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?
I think that giving the most disadvantaged people the option to get a better job means everything. If, for example, women can sew for a better salary and conditions will improve, then her life quality and also her kids will do better. The children could go to school and have more opportunities.
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?
Improving the women’s rights, we make sure that also children’s rights progress. It’s all about the environment that someone grew up in and the economy of the family. If the women’s rights are better, children come back to be kids, e.g. study, play, etc.
Child labour and slavery are problems, major ones. These include children throughout the world. Tens of millions of children in the case of child labour and a few million for child slavery. How can individuals get the word out about these other rights violations?
I think we can do a good job spreading the word around about the consequences of fast fashion. Also, as individuals, our choices matter. We give strength or take it when we buy something in one place or another.
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?
As designer, I think the most important thing is that we respect our employees and that we pay attention where to acquire our materials and fabrics. We need to track these, where those come from and who made them.As individuals, the most essential thing is that we think twice about buying staff. Just buy something when we need it and acquire with conscience. Buy less but better quality things. Also buy locally and within proximity.
What topics most interest you?
I am interested in lot of things. Most of all, I travel around and get to know local cultures and food. Also, I love to walk into the woods, diving, to read a nice book, design of course, and get lost in the relax of nature.
Did you have a mentor in this work?
Actually, I did. I think my mom raised me always between colors and books and fed my imagination since I was very little. Also, she taught me a little bit to sew with our 30-year-old sewing machine.
Design is to express yourself in fabrics. So I just need to go to the university to learn everything else.
Have you mentored others?
I do not have interns because A Pompidou is a very small brand. But I always collaborate with other designers and groups learning new techniques and helping each other as a social network.
I also do volunteer workshops with kids to show them the importance of recycling and to make them aware that other children are living in precarious ways because of fast fashion.
What are the importance of mentors in the fashion world for professional, and personal, development?
If someone mentors another fashion designer it is like helping this person to develop in the fashion world and support the first steps of the path, which are the most difficult.
From personal observations, more women than men involve themselves in the fashion industry by a vast margin of difference at all levels. Why?
I don’t have any statistics to answer this question properly. My guess is that fashion is a business that has been the focus of women. And as society, it is established that some jobs are for men and others for women. Even if I don’t believe in a catalogue for any gender in a specific kind of job or life.
What personal fulfillment comes from this work for you?
Doing what you most love is a privilege. I love design and it’s a personal satisfaction to do it in an ethical way trying to improve every step.
What other work are you involved in at this point in time?
At this very moment, I am preparing the Christmas workshops with kids. They will be made toy with recycled materials to donate on these period to children that have nothing.
Any recommended authors or fashionistas (or fashionistos)?
I am fan of a lot of brands that work ethically such as Hilando en el tiempo, the handmade mask of Animalesque, Summer love (eco-friendly swimwear), the beautiful dresses hand printed with flowers of Etikology, or the tapestry work of Maximo Laura are for me art works made with love of love. There are a lot of designers that I like because their ideas and originality
Any recommended means of contacting A Pompidou?
Well. The best way to know what is going on in A Pompidou is to stay tuned into our social media like Facebook or subscribe to the newsletter of our website. We do not only design unique dresses in organic materials. We also love to spread the word about sustainability and ethical fashion, especially to the little ones.
For example, this Christmas season we have organized workshop with kids where they will create handcrafted toys to give as a presents for the poor families.
Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion based on the conversation today?
I feel happy to find every day more projects that do an effort on being sustainability and ethics. I know there is still a long way to go, but on the other hand when someone comes to you asking what is sustainable fashion and shows an interest means that we are doing a good labor encouraging other people to enjoy the slow fashion movement.
Thank you for your time, Olga.