Those days building strong personal brand is as important for every individual as it is for a big corporation. The brand equity is being built not only by how we behave and how we present ourselves. The brand reputation is also created by the choices that we make and the values that are important to us. Making the right choices for ourselves, for the others and the environment enhances your personal profile. Trust and confidence in a person can be also built if you take into consideration an ethical standpoint as well.

At Manifattura Donna, we not only help women to build their personal brands by providing them with fabulous clothes, but we also insist on ethical production, ensuring that we make the right choices as a company. We hope that by wearing ethically produced clothes you will notice how the perception of you by other will change as well.

 
 
Copenhagen Fashion Summit is the world's largest and most important conference on sustainability and CSR in the fashion industry. The biennial Summit gathers more than 1000 key industry stakeholders to identify new opportunities and forward-looking solutions for the global fashion industry to tackle the growing challenges facing the planet.

Comparatively, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting and socially challenged industries. One solution to a more sustainable fashion industry lies within the theme of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2012: Sustainable consumption.

Consumers can play a pivotal role in transitioning the fashion industry towards more sustainable business models. The Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2012 addresses how the industry can raise awareness and interest amongst consumers to choose sustainable fashion and sustainable consumption of fashion.           

 
 
It was a great idea to stay here for the long weekend. There is still so much to discover about London. Just 45 minutes away from Canary Wharf - take a tube, good book and discover a more sustainable life in London.
 
 

It was announced last week that Vogue is changing its policy regarding the models that feature in their 19 international publications. To reflect their commitment both to the health of their models and to the well-being of their readers, Vogue has pledged not to work with models that are underage or appear to have an eating disorder. Vogue Magazine should be applauded for leading the way – and we can only hope that more magazines will soon follow in their footsteps. True beauty comes from being both healthy and happy.

These are the six promises Vogue has made to its readers:

“1. We will not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder. We will work with models who, in our view, are healthy and help to promote a healthy body image.

“2. We will ask agents not to knowingly send us underage girls and casting directors to check IDs when casting shoots, shows and campaigns.

“3. We will help to structure mentoring programs where more mature models are able to give advice and guidance to younger girls, and we will help to raise industry-wide awareness through education, as has been integral to the Council of Fashion Designers of America Health Initiative.

“4. We will encourage producers to create healthy backstage working conditions, including healthy food options and a respect for privacy. We will encourage casting agents not to keep models unreasonably late.

“5. We encourage designers to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes, and encourages the use of extremely thin models.

“6. We will be ambassadors for the message of healthy body image.”
 
 
Last month, M&S launched a new eco-initiative, ‘Shwopping,’ which encourages consumers to bring their old clothes into a store so that they can be reused, resold or recycled by charity partner Oxfam. The idea is that people donate an old item of clothing every time they buy a new one.

M&S have stated that their aim is to recycle as many clothes as they sell – around 350 million a year. CEO Mark Bolland has said that their ultimate goal is to ‘put a complete stop to clothes ending up in landfill.’ In the above video of the Shwopping launch, you can see 10,000 items of clothing draped over buildings in Brick Lane – this shocking amount represents the number of clothes thrown into landfill sites every five minutes.  

The scheme has been endorsed by Joanna Lumley who has said that she would like to see this kind of clothes recycling become as common as bottle recycling.  ‘I think people will be suspicious and doubtful [at first],’ she says in an interview to the Telegraph. ‘[But] I'm rich enough, and grand enough, and old enough not to have to do things anymore, so I only do things that I can put my hand on my heart and say: “This is good” and I back it. I want people to know that they can trust me and I can trust M&S.’

Efforts from large companies like M&S to be more eco-friendly are always to be welcomed but, of course, we should not forget the importance of buying better quality pieces in the first place, and the difference that slow fashion can make to people and to the planet.

 
 

This week has seen the Brown Sugar Better Fashion Week in Ireland. This is a sustainable fashion initiative from Re-Dress – a non-profit group that works to promote more ethical practices within the Irish fashion industry. Better Fashion Week has been running since 2008 and serves to bring ethical fashion to the attention of the public and the industry. This year there have been talks, pop-up boutiques, exhibitions, workshops and conferences taking place throughout the week.

Re-Dress’s aim is to make sustainable fashion accessible, stylish and sexy. As well as organising Better Fashion Week they also run the Clean Clothes Campaign (supporting workers in the sweatshop industries) and the Made in Ireland Campaign.

You can find more information about them here: http://www.re-dress.ie/index.php 

 
 
Upcycling - "The practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value."

Whereas recycling involves making something of lesser value, upcycling consists of making products that are of the same or greater value – they move back up the supply chain rather than further down it. As well as creating new and exciting pieces, upcycling saves water and energy, prevents unnecessary production and minimises harmful environmental effects.

A great example of this is Reclaim to Wear – named by Vogue as “the most stylish fashion campaign there is” – a designer solution to an environmental challenge introduced by Orsola de Castro and Fillipo Ricci as a way to design beautiful clothes made entirely from discarded materials and remnants, such as stock, designer surplus and production off-cuts. Livia Firth is amongst those who have collaborated with Reclaim to Wear to produce a bespoke upcycled design.

Orsola de Castro and Fillipo Ricci are also the curators of Estethica, the BFC’s ethical fashion initiative.

 
 
Do you fancy a challenge? How about cycling from London to Paris, enjoying fantastic views and making new friends along the way, getting fit for summer and raising money for a good cause? The Environmental Justice Foundation is calling for all adventurous, stylish supporters to sign up to their Great Fashion Cycle of 2012.

The challenge will involve four days of cycling plus one day in Paris to raise money for the EJF’s work addressing human rights and environmental abuses in the fashion industry. They have two trips planned – one in July and one in September. More information here: http://www.ejfoundation.org/page542.html

Help protect people and the planet whilst having lots of fun at the same time!

 
 
The Fair Wear Foundation - an organisation dedicated to protecting workers' rights all over the world - talking about the need to clean up the clothing industry.
 
 
In the April edition of Vogue, Alexa Chung admitted that she was too often guilty of “pointless purchases” and that she now has a mental checklist when buying a new item of clothing: if she can’t style it three ways, then she usually doesn’t buy it. In today’s frantic throwaway culture, too many of us buy clothes on the spur of the moment that we don’t really want. We wear them a few times and then they sit in our wardrobes collecting dust.

An easy way to instantly make your wardrobe a greener place is to buy less clothes in the first place but to think more carefully about those clothes you do buy – choosing good quality pieces that are made to last instead of cheap disposable items that will quickly fall apart.

Alexa Chung named Patti Smith, Debbie Harry and Francoise Hardy among her style icons – all of whom famously wear the same outfit until it genuinely wears out rather than wearing it once never to be seen again.

Sustainable shopping is by far the most stylish way to lessen the number of clothes being dumped into landfills each year. Manifattura Donna are proud to be a label that believes in loving clothes for a lifetime, going for timeless, classical pieces that you can style.. different ways - instead of merely flirting with fleeting fashion trends.