An Interview with Guadalupe García Jerez of CARPEDIEM Design (Part Two)

What is your customer base – the demographics?

Currently we are oriented to the sale in national territory. But our objective is to grow as a company and export to other countries within European territory.


There have been large tragedies such as the Rana Plaza collapse, which was the largest garment factory accident in history with over 1,000 dead and more than 2,500 injured. Others were the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (1911) and the Pakistan Garment Factory Fires (2012). What are the importance of human rights and worker rights in this new movement, and to the garment industry?

In my humble opinion, I think it is regrettable that disasters such as this must happen to make things change and that the big corporations sign a multilateral agreement in order to alleviate the miserable working conditions of the workers.  I think it’s much easier to do things right from the start.

Sometimes I look back on history in the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century and I think there are certain things that have not evolved too much…where many capitalists did not care that 7 year olds worked 12 or 14 hours a day in unhealthy conditions with Serious physical risks.

With the sole pretense of producing more at the lowest cost possible. They are fundamental rights of all working people and cannot be vulnerable or tolerated under any concept not respecting it.

Women and children are the majority of the exploited and violated work forces. What is the importance of the status of women’s and children’s rights in the ethical and sustainable fashion world too?

They are the most vulnerable link and must be especially protected. but Unfortunately, many Western companies produce their garments in Third World countries and exploit without mercy workers from India, Morocco, Honduras, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia or Turkey.

Those most affected by this violation of human rights are often women and children, who become slave labor and are hired in inhuman conditions. That is why the work of the ethical and sustainable fashion world brands is to eradicate the exploitation of children first, and to welcome the hitherto exploited woman by offering her a job and a living wage, ensuring her human and labor rights, under guarantees.

We must boost their growth and education. I think that the task of focusing especially on disadvantaged social sectors helping them to re-enter the working world in a dignified way is the first thing to begin to change certain structures and harmful uses in this sector.

Carpediem collection

Carpediem collection

Children are the most vulnerable population. Women tend to have less status than men in societies including the right to decent working conditions, decent pay, to vote, and so on. What is the relationship between the need to implement women’s rights and children’s rights?

I think the previous answer responds a bit to this too. If sound laws are created by governments that protect the fundamental rights of children and women, especially in marginal countries, and ensure compliance, governments will avoid situations such as those experienced in the labor exploitation of these vulnerable groups.

On the other hand, we must all work to achieve equality and social balance between men and women, especially in underdeveloped countries where unfortunately women do not have the right to receive an education, and where in many occasions their only function is to procreate.

Child labor and slavery are problems, major ones. These include children throughout the world. Tens of millions of children in the case of child labor and a few million for child slavery. How can individuals get the word out about these other rights violations?

Certainly, a change in the productive system and the conception of how we consume fashion would generate less demand for illegal labor, and would help to create a more moderate pace, granting a new ethical value to fashion.

It is necessary to involve the consumer of the importance and responsibility that he has when buying a particular pledge or another and ask oneself how it has been produced …

On the other hand, I believe that governments should encourage and support this kind of ethical and sustainable fashion, since I believe that many times the end consumer does not buy ethical fashion, not because he does not want to collaborate with it, but because having a higher price cannot afford it and for that reason they finally buy a garment bargain of a great fashion brand that continues to feed this type of fast fashion.

That´s why to be a large disruptive cut, government support and the collaboration of big fashion brands are needed as well.

I like to see that there are already marks that signed the commitment Detox with Greenpeace for 2020 and makes me think that we are in the way to achieve it.

We cannot allow child exploitation continue, according to data from the NGO Save The Children, there are currently 218 million working children in the world aged between 5 and 17 years where some 126 million children worldwide dangerous work, and that 8.5 million people do it in conditions of slavery, average wages of 1.3 euros a day, at best, for 68 hours of work per week, without contract, in unhealthy environments, without basic rights such as

Health coverage in case of illness or union membership, and deprivation of liberty. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest challenges in the fight against child labor is to end subcontracting, since large multinationals often sign with Third World companies that they do not even know about.

Carpediem collection

Carpediem collection

How can individuals, designers, fashion industries, and consumers begin to work to implement those rights so that these vulnerable populations in many countries of the world have better quality of life?

I believe that the best resource and help that can be given is to provide them with the necessary tools to develop and manage their own work. “Knowledge makes you free.” And secondly to ensure that the governmental and human rights laws of the underdeveloped countries are met, strengthening the control systems.

What topics most interest you?

I am fascinated by innovation applied to fashion. I think that sustainability and innovation are not at all opposed and that, on the contrary, they can be mutually beneficial. When I finished my degree in fashion I decided to orient my final project of degree in the “ecofuturismo” tendency where the natural and the artificial raws are in perfect symbiosis. Of course the ecology, human rights and animal protections are vital for me.

Did you have a mentor in this work?

Unfortunately, I haven´t none one in the sustainable fashion. My main mentor has been internet, although it sounds a bit bad, and honestly I have learned a lot in this field.

Have you mentored others?

Not yet, but of course I would like to do it.

What are the importance of mentors in the fashion world for professional, and personal, development?

I believe that a mentor has a particular experience that helps direct the efforts to a common and effective fund that promotes concrete goals. And in this way to help the new designers to start up and consolidate their business projects, it helps to analyze your challenges in the Market and favors their personal and professional development through their own experience in sustainable fashion.

From personal observations, more women than men involve themselves in the fashion industry by a vast margin of difference at all levels. Why?

Interesting question! It is quite true; I believe that in part the cultural heritage that we drag is very favorable to this. The woman throughout history has made real efforts to be perfect in the eyes of man. Perhaps for that reason it has always attracted more these subjects to the woman. The cult towards beauty has always been more related to women, I suppose it has something to do.

What personal fulfillment comes from this work for you?

The satisfaction of adding value to what you do each day is the best reward you can have. Fighting for what you believe and having the opportunity to show it to others, makes me feel full and gives a full meaning to my life. I feel very lucky.

What other work are you involved in at this point in time?

At the moment my dedication is full at CARPEDIEM Design, although I do not rule out entering new projects and collaborations that come to me!

Any recommended authors or fashionistas (or fashionistos)?

Kate Fletcher, who is all a benchmark in terms of slow fashion of course!

Any recommended means of contacting CARPEDIEM Design?

If you want to contact us or visit us I leave the following links: on Facebook

On the other hand, we are happy to welcome proposals and be able to collaborate with you!

Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion based on the conversation today?

I think fashion is maturing and it is becoming more responsible, it is everyone’s job, taking care of the value chain of fashion from the producer to the final consumer.

“Let’s make fashion, but let’s make it conscious, let’s buy fashion, but let’s buy it with conscience.”  Make it possible!

Thank you for giving me this valuable opportunity to have been with you today, it has been a real honor.

Thank you for your time, Guadalupe.

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About the Author

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping and gardening, and runs In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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