This past week has been a great week for us, a little terrifying, but great all the same. For starters I turned 25, but that’s a story for a whole other blog. Early on last week we had a meeting with Cameron Brohman of Brandaid to discuss our clothing project. It seemed, and rightly so, that nothing could move forward until we had a designer on board. While overall the meeting went smoothly, without having the actual garment sample everything felt a little up in the air. Following the meeting, I couldn’t help but wonder (yes I am going there a la Carrie Bradshaw) when it comes to bags, men and cities, is it really what’s outside that counts? (Season 3 episode 14). Ok so it doesn’t make total sense but I really felt we couldn’t have a blog without somehow quoting Sex and the City…back to our week.
Literally hours after our meeting with Cameron, as if summoned by some unknown ethical fashion goddess, a friend of Sways contacted us to know she was interested and ready to create a design for us. A quick chat later, complete with a few sketches, and Samantha Stoncius was on her way to becoming the first designer to collaborate on our Peace by Piece collection.
All week we anxiously awaited the arrival of the two vests to be finished. To add to our growing anxiety as we waited for the vests, we had another meeting, this time with Cameron and another co-founder of Brandaid, Tony Pigott. Tony, is a big wig. He is high up in the corporate ladder, and he knows what he is talking about when it comes to marketing and branding a name or entity. To say the least, we felt a bit out of our league, but attempted to hold our own.
We discussed taking the clothing line to retailers or to small boutiques and what would be the best avenue to go down. Sway and I tend to lean towards keeping the ethical line in small boutiques and coffee shops throughout Toronto. Our idea is to help local businesses grow, and create a more direct relationship between local artisans and tailors in Haiti and consumers and retailers in Toronto. Tony seems to lean towards creating a brand to be sold in a large retail setting. Hesitant and critical as we were, we tried to see how this could work.
Maybe just maybe we could do this. IF a large retail chain were to simply allow us to have a rack of clothing containing a logo that clearly depicts how and where the garment was made, and under what conditions. And, as long as said retail chain never tries to silence how we envision the line or alter the initial intention of an ethical clothing line and partnership, it could be beneficial.
I mean, and we’re kind of dreaming here, what if this retail chain were to slowly begin to realize that the labour standards they impose on the workers in their overseas maquiladoras really aren’t fair. And subsequently begin to change these practices to be more ethical. What if the average consumer who entered their store, saw this fashion line and then realized that ethically made fashion can be fairly priced and and fashionable and more readily available to them.
Maybe this is the start of reworking the way capitalism works. Perhaps it has to start with one small step, or one button as we would like to assume. Again, as I said we are dreaming here…but don’t all realizations begin with a dream?