Sunday, 20 December 2015

graduate fashion week and fashion scout

Another explore into fashion subsidy: two events which get in the papers at the same time as London Fashion Week or just before
Funding is from subscribing fashion colleges, with extra sponsorship from London taxpayers alongside Goerge at Asda, Rimmal, and L'Oreal. The group have also been given ear-time by UK Trade and Investment and a select comittee at the House of Commons, who invited them in to give a presentation that was somehow meant to be in aid of the charity. UK Trade and Investment sent a witness to give evidence to a select committee, explaining how they subsidise fashionistas from this world to attempt export. Apparently the scheme often offers to pay bad debts by buyers, so it is a subsidy for the more canny and dodgy buyers in other countries rather than for anyone who pays tax in the UK.

Surprises to taxpayers in London and the UK

  1. One surprise is the name "Fashion Scout", previously used in the phrase "Vauxhall Fashion Scout" to suggest scouting for fashion from anyone, for example taxpayers who's money helps sponsor the show and are scouted in Vauxhall near where I live,  No. The emphasis is on fashion graduates.
  2. Another surprise is that the fashion colleges are so organised in presenting their degree shows to sponsors and journalists, rather than to clothes shops and shoe shops who have trouble getting on the mailing list or a chance to see a degree show. The charity accounts acknowledge two purposes - promoting the students and promoting the colleges - but don't say that students and their employment should be the priority which is silly. If the students do well, the next generation of students will find a course on unistats; there is no need push the name of the college in some vague way. Web sites already say whether a college is vibrant or renowned. That's already too much praise; facts need to say the course syllabus what happens to graduates in this trade were  applicants look for work skills.
  3. The third surprise - or it should be a surprise - is that the Mayor of London subsidises something a bit like a closed shop for a particular kind of graduate designer willing to present a "collection", rather than other taxpayers who might sell more or circulate more money through the economy. Someone with a clothes factory for example, maybe in Bradford or Leicester or Harringay, or some of their customers. No.
  4. "the Ethical Award ... was judged by Pants to Poverty owner Ben Ramsden. Excited by Rosie's work he said; "It's great to see a fresh vibrant perspective on ethical fashion"..  - quote from Gruaduate Fashion Week blog 2013
    This is someone who does not promote a welfare state nor UK production, although he says he has nothing against it.
These are some accounts for Graduate Fashion Week.
http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends20%5C0001044420_AC_20120731_E_C.pdf

The text on the accounts says the same as what's on the web site. It's a trust with trustees from about ten fashion colleges, and some sponsorship. The web site has about three times as many colleges listed. Trustees meet ten times a year and contract-out management to FSI Events Ltd. The purpose is supposedly to get work and PR for some college graduates, but I don't see the fairness in helping some and not others when all have paid the same, nor how it helps get work when there is no system of stalls to sell the clothes, or none that I know of, and no mail-out to niche market shopkeepers that might want to buy something. Or none that I know of, and I sell shoes for a living so I should know. I don't sell dresses or high fashion, so I might be missing something but it looks as though this event concentrates too much on getting press coverage and too little on selling clothes, a fault shared with London Fashion Week.



Fashion students know there are more fashion graduates than fashion jobs

There should be pressure from students to find out what guarantee of help is available on graduation, and how effective it is, because a lot of fashion graduates don't find work. Looking at accounts of what work they find and write-in on questionarres, it's seldon related to fashion courses. Students and potential students need to find a way to stop colleges promoting colleges and start promoting freelance work skills and employment to fashion students. To say "it's very competative", is not what a student should read tutors as saying in reviews of a course. I think a student wants to read reviews of tutors saying "it's impossible for most people to find a paid job with an employer in fashion, but we can show you how to find a hobby and a bit of freelance work with a web site and a stall and a sewing machine and if it takes-off it might lead to a career". That's the realistic statement I think students should report from good courses.

Looking at courses on unistats.direct.go.uk, and once you are used to using the site's drop down menus, it only takes a few minute to find out that a quarter of graduates from a lot of mainstream courses with "fashion" in the title do not go-on to work or study, with lower figures for University of Derby, University of East London, Bradford College and Wolverhampton University. Any student considering any of those colleges, or the mainstream ones like University of the Arts' London College of Fashion, should reconsider if there's no sensible offer of help to make and sell clothes at the end of the course. A chance to compete to pay to be in an event a bit like ballet display for an invited audience is not the same thing, and college reps sent to organisations like Graduate Fashion Week ought to think what helps their students work freelance rather than what attracts most column inches for an event and maybe helps get a job at M&S for one graduate.

Colleges further north, where workshop space is a bit cheaper, might have a bit more luck and set-up an alternative fashion week aimed at making sales for manufacturer-designers. The format could be more of a market for student and gradate stallholders than a catwalk show, most of the time, and be combined with help for students making their products or finding local workshops to make the products. Some system for funding fabric, thread, machine time, and stall space as part of the college service could help a lot. Stallholders might not want to work every day or give up other low-paid day jobs, but  £12,000 a year salary after graduation is typical for northern colleges like Wolverhampton or Bradford; colleges for teenagers can score £11,000, so a chance to do something independant and maybe earn almost as much on a stall could appeal. Students running stalls might get-over their well-known shyness to attempt any job other than designing; they might become more interested in pattern cutting which is better paid, or something like manufacturing. Whatever they choose, if it's freelance they're more likely to create work for other people as well as leaving the handfull of jobs like M&S buyer open for the hundreds of other people who graduate after fashion courses each year.

The colleges in more expensive areas score little better than colleges at the bottom of the list, with students from some University of the Arts fashion courses only writing £15,000 salary on a typical survey form a year after graduating. I don't know if that goes further in London than £12,000 in Bradford, but neither salary goes far.

If I get-around to looking-up any more unistats data on fashion graduate employment, I'll add it to this list.

Fashion Colleges on the Graduate Fashion Week web site

Followed by a course from that college with "fashion" in the title and link to stats
Then the proportion reporting that they're in work after six months, or the proportion in work or more study, and the average reported salary. The students who don't return the form are more likely, I guess, to be less employed and lower paid.

