For Future's Sake: A Plan For Long Term Boldness
Where AMMA is heading and how you can journey with us.
Environmentally, we need change within the fashion and textile industry on a large scale. The current model is destroying our planet - the fashion industry is the second largest polluter after oil and contributes to 25% of fresh water pollution worldwide.
I see rural production units as the alternative. Dissolve the idea of the centralized factory, and allow women to return to their home villages and re-integrate into the community. This would contribute to creating more sustainable cities, improving mental health and decreasing human trafficking (to list a few of the benefits). In a world where 1 in 30 of us live outside our country of birth (2017) and in which 25.4 million are refugees (2016), I believe that networks of production units that adhere to the concept of social enterprise are the way forward.
And truly I believe this is why AMMA is important. It is perfectly placed to become a working model of this concept which could then be tested and expanded in other nations and communities around the world.
Embracing my role
From the start I have been very conscious of what I can contribute to AMMA and what I can’t, along with the possible damage I could cause as a white woman trying to develop a business in a culture foreign to my own. I was always bound to make mistakes(which I have), and it was my intention from the start to create an enterprise that, if it failed, wouldn’t cause long-term damage to the community in which we are based.
I have at every moment tried to put the women we employ as the focus of our social media and story, as we grow it’s become more clear that my voice is important and integral to what we do, and so I will share it alongside my colleagues. Fittingly this has coincided with AMMA transitioning to being run by a local team with local directors operating under a local business registration.
Collaboration not isolation
I have also gone through a thought shift in how we work with others. If I truly want to see the goal above fulfilled, I can’t do it by myself. My strengths and expertise are perfectly placed doing this job but we need to be working with a global network of thought leaders and do-ers to see the vision come into being. We need to start working with similar businesses in other parts of the world, collating information and creating a hybrid enterprise that embodies an effective system for a new version of the fashion industry.
Obviously we have got ourselves into this state of chaos because we live in a society that allows us to actively disconnect with the processes of how things are made and allows us to withdraw from understanding the resources used to create raw materials. We see it in farming and agriculture too; the lack of knowledge and interest in process has resulted in a common acceptance of cheap prices, worker exploitation and environmental pollution. For an industry as influential and polluting as fashion to not be taught through mainstream education is ridiculous. Fashion production, needs to be incorporated into the curriculum in a current way that addresses its contribution to climate change.
To finish up
Honestly, i’ve been sitting on this post for the last month letting the ideas i’ve written about ‘stew’ in my mind. But I still agree with what I’ve written. I claim my naivety and acknowledge the vastness of the issues i’ve written about are complex. But lets welcome the boldness, shall we?
If you’ve found this blog post helpful, check out my last post about ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’.
All photos taken by Molly Fenton Design.