In the wake of the ongoing refugee crisis, one not-for-profit in Australia has proven that ethical fashion can be a help like no other.
The women behind From Found have recognized two major issues within the realm of fashion:
1) Despite growing awareness, waste continues to be a major concern. We’ve written extensively about the devastating environmental impacts of the fashion industry, detailing the water usage, pesticides, and textile waste that goes into manufacturing a garment as simple as a cotton t-shirt. As it turns out, the fashion industry is amongst the highest pollutants of the world, second only to the oil industry.
2) The job market for refugees is extremely difficult to enter. Upon arriving to a new country, asylum seekers – especially women – find it challenging to receive full-time employment, despite the skills and abilities they possess.
Much like the name suggests, all of the pieces made by From Found is manufactured exclusively using recycled, reclaimed, and recovered textiles. The fabrics have either been graciously donated by the community, or are leftover textiles from other areas of the industry. The organization makes a point to employ skilled individuals from non-English speaking backgrounds. Thus, merely by existing, they are both taking a stand against the environmental issues caused by the fashion industry, as well as opening career pathways for refugees. “There are unutilized skills going to waste in homes around Australia because we have not provided enough opportunities”, noted one of the four women behind the organization.
The goal of the not-for-profit is to couple style and quality with ethics and sustainability. As of now, the refugee workers operate for three days a week, and will stay employed for as long as they need to build their English, confidence, and exposure to the workforce. Ideally, they will later be equipped to transition to all types of industries. As a result, the women are both employed and empowered – for the long term.
The first collection of From Found clothing is set to be released for November, at which point you can purchase from their online store, or if you happen to be in Australia, from the local design markets around Adelaide. They will be selling men’s clothing, women’s clothing, and accessories.
As it stands, the company is a start-up, but they are already providing opportunities to countless women who would have otherwise not been given a chance at employment.
So, given that Canada is amongst those that actively welcomes refugees, could this very well be the future of ethical fashion? We certainly hope so.
Information Gathered From: ABC Radio