Bath Spa University - BA (hons) Fashion Design - 70% to 85% - £ unknown
Anglia Ruskin University : Cambridge School of Art - BA (hons) Fashion - 80% to 95% - £14,500
Cambridge School of visual and performing arts - "Fashion Design .. collaboration with Kingston " London"
Kingston University - BA (hons) Fashion -
Leeds College of Art (Leeds College of Art) -
University of the Arts - London College of Fashion
Manchester Metropolitian University - Manchester School of Art BA (hons) Fashion -
Northumbria University in Newcastle -
Northbrook College in Sussex -
Norwich University of the Arts
-
Nottingham Trent University
- BA (hons) Fashion Design -
Plymouth College of Art
-
Ravensbourne -
Southampton Solent University -
Sheffield Hallam University -
University for the Creative Arts Epsom and Rochester - BA (hons) Fashion - 95% or 100% - £15,000
University of Brighton, Faculty of Arts -
University of Central Lancashire -
University of Derby - BA (hons) Fashion - 30% or 40% (50% are "other") - £14,500
University of East London -
University of Hertfordshire - BA (hons) Fashion Design -
University of Huddersfield -
University of Leeds - BA (hons) Fashion Design -
University of Northampton -
University of Salford -
University of South Wales -
University of West London -
University of Southampton Winchester College of Art -


There's another group of colleges for the Samsonite International Catwalk Competition, but I don't know where to get employment figures for their graduates
AODLKA
Binus NorthumbriaIN
Shih Chien UniversityTW
B&D MoscowRU
IEDIT
FIT MilanIT
Colegiatura ColombianaCOL
NAFASGP
LISAA Mode ParisFR
FAD International AccademyIN
Accademia di Costume e ModaIT
PRATTUS
RMITAUS
Moteskolen AS Esmod Oslo
Centro Design Mexio


Related posts:
http://planb4fashion.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/rebalancing-economy.html - just a paragraph and a link to something about rebalancing the economy, which I can't remember if I've read:
http://www.cresc.ac.uk/medialibrary/workingpapers/wp87.pdf
http://veg-buildlog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/boring-economics-teaching-is-interesting.html
http://pantstopoverty.org.uk
Blog on one page as a feed:
http://planb4fashion.blogspot.co.uk/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500
Author:
Veganline.com for vegan shoes UK-made and european vegan shoes

the value of fashion

London Fashion week justifies its funding with a document called "The Value of Fashion", written for them by Oxford Economics. Flicking through the pdf pages, it becomes obvious that they're about the value of clothes shops like the ones that sponsored the document. A bit like writing a report called "The Value of Banks". Another odd thing about the document is that it got some public sponsorship from UK Trade and Investment, who pay for some visitors to go to London Fashion Week, and the bit of the Greater London Authority that was then London Development Agency. I don't think taxpayers got good value from the report. For example you can't claim that Sports Direct is part of some specially useful or beneficial industry that deserves government encouragement and subsidised trade shows.

Meanwhile, if clothes shops really do contribute a lot to the economy, some of them find ways of not paying tax. Monsoon Accessorize PLC have called for clothes shops not to be taxed if they use the word "ethical" occasionally (this is from a firm that pays its UK suppliers late and breaks minimum wage law in both India and the UK) and Arcadia Group pays its tax in the boss's wife's name, at the Monaco income tax rate of zero.

https://web.archive.org/web/20140414223637/http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/targets/3 has some background:

The Value of Fashion: Sir Philip Green

Philip Green is a multi-billionaire businessman, who runs some of the biggest names on British high streets. His retail empire includes brands such as Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss Selfridge and British Home Stores.

Philip Green is not a non-dom. He lives in the UK. He works in the UK. He pays tax on his salary in the UK. All seems to be in order. Until you realise that Philip Green does not actually own any of the Arcadia group that he spends every day running. Instead, it is in the name of his wife who has not done a single day’s work for the company. Mrs Green lives in Monaco, where she pays not a penny of income tax.

In 2005 Philip Green awarded himself £1.2bn, the biggest paycheck in British corporate history. But this dividend payout was channeled through a network of offshore accounts, via tax havens in Jersey and eventually to Green’s wife’s Monaco bank account. The dodge saved Green, and cost the tax payer, close to £300m. This tax arrangement remains in place. Any time it takes his fancy, Green can pay himself huge sums of money without having to pay any tax.

Before the election, the Lib Dems liked to talk tough on tax avoiders. But as soon as they entered the coalition, this pre-election bluster became just another inconvenient promise they quietly forgot. In August David Cameron appointed the country’s most notorious serial-tax avoider to advise the government on how best to slash public spending. Not a single Lib Dem minister uttered a word of complaint. A Guardian editorial denounced this as “shameful”.

Philip Green’s £285m tax dodge could pay for:
  • The full, hiked up £9,000 fees for almost 32,000 students
  • Pay the salaries of 20,000 NHS nurses
And if that’s not reason enough to take action against Sir Philip, it is worth noting that he has built his £5bn fortune on the back of sweatshop labour, using Mauritius sweatshops where Sri Lankans, Indians and Bangladeshis toil 12 hours a day, six days a week, for minimal pay.
Arcadia Group isn't singled-out for being a bad company like its rival, Sports Direct, but the practice of using minimum wage zero hours contracts is common in retail.


More than 1 million British workers could be employed on zero-hours contracts, new figures released on Monday reveal, suggesting that British business is deploying the controversial employment terms far more widely than previously thought.

The Value of Fashion: Sports Direct

Sports direct admit that 90% of UK staff are on zero hours contracts.

Three staff at the department for business are trying to think of an answer according to the minister. Oh and Sports Direct make no statement about the conditions in their Vietnamese factory suppliers. Oh and no badness is meant towards the lawyer who got IP work for sports direct and volunteered for a few board meetings at Ethical Fashion Forum after offering free IP surgeries to UK business at a neighbouring project called own-it.

The Guardian have a page about Sports Direct
One of the articles lists accusations, but leaves one out: the company is less hypocritical than others. It offers fake markdowns and says that's legal. It pays less than the minimum wage and maybe that's not quite legal but it has a defence in saying that some hours are spent waiting to be haranged and searched. It has a staff handbook which states you can be sacked for more or less anything, and, if no reason can be thought of, most of the staff are from two rival temp agencies anyway so a word can be had with the agency. This again might not be quite legal but is common enough. Most of us have had jobs a bit like this, but Sports Direct forces politicians to think about it, rather than hiding the facts in detail and denying them as adult social care providers do for your granny's weekly visit from a care assistant.

Here is the quote:

Ashley’s Sports Direct chain has made him the 22nd richest man in Britain, estimated by the Sunday Times Rich List to be worth £3.5bn. Temporary workers at his warehouse, by contrast, get paid hourly rates that work out below the minimum wage and suffer the kind of indignities – including rigorous harangues over the public address system to work faster – that come straight from a dystopian novel. Ashley, as well as being very rich, is also the unpopular owner of Newcastle United. The items he sells are made cheaply in east Asia. His warehouse depends on cheap eastern European labour. Few individuals so neatly encapsulate the fortunes, in both senses, of modern Britain.

