Selected by The International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint agency of the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), sass & bide are joining a fashionable string of designers such as Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, and Ilaria Venturini Fendi, in The Ethical Fashion Initiative.
Operating effectively in indigent and disadvantaged rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa, The ITC’s Ethical Fashion Initiative’s objective is “to empower women through work”. By doing so, it facilitates in changing the lives of families and whole communities for the better, as it provides the opportunity for the uneducated and unqualified to join the workforce whilst simultaneously allowing skilled operatives to stay current with the demands of the Western market. Moreover, under the UN’s leverage, The Ethical Fashion Initiative is audited independently and regularly, illustrating improvements in the lives of all involved.
Working in partnership with the women of Africa in an endeavour to make fashion righteous, sass & bide have designed a limited edition “Heading North” shopper tote and “On Your Marks” clutch, each with patterns featuring tribal facets. Akin as such prints are to the eminent sass & bide vibrant visual, they were, in fact, produced by women from the Kikuyu, Masai, Samburu, and various other East African tribes.
Of the collaboration, Simone Cipriani, Head Poor Communities and Trade Programme, Chief Technical Adviser Ethical Fashion, has stated, “This is about shared values. It is about the world’s great design talents working together with marginalized people to create fantastic accessories while always observing a triple bottom line of People, Profit, Planet. We are delighted to welcome sass & bide, whose talent we have been watching for several years, to join other fashion stars working with The Ethical Fashion Initiative.”
“It is inspiring to be working directly with the East African Artisans, and to be influenced by their tradition, culture and daily lives,” maintains Sarah-Jane Clarke (sass). “By partnering with these talented craftswomen, it allows them to support their immediate families and greater communities. It is rewarding to see that their wages are used to educate their children. This one step forward towards the fight against poverty.”
To lend a hand in the fight against poverty, not to mention score an awesome, eye-catching tote and/or clutch, visit any sass & bide store (in Auckland, they are located on Ponsonby Road), or alternatively, purchase online here.