What do fashion and textbooks have in common?
Seemingly not very much.However there are some surprising link ups happening between fashion and education in the form of social enterprise. Some of us shop for our new gear in hopes that our purchases might contribute to organic farming, fair trade, or some kind of recycling or tree planting scheme. But what if you could have your clothes and send someone to school at the same time? Pretty amazing idea right! There are loads of one for one schemes that are happening across the Globe (one of the most famous ones is TOMS) but these are often criticised because they can flood developing markets with a certain product (like free shoes) and put local shoe makers out of business. Also, despite what many memes on social media say, there is a limit to the number of shoes one can own before it becomes a hinderance. Once you have a pair of shoes you are kind of sorted for a while on the practical level. The great thing about a purchase that sends kids to school is that it aids that child in breaking out of a poverty loop. By (having shoes) and being educated they can start to develop their own strategies and potential for a more fulfilling and abundant life. It kind of comes back to that age old proverb of:
give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime
Shoes are a good start because they keep our feet protected and allow for greater mobility. But learning how to make shoes, or how to get the money or resources to source your own shoes is more important for long term security. The following labels support you by making you look super awesome, and also aid in helping children gain an education.
Les Sublimes aim to create clothing that embodies your convictions, respects your integrity, and enhances your style. They believe that the simple act of buying something you love can make a big difference. That you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your values in order to look good and feel good. Translated to ‘the sublime’ the designers believe that being sublime is about leading a thoughtfully curated lifestyle of mutual benefit, leaving you feeling beautiful on the inside and out. With ranges designed and created in Paris, Les Sublimes products are infused with luxury, comfort and effortless beauty. Committed to slow fashion and mindful consumption, they don’t change our styles every season offering a permanent collection of essential items instead made from eco friendly and luxury fabrics. With every piece purchased, they give one month of education to a young girl in need. Because they believe that educating girls is the best way to end poverty permanently.
Society&Co believe that education empowers you to discover your talents, passions and dreams. That no child should miss out on the opportunity to go to school because their family can’t afford it. In Australia, a persistent gap exists in levels of education between Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people. 100% of the profits from Society&Co Apparel are used to grow their Indigenous Scholarship Fund. The fund then generates income to finance Scholarships for at risk Indigenous children. Better yet – it’s self-sustaining – with each dollar invested in the fund providing repeated benefits, year after year. The Scholarships are granted through Society&Co’s Indigenous Impact Partners to local Indigenous students they see as at risk of missing out on an education. The scholarship covers the costs of school essentials such as uniforms, books and stationery. Society&Co have a collection of growing staples that started at a white ethically manufactured WRAP certified tee. If you choose to invest, every time you pull on your Scholar Tee, you’ll know you’ve helped provide an education to an at risk Indigenous Australian student.
According to Pencils of Promise (PoP), 250 million children lack basic reading, writing & math skills. PoP believe that education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. Education reduces poverty, empowers women and helps prevent disease. PoP is has a “for-purpose” approach, blending the head of a for-profit business with the heart of a humanitarian nonprofit. They build schools, distribute scholarships, support teachers, and provide water and health programs for students. To date they have had 33, 883 students served by their schools and had an impact on more than 300k lives. You can support the work that PoP do by shopping their e-store, where they offer limited edition printed garments using American Apparel blanks.
Why stick to just clothes that do good? For those who are already studying and want to buy books that support the education of others why not shop Words With Heart? Words with heart offer eco friendly 100% post consumer recycled paper for their notebook and journal pages, and 100% recycled card for their covers. Their paper products are printed with vegie based inks, solar power and no harsh printing chemicals. Pretty darn eco-friendly! When compared to virgin source paper Words With Heart pages use 63% less energy, 82% less solid waste and 58% less water, and save 21 trees. For each stationery product Words With Heart sell funds a specific number of education days for women and girls in the developing world. It’s their goal to fund 500,000 education days by the end of 2016 and every time you buy, you support this mission!