To do list and note to self: try to catch-up with this stuff. Those who read more newspapers and belong to trade associations probably find them a year earlier, but hey.

http://www.policyconnect.org.uk/apmg/events/launch-alliance-report-repatriating-uk-textiles-manufacture

The Alliance Report - repatriating UK textiles manufacture

http://www.policyconnect.org.uk/apmg/home

All Party Manufacturing Group

High End Designer Manufacturing

A report on Protecting Existing Resource and Encouraging Growth and Innovation

Report commissioned by the British Fashion Council, UK Fashion & Textile Association, Creative Skillset and Marks & Spencer Research by Oxford Economics and Glasgow Caledonian University

Steering Group
Introduction by Caroline Rush p4
Executive Summary p7
Key Findings p8
part 1
Introduction p10
CASE STUDY 1: Mulberry p14
part 2
Background Context p16
CASE STUDY 2: John Smedley p28
part 3
Survey Results p30
CASE STUDY 3: Sourgrape p34
part 4
Modelling Results p36
CASE STUDY 4: Private White V.C. p40
part 5
Conclusions, Challenges & Recommendations p42
part 6
Methodological Appendix p46
part 7
Acknowledgements p50

Update: last year the British Fashion Council commissioned a new report, with the usual bias towards people who talk about fashion, and high fashion, but with two sets of economists instead of one and some attempt to contact real manufacturers among the list. One of the sets of economists work at a college that runs London fashion courses, rather than factory training, but at least the use of two should encourage them to spot each others' special effects. There are even a couple of shoe factory people interviewed on the list from - Norman Walsh and Grenson.
Note to selt: read the report, which is called High End Designer Manufacturing
http://britishfashioncouncil.com/uploads/files/1/BFC%20Initiatives/manufacturing%20report.pdf

PlanB4fashion ethical fashion blog on a single long page
This blog is by a vegan shoe company called Veganline.com that sells vegan shoes boots & belts

Friday, 18 December 2015

promoting bad against good

There is a pattern, which sometimes happens by chance.

Ethical Fashion Forum finds a UK business that is close to collapse, ignores it and loudly promotes the competition from bad countries

Robbing in a hospital is one way to describe it.
  • Remploy

    Ethical Fashion Forum promoted a firm like Remploy in Bangladesh but were silent about Remploy in the UK closing down. Ethical Fashion Forum had got their hands on money for training small business owners the year before, running seminars in Newham College, so they ought to have known what advice to give to business owners about where to get clothes made in the UK - including Remploy. Otherwise, I think the people who paid taxes via London Development Agency for the training seminars should get their money back.
  • Equity Shoes

    Ethical Fashion Forum ran a public-funded set of training lectures about buying from Co-ops, but left-out Equity Shoes, the large hundred-year-old shoemaking co-op in Leicester that went bust the same year. Oddly enough, a Leicester MP was minister at the Department for Business at the time, which gave grants to overseas visitors to London Fashion Week and so can influence what goes on show. That year I think it was Terra Plana footwear made in China and shown in the Estethica room, which is meant to sound a bit like "ethical" I suppose. The MP signed-off the grant payments without knowing or caring. Oh and one of the speakers was Ben Ramsden of Pants to Poverty who's Pi Foundation claimed to promote worker-owned manufacturing.
  • JJ Blackledge

    wallet manufacturers in Manchester. This firm that made flat goods for the corporate gift market went bust the same weekend that Ethical Fashion Forum spoke at a public-funded seminar called "Making it Ethically in China", which was held a mile or two away in Manchester.
  • James Grove Buttons

    About the time this Birmingham factory went bust, and someone was trying to set-up a smaller company with the same tools called Grove Pattern Buttons (hornbuttons.co.uk), Ethical Fashion Forum advertised a member on their mailing list. That ethical claim of this "fellowship 500" member was that these are (1) "locally sourced buttons" from (2) "the poorest areas of the local Panama community". "Locally sourced" is a stylish bit of cheek as an ethical claim, a bit like "nutricious food" - something McDonalds claimed could mean anything but water. The buttons are sold by Miami company and sourced in Panama, according to Ethical Fashion Forum, but when emailed the suppliers say it might be Equador; they're not quite sure. They are sure that they're harvested by low-paid artizans, which follows if you buy from countries without a welfare state and pay as little as you can - even though Panama is a wealthy 100 year-old stable country quite capable of sorting-out poverty if their government wanted to. The third ethical claim - (3) is "100% eco-friendly and sustanable", but I guess that's before airmail. One final thing to say: the american buttons were something I'd rather wear, made out of large nuts, but maybe the machines are the same whatever the material.
There is a history to this. The Make Poverty History campaign was run by establishment groups with help from government ministries, to promote a big vague consensus within which opposite ideas could exist - with examples from George Monbiot in his "Africa's new best friends" article. He could have mentioned that the same vague consensus wants to wipe out manufacturing that bears the cost of a welfare state, but that's another hidden contradiction in the EFF lobby group that got so much help from government in setting-up, with free displays of its founding members' products at government institutions from the V&A to the Crafts Council to London Fashion Week, a sympathetic magazine published by the BBC and even a special study option offered by a Northern Irish exam board. No wonder the people who search online for this kind of ethical fashion tend to be in London, away from the industry that they wipe-out.

One Ethical Fashion Forum founder member - Pants to Poverty - had a problem. If you google their name and address, you get a list of pages about poverty in Tower Hamlets, within walking distance of their office. That's probably why they had to close; their customers among Guardian-reading Londoners noticed the contradiction. Pantstopoverty.org.uk is a new site that spells-out the argument and might sell UK-made pants in future.


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Ethical Fashion Forum: alternative trade page

International Trade and Globalisation

Draft of a page to send to Ethical Fashion Forum, in case they will change their current one. Comment welcome. They sounded a bit softer in the line they took in about 2014, as though their party line might change, so I wrote this.

You can use Bing or Google to do a site search Ethical Fashion Forum's pages for the use of any words like "welfare state", "national insurance", "social insurance" or whatever words you use for the subject and find no reference at all, so the chance of them changing their view of globalisation remains low. There are handy links to those very search results on this page - http://veganline.com/ethical-fashion-forum.htm
While they and their backers refuse to mention anything about a welfare state on their web site, there's not much point in talking to them and offering suggestions, but this was written anyway. It doesn't try to parody their style by writing "things are very difficult - Nana, 17, Bangladesh textile worker", or "The East India Company are doing wonderfully- photographed work, buying from happy with artisans in Bengal - or plan to do so in future because they haven't started yet (case study number 4 for your essay)". Oh alright then, I've added it to the bottom of this page in a box if you're interested.


International Trade is influenced by the price of goods in different countries.

That depends on ingenious mechanisation, and the cost of labour. An area or a country with rising levels of skill and investment in machines, but a low cost of living will tend to export goods.

