The fashion brands empowering women in developing countries
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The textile and clothing industry is the second largest employer after agriculture in the developing world, and a large percentage of this workforce are women. Research shows that empowering and investing in women has a cumulative bonus: women are likely to spend their income on their children and families, on education, health and nutrition, bringing long term positive change and prosperity to communities.
There are numerous fashion brands making a strong social impact but restricted to their local markets. Because I am aware of the role that fashion plays in our lives and the lives of those that create it, I decided to support these brands and bring them to a global mainstream market via the online boutique Fashion ComPassion.
As of April, more than 53,000 Palestine refugees from Syria were seeking safety and shelter from the continuing conflict in Lebanon. One of the first brands Fashion ComPassion partnered was Palestyle, a brand providing jobs and an income to Palestinian refugee women in camps in Lebanon and Jordan.
With a vision of becoming a leading accessory brand in the Middle East, Fashion ComPassion worked as its retailer, agent and distributor, helping to build its market in Pakistan and securing its stock in the British Museum. Palestyle started with a small team of 20 women who used their skills and craftsmanship to add traditional embroidery and designs to fashion pieces, and today works with 100 women, investing in community projects such as the Water Tank Exchange Program, which has provided clean water to over 4,000 refugees.