technology trends we love. This is for people who want to make the most out of life in a way that’s ok with their conscience. And now we’re looking for writers like you.


Lifestyle Writers - Requirements

  • Great written style
  • Able to write at least an article a month (we can be flexible)
  • Great attention to detail
  • Passionate about at least one area of culture e.g. Cinema, Music, Literature, Fashion, Food, Travel, Technology
  • Self-starter who is open to feedback
  • Able to meet deadlines
  • An eye for selecting pictures or a willingness to develop in this area
  • Able to work remotely, from home

Lifestyle Writers - What You Get

  • Great journalism experience writing about lifestyle areas that crossover into newspapers and magazines
  • Greater exposure for your articles
  • References as requested and a LinkedIn Recommendation
  • Knowledge that your articles are informing, entertaining, challenging and inspiring people to make the world a better place
  • Make Worldwide is a social enterprise and this is a voluntary opportunity

How to Apply

In no more than 500 words briefly tell us why you are applying for the position and outline your previous writing experience. Please also include both your CV and a writing sample -this can be either a link or an attachment to an article, essay or blog post that you have written. Please e-mail this to Matt Kepple: mk[at]makeworldwide.com, using the subject line "Lifestyle Writer"





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Monday, 13 January 2014

Charities' use of shock imagery in advertising: the shock puts me off

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It’s a debate that has raged on for years. Should charities make use of shock imagery in their advertising campaigns, to make us sit up and take notice?

Most of us can probably recall some of the more shocking charity campaigns that have been produced straight away. For me, the infamous print campaign from Barnardo’s that features a baby with a syringe springs immediately to mind, as does the NSPCC’s baby that’s left to cry in its cot, along with several others. What’s clear is that these ads certainly make an impact, and will likely leave the viewer feeling distressed and guilty if they don’t make a donation.

But I’ve been both relieved and inspired by some of the more recent charity campaigns that have aimed to do exactly the reverse. Marie Curie’s recent campaign, ‘Symmetry’, is beautiful and captivating in its depiction of why your last moments should mean as much as your first. It’s immediately relatable and very human, which makes it moving and poignant.



Then there’s the entirely positive and uplifting new campaign from Oxfam, ‘Lift Lives for Good’. At the beginning of the film we see a mother receive a cow, and go on to explore how such a simple, single act can greatly alter and improve the fortunes of an entire community. Unlike most charity advertising the film is fun and upbeat, featuring a track from Rudimental. For Oxfam, it seems to mark a significant departure from the type of advertising that they typically employ.



I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel far more inspired and motivated to make a donation by these positive, or at least beautiful, charity campaigns. They help me understand how the money I donate will be used to create positive outcomes, and I feel reassured about the sort of communication I’ll receive if I enter into a long-term relationship with one of these charities. The last thing I want is to donate, only for that donation to be followed up with a never-ending stream of campaign material that continues to make me feel guilty until I give more.


It’s this feeling that is one of our major motivations for creating Makerble. Our ambition is to connect potential donors to projects run by charities that they instinctively care about, and to let them see the impact that their donation achieves – through pictures, statistics and films of the results. We believe this establishes a more positive, long-term relationship between a donor and the projects they support, and one that allows them to experience and more fully understand exactly why their donation means so much.
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