Tariffs

Trade is controlled by tariffs that divide the world into trade blocs described here. If they co-operate, it is sometimes through a trade association called the World Trade Organisation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_bloc

Exchange Rates

Trade is influenced by exchange rates, when they are manipulated upwards to control inflation, or downwards to increase exports. To make a currency more valuable, governments pay extra to creditors for government debt. Investments flow-in. The value of the currency rises. To make a currency less valuable, governments and the private sector move money out of a country into overseas investments or bank accounts.
Exchange rates are a big part of what's done my monetary policy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monetary_policy

low wage economies are caused by the lack of a welfare state

Trade is influenced by the ingenuity and investment of workshops making goods, but it is also influenced by the cost of living and peoples' availability to work on low wages. Some countries have a better developed welfare state, paid from taxes or national insurance on workers. Others are run by elites which choose not to have a welfare state, making the output of those countries cheaper. One complication is that new industrial towns which spring-up tend to have a higher fertility rate - more people over time - in countries with no welfare state. The lack of girl's secondary schools, the lack of health advice, and the lack of pensions for people who have no children to support them are all factors which cause people to have large families. When families grow fast, there is a lot of unemployment and wages remain very low.

The poverty of overpopulated countries spreads to other countries, as cheap goods under-cut the price of goods woven and stitched in Europe. Governments in poor countries are also scared to introduce a welfare state for fear of loosing export markets to other poor countries that don't have a welfare state. A buyer of something like clothing can easily move orders from Sri Lanka to Ethiopia for example if one country is cheaper than another.

Tariffs again: the multi fibre agreement

Textile products are some of the most labour intensive to make and easily shipped.
The multi fibre agreement was written specifically to control rapid changes in the textile trade.  It ran from 1974 until 2005. There may have been a hope that in these 31 years, the cost of production in developing countries would rise because of national insurance and welfare state costs, the costs of inspecting safe factories that do not fall down, and the cost of a developed government.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi_Fibre_Agreement

No consensus: globalisation doesn't work very well to promote development

Agreement on trade is hard to find: different groups from different backgrounds have a different idea of what is "ethical" or in their interests.  It is rare to find a group of people in one room who take acknowledge all the issues at the same time.
  • One rule of thumb is that free trade and floating currencies achieve a good deal for everyone, with other points like different levels of welfare state or remaining currency manipulation best ignored. The hope is that these are either unimportant or will come-right in the end: a developing country might introduce better welfare systems after it develops. South Korea, for example, has even become an aid donor to poorer countries after being a very poor country within living memory. Those who talk about world trade tend to be on the right of politics and less interested in welfare systems, so they tend to take this view regardless or complication. It's common to quote Adam Smith's phrase "comparative advantage", which was a very general idea from a different age about a different subject, but the phrase is still used. The same people tend to be very interested in reducing inflation by controlling their local labour market, and favour raising the value of their local currencies so that imports are cheaper.
  • One rule of thumb is that a few detailed tariffs for specific reasons will achieve a good deal for everyone, despite the reduction in world trade. The European Union imposes a 15% tariff on goods from outside an ever-widening free trade zone. Conditions for entry include some level of democracy and human rights. Some countries in need of development like Bangladesh are also included in the trade zone for no particular reason and many more have followed recently. Detailed rules are written. Ethiopia has 0% tariff access to the EU market for leather goods for example, because someone at some point decided that leather goods would help Ethiopia. Protection of the North American  free trade zone can be complex too, with different tariff rates for different classes of goods.
  • Conditional tariffs were once proposed in the early 70s by the World Trade Organisation. At that time the jargon word was a "social clause" and the condition of a lower tariff was signing-up to standards of the International Labour Organisation (not introducing a welfare state as suggested here). People who ran third world countries, and who do very well out of poverty, were very much against the scheme and it went no further. That's a pity because, in theory, a very general and widely understood scheme can give the government of one country confidence to intoduce a change that gets them a lower tariff, and not be under-cut in export markets by another country that doesn't.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_clause

Ethical Fashion Forum

Ethical Fashion Forum is based in the UK which is still a major market for fashion products, and a small producer of the more automated or niche-market products. Like the rest of Europe, the UK also has high unemployment. Common ethical claims would be that something is made in a democratic welfare state that needs a fashion industry to remain that way.

Ethical Fashion Forum members are based all over the world. Common ethical claims made of products are that they boost employment for a particular group in an employment scheme, or that they produce a local design that earns more of the value of the product to people on lower incomes in that country, rather than a large trading conglomerate.

As a forum, we can provide no absolute answers but hope to allow groups of members with particular ethical claims to state them as clearly as possible and to refer to facts where possible.
The original rubbish page is still online unfortunately


This blog is by a vegan shoe company called Veganline.com that sells vegan shoes boots & belts PlanB4fashion.blogspot.co.uk can be read on one long page about ethics fashion and trade

Oh this is the style of taxpayer-backed promotion of fashion companies via teacher training notes. It doesn't mention that


Ethical Fashion Source Summit included a talk by a Monsoon employee and a list of case studies for students to quote in essays

4. Case Study: Monsoon / SEWA
Monsoon, much like fellow British retailer EAST, have artisan collaboration embedded in their brand heritage. Founded by Peter Simon in 1973 after an epic road trip across Asia, the earliest Monsoon collections comprised clothes made in Indian villages using vegetable dyes, hand-loomed cotton and block printing (Monsoon, 2013).

Though now a global brand Monsoon continues to value artisan skills such as beading and embellishment. Monsoon is a founding member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and has its own code of conduct for all suppliers, paying unexpected visits to factories to ensure standards are met. Alongside this Monsoon is involved in a number of community projects in Asia, including a project reviving the silk cultivation industry in Afghanistan to provide livelihoods for widows and vulnerable women.

Though most production has now shifted to larger factories Monsoon still trade with some of their original and smaller suppliers. This creates jobs and develops local communities at a time when the number of artisans in India has declined 30% over the past decade (DASRA, 2013).

According to Olivia Lankester, Monsoon’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, “artisans in India increasingly hard to make a living from their craft, many living on the poverty line and struggling to meet their basic needs. This has lead to a generational loss of craft skills and contributed to mass migration to urban areas.” Monsoon aims to tackle this through their commitment to supporting craft communities in India.

Launching this October, Artisan Trade is a range of clothing, accessories and gifts made in collaboration with Indian artisan co-operatives. “Many artisan groups have incredible skill and beautiful product but very limited access to market. This is where we can help – while also providing technicasupport to help artisans upgrade and update their product offer.”

Artisan Trade is an expansion and rebranding of the Monsoon Boutique range, which provides sorely needed market access for Indian artisans. If successful the range will provide sustained employment for women which will move them away from the poverty line and enable future social mobility and economic growth.

Monsoon Boutique not only provides a sales channel for craftspeople, it also focuses on upcycling Monsoon’s fabric offcuts by using them to produce items such as quilts, aprons and childrenswear. All proits are donated to the Monsoon Accessorize trust which provides grants to artisan co-operatives such as SEWA (Self Employed Womens Association). SEWA is an embroidery co-operative in Delhi that over the past four years has received funding from Monsoon for a new embroidery centre, training programmes for women, a micro-credit programme and an education programme for children.

