Couture Conscience

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Couture Conscience

London, United KingdomAcross Pakistan, Pakistan
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Couture Conscience aims to stop the use of child labour in textiles and support young people in the UK entertainment industry

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Stop child labour in the fashion industry and get UK youth involvement to showcase their talents

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Support charities that aim to stop child labour and teach UK youth industry skills, with a long term goal of opening a completely Fairtrade and ethical coffee shop/boutique staffed by young people. Short term, we'll be hosting various events to raise enough money to open the shop. We will also continue to hold annual events to keep the brand and the cause profile public and fundraise. In teaching our youth about these issues, we hope they would look at the world more as it should be, rather than just accept how it is.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

On the charity side, we have several competitors (e.g Pi Foundation, TRAID) but rather than work against them, we hope to collaborate and work with them. For the young people, there are many government projects running, but these focus on the more conventional employment rather than creative. We hope to soon begin holding workshops with Newham Council focusing on design, photography, DJing and others. As far as my research has found, there is no other company that offers both charity and working with young people, so that makes us unique!
About You
Organization:
Couture Conscience
Background Information
First Name

Saima

Last Name

Awan

The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you

Yes.

Country of residence of entrepreneur

Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?

Having worked in the fashion industry for 8 years, it made me question the rationality of paying £2,000 for a dress that a poor child in a sweatshop somewhere was paid around £1 to make. To me, the whole chain just seemed wrong and completely unnecessary, so I decided to work to stop it. No child, no person at all should be forced to work like that, just because they're in a do or die situation! It's even worse to exploit these people because they have no other option.

Organising any show takes a massive amount of leadership to pull it off successfully - co-ordinating 30+ people and egos as well as the audience and media takes a strong person. Judging by the success of our first two shows (£750 raised at our first event, over £1000 raised at the second), I'm that person!

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Couture Conscience

Organization Country

, LND, London

Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX, Across Pakistan

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Innovation
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities

The money we raise at events goes directly to DIL Trust, who then put it towards their activities in working with children in Pakistan. They have succeeded in getting a significant proportion of parents in various villages to send their children to the DIL schools instead of to work in the textile factories.

With the young people involved in our events, we have seen them go on to do amazing things - 19 year old Eliza Reberio, who began the 'Lives Not Knives' campaign showcased with us at our first trial show. She has now gone on to show her cause on Channel 4s 'Battlefront'. Omar Mansoor, who has showcased his collections at several of our shows has also participated in London Fashion Week with great success for several years.

We work with various industry professionals and in the future, local councils, to provide the young people with every possible opportunity to further themselves.

Select the stage that best applies to your business

Operating for 1-5 years

Social Impact
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?

In the 3 years we have been working with DIL Trust, a significant proportion of parents in various villages across Pakistan have decided to send their children to the DIL schools instead of to work in the textile factories. To us, this the beginning of the solution. A large part of the problem is that the work these children do is to provide their families with incomes, and for them to be going to school is a measurable improvement. We hope in the future to be able to support charities in other countries for a similar cause.

With young people, they're providing employment for themselves through something they enjoy doing. So rather than being bored they're involved in a project that not only furthers their ambitions, but helps them understand & help more disadvantaged children

What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?

We expect opposition mostly from the established industry giants, who benefit most from this state of affairs. We believe that now consumers are looking for the greener and ethical option, they would be more open to supporting us and our cause. The choices of the consumer will put pressure on the companies to change their production processes. We have seen how series such as BBCs Blood, Sweat & T-shirts have a direct effect on consumers. Through the events we hold, we will highlight the current process and how simple it is to change it, through Fairtrade trading with farmers, fairly paid workers, resulting in Fairtrade clothing.

Sustainability
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?

Financially, we aim to work with the farmers and factory owners to ensure they receive fair pay and working conditions. We hope this will have the long term effect of creating a fairer supply chain, and lead to sociably sustainable trade. With the young people, we will soon be holding workshops under local council guidelines.

Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?

I believe the current wave of social entrepreneurs focus on helping developing countries to grow and advance, and with support, they can achieve progress. As these mainly focus on the grass roots of the supply chains (sweatshops, mines etc) they have a better opportunity to create real change in consumerism. People are focusing more and more on where things come from and how they're made, and this increased interest will sustain the projects and allow them to make progress.

What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?

I think the most challenging part would be living and working with the villagers - I imagine that its a hard life and to be involved first hand and being there to help would be an amazing experience. I find that I am sometimes missing a real world perspective and gaining some would make the world of difference to our project!

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