By Arwa Lodhi
The Founder of ethical jean brand, Monkee Genes, is on a mission.
Long concerned about the human cost of society’s desire for ever-cheaper fast fashion and corporate greed for higher profits, the last straw for Phil Wildbore was the events that led to the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh in 2013.
After that turning point, Wildbore decided to transform his ethical denim label into a a trading charity called Stop taking the Pennies. They just began working on the charity before Christmas, but have already got some amazing support for the concept, and have some heavy hitting charity trustees including Diana Fox Carney (Wife of Mark Carney, the governor of the bank of England).
The charity ‘Stop taking the Pennies’ will have three clear objectives;
- To show how ethical jeans can be delivered to the High Street, working only with manufacturers who can both pay a working wage and respect
- Providing acceptable health and safety standards.
- 50 cents for every pair of Monkee Genes manufactured in Bangladesh will be donated to a foundation which has already achieved building two schools for over 2,000 disadvantaged children in Bangladesh.
- All net profits will go into an awareness campaign working with schools, colleges and universities in the western world.
In In addition to clearly being ethical, the jeans themselves couldn’t be more eco-friendly: the whole range is made up of organic cotton or eco-friendly eucalyptus fibres and the brand’s manufacturing partner has the highest accreditation for working ethics, which is the Global Organic Textile Standard (G.O.T.S). This means you can rest assured that all the people involved in the making of your jeans – right down to the cotton picker – are being paid a living wage.
After what he calls ’41 years of despair’ watching the fashion industry supporting slave labour, Wildbore is evangelical about spreading his message of sustainability. One way he’s trying to do this is through a #MUGSHOT and #STOPTAKINGTHEP campaign, which asks celebrities to take a picture with one of their campaign mugs or T-shirts and then upload it on their Instagram and Twitter accounts to show support for the campaign.
One of the first to do this was, perhaps unsurprisingly, Livia Firth. Will you be next?
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