Rather than work through an intermediary Monsoon have always worked directly with Indian suppliers to design and produce their products. A team in Delhi are on hand to provide technical support, training and advice to producers, which Olivia feels makes a “huge difference” to the success of the operation. When necessary Monsoon have linked artisan co-operatives with larger suppliers to help with operations such as sourcing, packaging and testing requirements.

Although not yet launched, Monsoon’s Artisan Trade has good prospects as an expansion of Monsoon Boutique. Their 40 years of experience working with artisans means Monsoon are well placed to bring such products onto the market as the range already has a defined niche among Monsoon customers. The first Artisan Trade collection has taken 9 months from concept to delivery. Monsoon already have a well established network of suppliers which would help shorten the lead time on the range of artisan clothing for such a large market.

The success of Monsoon’s community work is extensive, helping 10,000 disadvantaged women and children every year (Monsoon, 2013). The Artisan Trade line will not only provide employment for these women but proits from sales will be reinvested into community projects to create livelihoods and provide healthcare, education and shelter.

Photography: Sam Faulkner
Yasmin Le Bon, visiting Monsoon Artisan Trade supplier quilting co-operative

Monday, 14 December 2015

ethical fashion forum: why dig? what dirt?

Why dig into Ethical Fashion Forum?

This set of posts looks nasty to some people; if you don't want to know the score, look away now. All it is is a bit of background nose-poking to find out what sort of people are drawn into Ethical Fashion Forum, Ethical Fashion Consultancy, Anti Apathy (company and charity) and Re-Fashion. There's no single piece of illegal dirt to find unfortunately - just a lot to distroy UK jobs and good things worldwide at UK taxpayers' expense in a mundane legal way. For example each of this cluster of companies had a postal address at Rich Mix, a multi-million pound removal of taxpayers' money from benefits and social services into a grant design in Shoreditch. Millions were spent converting a white-painted commercial building into a white-painted commercial building that had less commercial space.

Business support, like arts, is a low priority compared to health benefits and social care, but these little budgets were neither abolished nor spent wisely; they were raided too. Rich Mix is a monument to evil. One of the first controversies was to commission a mural on the walls of a white woman being raped by black people. Each of these companies is un-embarassed to have Rich Mix as a landlord, and the first used the postal address even before this scam was built.

Unfortunately nothing illegal happened. The government ministers who approved related schemes like Creative Connexions and London Fashion Week in the 2000s are now directing the BBC or seeking a new life in Australia. It is legal to believe in globalisation at all costs and spend taxpayers' money to promote it, even if this money is meant for the opposite purpose of promoting UK employment including manufacturing. It is legal to believe that there is some historical reason why people in the UK should encourage enterprise in Bangladesh, and it is legal to use public money meant for arts of business support to commission a mural of black people raping a white woman, but there are counter arguments in each case.

The regional government people who approved funding for the rape mural and Ethical Fashion Forum live in obscurity, and the generations who lost job prospects, human rights and dignity because of bad government get the blame as always.

What dirt has Ethical Fashion Forum got?

If you had tried to find-out what help was available from your nearest development agency during a recession, and found that the money went to a PR outfit trying to put your firm out of business, you'd be nosey too. For example if you hoped to retail shoes made by Equity Shoes, a hundred year-old worker co-op in Leicester making shoes, you went to a public-funded lecture on buying from co-operatives, and you found that the speakers all spoke about buying from the third world and knew nothing about Leicester.  Equity shoes went bust that year. Or if you had found one of the last cheap wallet manufacturers in Manchester, JJ Blackledge, and found that the very weekend that they went bust, Ethical Fashion Forum were speaking at taxpayer-funded event called "making it ethically in China", hosted by Creative Connexions on another public grant, you'd be cross wouldn't you? If there were no adult education classes in using better e-commerce software for people who weren't concentrating too well, but you found that business advice grants had been diverted to a pro-globalisation lobby instead of training, wouldn't you be cross? Or if, all your life, you had coped with the effects of the 80s manufacturing recession on yourself and others, tried to promote the ethical advantages of UK products, and saw them actively discouraged as an ethical choice on the Ethical Fashion Forum web site? The quote is on a page called "The Issues" date, and has been on their site since 2009. The gang also includes a firm called Terra Plana, exhibited at London Fashion Week's Esthetica event under Ethical Fashion Forum's influence, which sold Chinese leather shoes. Why "China is arguably more democratic than the UK", they quote an employee as saying on their 2008 web site. In 2010 they published another "Issues" page, rejecting any kind of tariff barrier to protect a welfare state, and quoting an american pressure group in support of their case. As late as January 2011 the group still had a charmed existence borne I suppose of ministerial decisions. In January 2011, The Victoria and Albert Museum published a long uncritical interview with an Ethical Fashion Forum pundit after publicising the group with an exhibition. There's also a relationship with members to publicise un-critical training notes in the style of Centre for Sustainability in Fashion like the the ones at the bottom of this page headed "case study: Monsoon"

Personally, I would be happy to see the ring leaders in prison but doubt they have broken any law so I can't wish it. An explanation and apology would be nice. This bit of detective work is a kind of mundain account and no explanation of motive. It lists the people involved as directors at the cluster of organisations that share an address at Rich Mix Foundation in London, itself a near-criminal waste of public money by people who cannot be prosecuted for the harm their waste did to council social services and allied charities by taking so much cash. There is more than a landlord-tenant relationship between Rich Mix and Ethical Fashion Forum. Ethical Fashion Forum had a postal address at Rich Mix while it was still a building site, even as it first registered as a limited company. There was also a connection with cross-ministry funding.  The Hospital Club, a hangout for ministerial advisers, hosted an ethical fashion show. The London College of Fashion published a subsidised "book" published online, quoting Ethical Fashion Forum founders' antics before they had founded Ethical Fashion Forum, to use as examples for a new course to be promoted at the UK's fashion colleges

Any nosey person would check the directors of a company, just digging. The mundane thing I discover in public records is that Ethical Fashion Forum are not "the industry body for ethical fashion"; next to none are in the rag trade; most are consultants in how to look ethical. An exception I found was someone who has a shop and teaches at St Martin's college. Another - Cyndi Rhodes - recycles. A third has opened a shirt shop alongside her consultancy work, selling £80 shirts made in the far east. I wish I could dig more dirt but public records are mundain.

