Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.
PutO.N. takes up a social mission, actively promoting awareness of conflict-related sexual violence and gender based violence while aiming to provide sustainable income to survivors through opening access to fair employment in the fashion industry. Dressed for change, conscious fashion.
WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"
What if you had no place to go to… the perpetrator living close by, your community stigmatising, living in a shelter where generations rely on donor support? Economic empowerment equals life to the survivors of CRSV and GBV. Join the agents of change.
Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Vulnerable people whom we often think of as "victims" are not thought of as skilled labour force, do not receive much chance for employment or integration to the society. Even if so, they rarely receive fair pay. CRSV and GBV survivors have received trainings in sewing, embroidery, lace making, knitting etc. through empowerment programs without any established sustainable link to the private sector providing long-term employment.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
PutO.N. creates a bridge between the survivors' knowledge in crafts, and the world of business – with an eye towards a sustainable economic future for the skilled women.
PutO.N. is not a charity. It is a social venture aiming to provide concrete and sustainable employment to those who have benefited from different training programmes in clothes production. This is accomplished through partnerships with fashion houses. PutO.N. is a label strengthening the conscious campaigns of fashion brands. People who buy such products will be contributing directly to survivors' sustainable employment and to the positive change in the fashion/textile industry. PutO.N. workshops are abuse and exploitation free, promoting socially conscious employment.
Short-listed at the Innovating Justice Challenge 2015
Impact: How does it Work
Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
PutO.N. aims to create impact and change at large, offering a reliable model to the fashion industry, linking skills developed through assistance programs with the private sector. Reaching out to the survivors through public-private partnerships PutO.N. links skills with the clients, promoting socially conscious employment through a concrete action with the fashion industry. The supply chains, the clients, the development sector and the consumers all deliver (and are themselves part of the) impact, creating a more socially responsible textile industry. PutO.N. is based on co-operation therefore the opportunities are limitless. Promoting high quality at fair prices PutO.N. indirectly contributes to waste reduction.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
Creating the model and impacting the different actors to change their thinking has been a challenge. Clients to change their supply chains (not as a charity but sustainably), the development donors to invest into targeted programming (accepting higher risks, thinking long term), civil society to shift from donor dependence to sustainable income generation, the survivors learning to cope with the competitive private sector. PutO.N. has achieved to complete a pilot project with the first client Agnés B., has been working to establish a 100% impact workshop in BiH, established partnership with a second client (USE unused), launched its test campaign through a challenge and has been talking to private investors to embark on the large-scale production. The future impact is limitless in quality fashion, home decor and accessories, geographically and through social campaigning.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?
In parallel with setting up the first full-scale production, a lot of policy work has been done already in other countries interested in the model, mostly with the development sector and civil society. PutO.N. has been responding to partners in Turkey (Syrian refugees), Nepal (conflict survivors' platform and the UN), Bangladesh (women empowerment) and Kosovo (CRSV). Recognising the fact that real change will come from policy reforms, local ownerships and a joint action in the fashion industry, PutO.N. aims to promote structural and sustainable solutions based on co-operation.
Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
The model is built on the principle everyone in the chain of change still does what they normally do, designers keeping their uniqueness, development sector investing into training and machinery (relieving businesses from this burden), social investors expecting financial return and impact etc. PutO.N.'s income is from policy advice, certificates for social employment, shared profit of sales and possible donations to the social campaign.
Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
We are thankfully not alone in the market place. Our uniqueness lies in our focused social mission, empowering CRSV and GBV survivors, working primarily in post-conflict areas, aiming to create policy change globally in partnership with high-level decision makers, reaching out to the industry with unique cultural heritage and hand-made pieces while respecting their full ownership of design. The co-operation model and the certificate would keep the possibilities flexible and limitless (PutO.N.+Agnés B. PutO.N.+Use unused…) and provides good examples of fair workshops to follow by the industry.
Sitting at a fashion show in Zenica looking at the pieces created by survivors was the final drop to try to create sustainable income generation models for the most vulnerable. Teaming up with a designer in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the story began with our own modest resources. Within a year, two fashion brands are partners, a pilot was completed, a sample workshop complementing the hand-made work is to be established, the venture opened for investments, and hundreds of women have started to see an opportunity they never had. Despite the financial and personal constraints, PutO.N. has been going and growing the right direction to succeed. Quality and commitment being our driving force.
Neira is our fashion designer, with a degree in sustainable design, working with fashion and home decor as a free lancer for SheYou, Design House, Kare. Andrea is a graphic designer, creating our logo and label, web design, photo editing, lookbook design etc. We are honoured to get part-time financial advice from Lennart, Pieter and Rob. Our social messages and outreach to the survivors is assisted through our public-private partnerships with NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As Founder and Director I am experienced in policy advice, programming, cultural heritage, women empowerment and conflict resolution. The team's senior expertise has been complemented with personal advice from social venture support networks and targeted expert opinion when needed.
The social venture was registered in the UK by Bates Wells Braithwaite.
Our board members are: Hon. Lord Jack McConnell, Michael Moeller Director General of UNOG, Sabiha Husic Woman of the Year Award Director of Medica Zenica
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]
Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]
Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]
Brands, Consumers, Designers, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Policymakers, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Women, Youth.
Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.
Certification, Organizing, Policy.
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?
Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being, Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.
Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?
Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.
Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?
If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?
● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?
Creating a network of agents of change, from anyone who becomes part of the social mission or the campaign
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?
We work with a number of “clients” partners who have been with us in the process and are contributing to the change already