Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.
YAMAS was founded to empower and support our partners and to
reconceptualize the production of brands as a positive tool for development.
WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"
What if the fashion industry was the driving force of global development?
Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
In Morocco disparity in income between rich and poor is dramatic and poverty remains widespread. Refugees have a particularly challenging time in Morocco and it is a port for crossing into Europe. Firstly, YAMAS seeks to tackle the lack of employment and opportunities available to women, refugees, and artisans in Morocco. Secondly, YAMAS is trying to address the unethical production line in the fashion industry for our global markets.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
YAMAS addresses the first issue by working directly and exclusivley with women’s collectives and young artisans to create our brand. Doing so allows us to support and empower our partners as they further empower themselves, provide economic security and allow for economic independence. For instance, by ordering 100 eyebags from Migrants du Monde YAMAS provides the collective with work but removes the responsibility of having to sell the products and the uncertainty involved in that. We do so whilst still encouraging our parters to create and establish their own brands and names as artisans. For example we have started making websites for our partner collectives and artisans, for example see Issam Faradis website: http://issamfaradi.wix.com/
Impact: How does it Work
Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
YAMAS addresses the second issue by reconceptualising the positive power that lyes in the production of brands and role of the fashion industry as a force for global development. Yamas is unique in that we apply our ethical and yogic principles to every stage of our work. We take care to build powerful relationships between ourselves and those with whom we work, all of whom we meet regularly and every member of which we know by name. Already as a small brand we work with two young artisans, a collective of fifteen women and another of seven. If YAMAS was a mass fashion brand, we we would be able to partner and help with hundreds of women and men across various communities and that is how we envision fashions potential to lead development.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
Perhaps the seminal example of an area in which we believe Yamas makes a difference is with Cooperative Femmes Casablanca. CFC is a particularly interesting collective as they source many of their employees through an organisation named SOS Villages d'Enfant Maroc, which supports families in difficult financial situations. Of all the groups with which we work, the women of CFC represent perhaps the most disadvantaged. Before working with YAMAS, CFC had had no work for the past two years but kept with their project our of a passion for their craft. It is for this reason that they rely upon YAMAS entirely for their income. Too date we have made two collections with them, and we feel a significant responsibility towards them and know that for them working with us is very important. As YAMAS grows, so will our orders and our ability to provide more work to all of our partners.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?
YAMAS has the potential to be a leading brand in the yoga-fashion industry, support collectives worldwide. Our focus is firstly on our partners and ensuring they are fully supported by us to the highest standard. However, I would like to be able to open partnerships within war zones and particularly working with refugees i.e. Palestine, Syria, Yemen. I would like to get to the point where we had the ability to fund collectives to start-up, provide them with training in embroidery, sowing, and other crafts, and support them as their primary partner whilst helping them expand their own brand.
Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
YAMAS works like a small brand and within our means, we have made and sold a full collection to YAMAS Yoga studios in Doha, Qatar. In Doha our first collection sold very well, and we have just produced the same collection again and we have started selling that on our online store and are currently securing disruption through studios in London. We are starting with accessories but intend to expand into sports apparel when possible.
Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
YAMAS sells within the niche marketplace of yoga clothes and accessories. Within this marketplace there are growing number of sustainable brands like Synergy Organic Clothing, LVR, and Hyde. YAMAS is different from the above brands as it focuses on accessories and so dose not compete in terms of making organically sourced clothing and fabrics at this moment. There is no other brand that we have found to date in our market that works with a network of collectives and artisans to make yoga accessories. Additionally YAMAS is the only yoga brand that is working in North Africa.
Whilst living in Morocco last year I came into direct contact with the impoverished situation of refugees and women in Morocco and I wanted to help to the best of my abilities. As a Yoga Teacher I was interested in creating a line that was in sync with the values and ethics of Yoga, and as a law student, a line that supported and pioneered changes in the virtually non existent labour law of Morocco. Starting YAMAS was a organic process that was born out of building friendships with the artisans and collectives I wanted to partner with. Together we had many teas and collaborations and creative sessions to create our first collection, "The Oudayas Collection."
Our board is:
Eliah English- Director and Founder of YAMAS
University of St Andrews- International Relations, Spanish and Arabic
Student of Law and Arabic at SOAS University
Thomas Pollitt- Co-director
University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland- MA in Philosophy and Mathematics
BPP University Law School - Graduate Diploma of Law
Amina Bencheikh Latmani- Moroccan Manager
IESEG School of Management, Paris, France - Masters in Science of Management, specialised in Finance.
Eliah and Thomas are currently studying Law and Amina is currently working full time in investment banking in Casablanca. We work on YAMAS part time currently but hope to be able to work on it full time in the coming future. As we all have our back grounds in the humanities and law if we were to expand our team we would be looking for creative imput into our team, for example young accessories and fashion designers.
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]
Advocate/Organizer, Brand Representative, Designer, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager.
Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]
Consumers, Designers, Women, Other [please specify].
Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.
Advocacy, Standards, Training.
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.
Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?
Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, 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?
YAMAS is about telling the story of our products and inspiring consumers to ask the for story of other products.
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?
YAMAS is about partnerships and growing from collaboration. YAMAS works with Migrants du Monde, Cooperative Femmes Casablanca