Other people have been nosey too. Assembly members at the Greater London Authority managed to get a forensic accountants' report done into how the then London Development Agency spent billions of pounds, and the next mayoral regime commissioned another one. Both found few examples of corruption but lots of examples of stuff that's just puzzling wierd and naff: - temporary staff at the London Development Agency trying to hold meetings with ministerial advisors sitting-in; projects and agencies to deliver these projects chosen on political whim with outcomes measured as a box-ticking excercise. The second report quoted Westfield Shopping Centre being subsidised by taxpayers, without comment. I think that's so obviously opposite to the purpose of the agency that it's probably a sign of corruption, but the accountants said nothing. Nearby, unemployed youth were kept busy with a scheme that signed a receipt for "youth related activities" in order to spend the full budget up to the end of the year. The accountants noticed that in a wry way. I have not seen an exposure central government at the time, which was used to interfering in regional London government after running the London Residuary Body before the Greater London Authority was invented, as well as running budgets like the Higher Education Funding Council grant for Creative Connexions, set-up to promote globalisation at the expense of UK tax payers and I guess signed by a current BBC director who was then a minister called Charles Parnell.

I expect directors were unpaid and drawn-in, as I was, in hope that a vague forum would include something to like. There was a call for members on the Anti Apathy mailing list in about 2005. I replied saying I was keen on things like the Maker Spaces that have appeared anyway. I discovered from a successful applicant, minding a stall at London Fashion Week, that my application had been rejected. Oddly enough this person wasn't in the rag trade except to promote saris from a war zone at a few competitions. Later, the job was advertised again with a specification: applicants needed to bring consultancy work to the organisation.

Not The Industry Body for Ethical Fashion


You can check this yourself by getting director names and looking online for their CVs if you can find them, and going-on as long as you want until you form an impression. If the issue effects your business and the bunch seem to be on a public grant, then you dig further as I did in the mid 2000s. The trend in the past few years is away from public funding and towards people with fewer directorships. Either way, people who were the "Industry Body for Ethical Fashion" would show plenty of cobblers stitchers and rag traders; these lists do not.

https://companycheck.co.uk/company/05906505/ETHICAL-FASHION-CONSULTANCY-LIMITED/directors-secretaries

https://companycheck.co.uk/company/05916585/THE-ETHICAL-FASHION-FORUM-LIMITED/directors-secretaries

https://companycheck.co.uk/company/05352621/ANTI-APATHY/directors-secretaries

https://companycheck.co.uk/company/06653480/REFASHION-GROUP-LIMITED/directors-secretaries


Lucy Shea on Linkedin

https://companycheck.co.uk/director/912140894/MS-LUCY-CATHERINE-SHEA/companies

Overlapping directorships with an add agency - Futerra Sustainability Communications - that was a big government contractor to DEFRA at one time. A freedom of information request to Defra asked whether any government advertising could have leaked into overlapping projects by Futerra, and the answer was that surviving documents don't say.

Tamsin Lejeune

https://companycheck.co.uk/director/911483914/MS-TAMSIN-DZUWE-LEJEUNE/companies

This one is best in summery because I have dug a lot. The evidence belongs in an archive somewhere.

There is an operatic sense of truth about her history, landing in grand newspaper PR in 2005 as a former "award winning architect" or even a qualified one, and as having traded as an ethical fashion business called "Juste". Have you heard of it? Me neither, nor can consumers confirm her architecture qualification to practice, but the PR was on a grand scale including public exhibitions at The Crafts Council and the V&A of products seldom if ever produced. There are multiple joint appearances with Junky Styling, Terra Plana, Sari Dress Project and other clients - I guess without evidence - of Futerra Communications the PR agency.

A domain name for Juste, samples produced by volunteers out of muslin made by a firm like Remploy in Bangladesh, and some photos do exist and quotes given in support of a degree state that she hopes to sell via a Greater London Enterprise Agency shop that briefly existed for new designers in Covent Garden. There is also a long account of a trip to Bangladesh at Dfid expense to obtain these fabric samples, appearing in the same subsidised textbook at Elizabeth Laskar's Sari Dress project, which was a temporary project selling Saris out of a war zone (if Sri Lank ever gets a freedom of information act I'll try to find out whether their government funded this). There is no evidence of Ethical Fashion Forum ever promoting Remploy before it went bust. Obviously, I think that Bangladeshi taxpayers should help set-up a welfare state in Bangladesh and promote a firm like Remploy; I think that UK taxpayers should help set-up a welfare state in the UK and should have helped promote a firm like Remploy or any successors.

There is a Lejeune degree in international development from Brookes Uni, based in large part on a long project describing the work done running Juste, which didn't run, and Ethical Fashion Forum, which did. There are convincing accounts is an interest in architecture and doing some live-in volunteer jobs around the world for development agencies. There is a long association with the Rich Mix address in Shoreditch, started even before the current building was built on Greater London Authority subsidy which was much reported as being mad. There is some loose association with the Estethica room at London Fashion Week. There is, I'm assured by Tamsin Lejeune, no public subsidy of Ethical Fashion Forum at the time of my phone call which was mid 2014; she has also been absolutely open in showing scans of grant proposals for at least one small grant obtained when the agency was in fashion at the Greater London Authority and Defra around 2005. It is a Development Awareness Grant. Another grant is given under the heading of training for small businesses and delivered in some form for a single year at Newham College in East London. There is evidence of Tamsin Lejeune doing a job for Labour Behind the Label, and then doing something I admire as an ex voluntary-sector worker: she got some small grants for her own project. We also have name changes in common; I used to be called David Robertson. If I could have used that to pretend a degree in one subject in order to qualify for a funded second degree in another subject, I might have done so but I can say that I have no architecture qualification and am not an award-winning architect.

I have had about a couple of phone conversations or email exchanges with Tamsin Lejeune and get an impression that impression and people are what she is good at, rather than whether what she says is contradicted by words on her web site. She suggested I be unpaid "ambassador" for UK manufacturing at Ethical Fashion Forum while retaining her warnings against buying UK products on her website. That's thinking of the "Issues" page in which she urges people not to buy British goods on ethical grounds. Someone introduces her in a video trade show and seminar as "Tamsin - good at getting people together".

https://companycheck.co.uk/director/911483913/MS-ELIZABETH-ALVINA-AUTUMN-LASKAR/companies

Elizabeth Laskar on linkedin




https://companycheck.co.uk/director/914769840/MS-ALICE-GARTLAND/companies - one directorship at Ethical Fashion Forum where she was also company secretary

Alice Gartland on linkedin


Consultant

Alice Gartland Research and Consulting
– Present (5 years 6 months) UK, China, India
Projects include:

Open Contracting Partnership, Consultant: Providing focused advocacy support to secure a robust commitment to open contracting in the UK's open government plan and anti corruption strategy.

Founder, A Lotus Rises. A Community of Women who inspire, and are inspired by, a love of open water.

Global eHealth Foundation, Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Partnerships and Communications Consultant.

Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Senior Fellow: Leading ISD's research on digital technology on the future of economic and social development in Europe. Author of 'Europe's Got Talent: Learning, Creating and Growing in our Digital World'-Commissioned by the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications as part of the Vodafone Digitising Europe Summit, opened by German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Thomson Reuters Practical Law China, Consultant: Developed a legal news column for General Counsel working on China-related matters, and their advisers. Topics include IPRs, labour unrest, and environmental regulation; Feature articles re: due diligence; impact of anti corruption legislation on business operations; and working with SOEs.

