Who made your accessories ?
Come on, let's do the fashion revolution !
In April 2017, we took part in the Paris Fashion Revolution Week. Most notably, we were at Grands Voisins on April 27 for a super interesting talk on why and how brands were committing to making the industry more ethical.
Where did the month go?! We didn't even take the time to tell you about it… So, we'll give you a quick run-down today because this revolution is something pretty close to our hearts.
Do you remember The Fashion Revolution? This movement came about in 2013 following the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, home to clothing factories for the fast fashion industry. Ever since, the movement has been fighting for a complete overhaul of the fashion industry and has called on all of us to consider the impact our consumption has on humans and the environment. Because there are new ways of producing and consuming fashion. That's why we need to keep the conversation going.
Look around: nowadays it's only natural to ask where the fruit and vegetables we eat come from. It's just as natural for us to want farmers to be paid fairly. So why don't we do the same with fashion?
When you look at it that way, it makes a whole lot of sense.
So, ultimately, what does the Fashion Revolution mean for Rive Droite Paris?
1. Choosing existing materials and recycling them: that's eco-friendly designing
We've already made it pretty clear that we use materials that are already available on the market: cotton that we recycle, and denim manufacturing offcuts, surplus fabric. Basically, the challenge we set ourselves was not to produce any fabric when creating our bags and accessories. (You can head here for a quick refresher).
2. Respecting people and their working conditions
That is also fundamental for us, obviously.
We have our own workshop where Said and Ahmed work. Said is our modeler, he creates the templates for all our models. He's amazing, because whenever Sofia mentions a new model, he always answers with "oh sure, I know how to do that". She's still yet to catch him out. His wingman, Ahmed, is in charge of cutting all the fabric. And that's no mean feat, since eco-friendly design comes with the added quirk of each piece of fabric we buy being a different size. We have to sort, recalibrate, cut... well, everything really, before we start assembling.
Then we are also backed by our network of independent fashion designers, who put together your orders. Thanks to them, the system is simple: we include them in our annual production plan to give them greater long-term visibility and we pay them per order. They’re all independent freelancers. We give them self-employed status, which gives them real financial independence, and social security coverage.
We guarantee fair pay for everyone we work with, so they can live comfortably in Casablanca.
We respect everyone's right to legal working hours.
It seems obvious, but it's not necessarily the norm.
3. Helping to boost the economy in Casablanca, a city we are very attached to.
Yasmine and Sofia have been living in Casablanca for a long time. Their children were born and took their first steps there… So that’s where we set up our workshop. Naturally, that creates a special bond. We love this city, and we are very happy to say that, with Rive Droite, we contribute to the local economy. We also ensure that our fashion designers, some of whom lost their jobs due to work being outsourced to Asia, are guaranteed a stable job with us.
4. Fair prices.
We cut out the middle man, there's no marketing budget, and we have reasonable margins. Instead, we pour our energy into fighting for eco-friendly design; we want it to become the new standard in fashion and lifestyle. And we won’t stop ‘til we make it happen! But, to do this, we need to keep our prices reasonable. And that they are: a weekend bag for €75, a recycled cotton toiletry bag for €39. Seems reasonable enough to us.
5. Being realistic and open
We're the first to admit we're not perfect. We wouldn't lie to you like that. But we do our best.
We have our limits, that's a given. For example, while the wash-out process for our jean offcuts doesn’t involve any chemicals and is carried out in a factory that meets international quality standards, it uses a lot of water. The pouches we use to package our products aren't made of organic cotton, but they can be reused for as long as you like. Our paints aren’t plant-based. Ok.
But when all's said and done, the important thing is that we're making progress. Little by little. We're doing our bit. Because if we waited for everything to be perfect, we'd never get anything done. And we’re definitely too hyperactive for that.
So, we're starting our own revolution, in our own way, and that’s how we like it!