The Economist Intelligence Unit: Research for the Access China Service

Upmysport: Community Engagement

China Business Law Journal. Feature articles re:Chinese investment in CEE; role of women in the Chinese legal system;national security review, anti-monopoly law;VIEs.

CottonConnect: scoping study on China re the cotton and textiles industry and wider macro environment. The basis of CottonConnect's decision to enter China in 2011.

Civil Initiatives for Development and Peace, CIVIDEP, (NGO Bangalore, part of OECD Watch): Author 'Business Law and Human Rights in India' cited in the CIVIDEP manual 'Workers’ Rights and Corporate Accountability’, published in July 2011.

Publicly listed mobile telecommunications manufacturer (UK and China) - Conducted an evaluation of the Company's product transfer from the UK to China.


https://companycheck.co.uk/director/914084144/MS-ABILENE-RACHEL-RUSHTON/companies
Abi Rushton was also on a committee for the

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs

Abi Rushten on linkedin



https://companycheck.co.uk/director/913009985/MS-COURTNEY-LEIGH-BLACKMAN/companies

Courtney Blackman on linkedin

Courtney Blackman's Overview Current
Managing Director at The Industry
Founder & Managing Director at Forward PR

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Board Member at Ethical Fashion Forum
Co-Chairman & Co-Founder at Fashion Business Club
Director of Sales & Marketing at World Trade Office, Vermont
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Managing Director
The Industry
2011 – Present (2 years) London, United Kingdom
Founder & Managing Director
Forward PR
October 2005 – Present (7 years 11 months)
London-based fashion PR agency.
Board Member
Ethical Fashion Forum
Nonprofit; 1-10 employees; Apparel & Fashion industry
September 2009 – February 2012 (2 years 6 months)
Co-Chairman & Co-Founder
Fashion Business Club
2006 – 2011 (5 years)
Director of Sales & Marketing
World Trade Office, Vermont
November 2001 – August 2002 (10 months)
Director of International Projects
VisionTrust International, Dominican Republic
1999 – 2000 (1 year)
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1998 – 1999 (1 year)

https://companycheck.co.uk/director/909178303/MR-ERIC-JOHN-URBANI/companies
7 UK directorships

Eric Urbani on linkedin

Founder & Managing Partner at The Black Emerald Group
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Oceans Alert Foundation
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Founded in 1994 as one of the first merchant banking firms exclusively focused on the green investment space, Black Emerald has evolved into a leading ‘fundless sponsor’ of and partner to seasoned management teams in the renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and waste management sectors.
Black Emerald Capital Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority of the United Kingdom and throughout the European Union pursuant to Article 31 of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2004/39/EC.
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The Black Emerald Group
March 1994 – Present (19 years 6 months)
Founded in 1994, The Black Emerald Group invests in new energy and environmental technology companies and projects.
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Eric is an amazingly creative businessman with true empathy for the worldwide community; a rare combination indeed! It is with astute financial acumen, an enviable track record of successful projects, and a strong belief that ethical businesses make...View
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Forward Leap works with producers, writers, directors and curators to facilitate the production of media with progressive social and environmental messages.
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BoomGen Studios is a transmedia storytelling factory that tells big stories across multiple media platforms and can be experienced at the cinema, on TV, on your mobile phone or tablet. They can be played in an online gaming environment, or simply read as a graphic novel. BoomGen's success is rooted in our ability to blur the line between storyteller and audience, between story and content promotion.
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The Ethical Fashion Forum (UK)
June 2006 – September 2009 (3 years 4 months)
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https://companycheck.co.uk/director/911507233/MS-JOSIE-NICHOLSON/companies

Josie Nicholson on linkedin

1 UK directorship




This one had work experience on the Ethical Fashion Forum board and choosing people for public subsidy, sitting on a selection panel for Estethica at London Fashion Week. She helped choose how more public subsidy should be spent via the Defra Clothing Roadmap.

She went-on to work for clothes importers rather than regional development

Choosing who got government subsidy was this person's first volunteer job after college in 2009. And 2010. And 2011. I get these names from http://opencorporates.com/companies/gb/05916585 in hope of finding an "industry body" but the names so far are an overflow of consultants from Ethical Fashion Consultancy Ltd of the same address.




https://companycheck.co.uk/director/913887215/MS-CLARE-ANN-LISSAMAN/companies

Claire Lissaman on linkedin - 6 UK directorships

The last director of Ethical Fashion Forum to quote is a consultant with experience in rug import, large company supply chains including Nike, and now Indian shirt import for nearly £80 including VAT. She was the one who told New Internationalist something like "you're just as likely to find a bad factory down the road in London where I work than in China", missing the point that UK factories like pay towards the democratic welfare state that she uses and has no equivalent in China. Nor Bangalore where the £80 shirts are made for her import business.

https://companycheck.co.uk/director/914191354/MR-CHRISTIAN-BENIGNI/companies

Christian Benigni on linkedin - 4 directorships

Another company that quotes its trade is a management consultancy; others leave their trade unstated

https://companycheck.co.uk/director/919217537/MR-RALPH-GOODSTONE/companies

Ralph Goodstone on linkedin - 2 directorships

The other company is called "RG Sourcing". This one was "interim MD" at ethical fashion forum when a lot of directors changed in 2014. He has experience at M&S and running a clothing import and sales business.


https://companycheck.co.uk/director/916201191/MS-BRIGITTE-HANNELORE-STEPPUTTIS/companies

Brigitte Stepputtis - 2 directorships

The other company is called "German British Forum". Someone with the same name has the job title "head of couture for Vivienne Westwood".




https://companycheck.co.uk/director/919246445/MS-MARISA-TODD/companies

Marisa Todd on linkedin- 1 UK directorship





https://companycheck.co.uk/director/919409092/MS-PRAMA-BHARDWAJ/summary

Prima Bhardwaj - 1 UK directorship



https://companycheck.co.uk/director/916539424/MS-PAMELA-EDITH-DANIELS/companies

Pamela Daniels on linkedin - 3 UK directorships




https://companycheck.co.uk/director/911291752/MRS-KIRSTIN-MARY-MCINTOSH/companies

Kirstin McIntintosh on linkedin - 5 UK directorships

Training, social work, and "low carbon skills consulting ltd"



I'm not sure if anyone reads down this far, but my impression from trying to research directors of Ethical Fashion Forum and Ethical Fashion Consultancy is that they are mainly consultants. I think the only UK stitchers when I first looked were clothes recyclers - Junky Styling and Worn Again. The new team of directors includes a wholesale clothes importer and someone from high fashion.

Some people have attempted to join the rag trade, more or less. Tamsin Lejeune nearly set-up Juste; the person from Futerra Communications does "Swishing", and a consultant who did some Corporate Social Responsibility work for Nike has opened the Arthur and Henry shirt business in Harringay. There are shirt factories within walking distance, but these people prefer to import from countries without a welfare state.

Someone's ex-teacher from St Martin's College is on the list. She also runs a small shop called Ciel that sometimes sells clothes, so that's someone in the rag trade if not the stitching trade. Another one imports pants from India. Even if you count all the stitchers and rag traders together, they're a small minority compared to consultants.

Bangladesh Health Service

Bangladesh health spending.

When I wrote that Bangladeshi exporters have a 0% tariff access to the UK market (and export subsidies) I wondered if their government spends 0% of GDP on healthcare or a welfare state, because I'd read that some Rana Plaza victems face destitution and that medical care at the disaster was provided by unpaid staff and volunteers from a teaching hospital.

The Government of Bangladesh does not spend 0% of GDP on health. It spends 1.1% while allowing a private sector and charities alongside. The non-government organisations presumably can't force people to join nor get government subsidy for those unable to pay. Uninsured people have lower costs and are able to work on lower wages - a problem that's true everywhere and presumably truer in such an over-populated country, with more people chasing each job.

The state system is described on the page numbered 4, automatically numbered 15 on the pdf . I don't understand it, but have transcribed the text, leaving out an extra table that you can see on the original.

This problem isn't just a problem for Bangladeshis now. It is a problem for Bangladeshis in the future, because their government states that it is scared of out-pricing China or whatever other cheap country. Of course it's not keen to increase taxes. Meanwhile, anyone who wants to make sewn products in the UK has to compete with these insanely cheap products shipped-in from Bangladesh on a 0% tariff, with export subsidies, and without the costs of a welfare state built-in. The only solution lies with people in a the UK, or the EU trading block, who can try to make tariffs conditional, so that countries with a health service pay 0% tariff and countries without pay 10%. Simplez.

Health Microinsurance: A Comparative Study of Three Examples in Bangladesh

http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_emp/documents/publication/wcms_122468.pdf - just an excerpt to give an idea

The first contact with the government health caresystem is at the Ward level where there are health assistants.

At the Union level, the Health and Family Welfare Centres (HFWC) provides preventative and family planning services and is usually managed by a graduate doctor with some support staff.

The next level of health care is the Upazila Health Complexes, which were developed during the 1970s as part of the government’s strategy todevelop primary health care and provide the first level referral services. Usually several graduate doctors are available in an Upazila Complex, which includes specialists and a dental surgeon. The Health Complex usually has a 30-bed in-patient department, an outpatient department, and a family planning unit that to gether provide preventive and limited curative services to the population.

At the District level, there is usually a hospital, with between 50 and 200 beds, which is intended to serve 1 to 2 million people. The District Hospital is under the management of the Civil Surgeon and provides more sophisticated curative, laboratory and diagnostic services. All the tertiary level health facilities are located in the capital city and include post-graduate hospitals, medical college hospitals and specialized hospitals. These facilities provide highly specialized curative treatments, laboratory and diagnostic services and various other kinds of training and educational facilities.

The total number of hospital beds available under the Ministry of Health is approximately 28,000, of which approximately 45% are located at the Upazila level and 17% are at the District level, and the remain ing 36% are either in large tertiary general hospitals or specialized hospitals at the six divisional headquarters. The standard of health care provided by the public sector continues to be poor and inadequate due to low investment, bureaucratic mismanagement, a lack of facilities and equipment, and a shortage of trained medical professionals. With around 3,100 persons per hospital bed in the country, and 23 doctors per 100,000 people, only the middle-class, rich and influential people have access to the public health care system. The poor are unable to penetrate thebureaucracy, the archaic administration and the deliberately biased system. They have access to public health care in theory only. Two of the major limitations of the present health care system and its financing in Bangladesh are: (a) high health care costs, more than half of which is private out-of-pocket expenditure; and (b) unsatisfactory outcomes of the expenses. Most of the out-of-pocket expenses are borne by households engaged in low-income informal economic activities.

Planb4fashion may be easier to read on a single page
a blog by Veganline.com which is a vegan shoe shop

zero percent development

The country which has free 0% tariff access to the European market in the name of "development" doesn't even have a system to help Rana Plaza victims. It causes havoc in the UK by dumping and export subsidies, and havoc at home by bad government.

According to War on Want, some Rana Plaza victims now face destitution.

Demand compensation for the victims of the Bangladesh building collapse, says War on Want:
Petition to wholesale customers of Rana Plaza including Beneton, Mango, Primark, Bonarche and Matalan: pay compensation NOW

In April, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed killing over 1,100 people and injuring thousands more. The majority were female garment workers making clothes for the UK high street. Retailers Benetton, Bonmarché, Mango, Matalan and Primark all acknowledged recent production with the factories in the building. Click on the link above to ask for action for retailers, and consider what MEPs can do with tariffs to make the Bangladeshi government do its job.


Afterthought:
Why are Oxfam, ActionAid, War on Want, and the rest asking for this when they do not ask for a welfare state in Bangladesh?
I mean: it's obvious with CAFOD. They like to look caring next to suffering, so a bit of suffering is always welcome and if you can avoid talking about condoms then your faith group gets more market share, suffering or not. Caring enourages conversion. And the donations keep coming-in because they might secure UK parents a place for their offpring at a subsidised faith school.
But why do respectable charities work so hard not to offend?



Planb4fashion may be easier to read on a single page
a blog by Veganline.com which is a vegan shoe shop

picture of people who suffer from ethical fashion


Choice of picture from Ethical Fashion Forum
planB4fashion's photo.
This is an old picture from a chainstore fashion site, chosen by Ethical Fashion Forum to show the sort of people it hopes to win-over. The picture also shows use of a union jack emblem on something not made in the UK, and people of the work-seeking age who are most likely to loose from a globalised economy with less national insurance or benefits.

People in the UK still get a basic national insurance service, but the government has taken the fund which was meant to exist, pensions are reduculously low and unemploynment benefit depends on being nagged relentlessly to work free or go on a pointless course. Housing Benefits have just been reduced and risk causing homelessness. People use food banks. A lot of paid work is insecure and can be prone to bullying. Services for keeping people out of hospital if they have dementia or such have been cut. Some of the work is in manufacturing but government, sometimes giving grants to people like Ethical Fashion Forum, seems unsure what that is or how to help and can end-up subsidising the competition. As ever, the excuse in the UK is "competitiveness" or just "defecit", while the excuse for importing things at 0% tariff from Rana Plaza where there is probably no national insurance is "development".



Planb4fashion may be easier to read on a single page
a blog by Veganline.com which is a vegan shoe shop