Ethical Fashion Q&A with SOKO's Diana Biggs
Posted on December 17 2013
Soko's Diana Biggs offered us the Soko point of view on Bhoomki's three ethical fashion questions.
Bhoomki's Ethical Fashion Q&A
1. How do you approach ethical fashion?
At Soko, we're approaching ethical fashion from several angles. Firstly, it's about economic development: by providing access to the global marketplace to artisan entrepreneurs, facilitated by our technology, we are creating income opportunities that are both more steady and more direct. Environmental impact is also a huge one for us. Our artisans are extremely resourceful and the positive ramifications should not be underestimated. The jewelry pieces are made from materials including horn and bone recovered from the butchers (mostly cows, and certainly only animals used for food - the meat costs far more than these bone and horn pieces ever could), and our metal pieces are often melted down from past lives. All of the beads are glass, also often upcycled - we're anti-plastic. We also operate our business using fair trade practices. Our largest office is in Nairobi, where the majority of our artisans are also based, and we have developed a very close relationship - partnership - with them. We work to ensure fair wages and safe business practices.
2. Why is ethical fashion important to you?
The same ethics have been applied to so many other facets of my life - and I feel the same goes for so many I know: working to promote corporate social responsibility and international development, eating locally produced, organic, vegan food, organic cleaning and beauty products, recycled paper. Especially as fashion can be such a large percentage of spend (eek!) for us, we need to be promoting the same standards! And the choice is now out there: Bhoomki is a perfect example! Ethical fashion no longer has to been any compromise on style, in fact the style, quality, and craftsmanship surpass! It's exciting and encouraging, and only getting better.
3. What is one thing you'd like people to know about ethical fashion?
I'd love people to know how gorgeous it is - and how serious of an issue this is. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, second only to oil, and is the second largest polluter of clean water, after agriculture. 25% of chemicals produced worldwide are used in the fashion industry: that's awful.
Soko is an innovation in global fashion and technology: An online store that connects online consumers to global makers and handcrafted jewelry from the developing world. With Soko, you can discover incredible design and creative ingenuity made in communities that lay outside of the digital economy. Brought to the global stage using their own technology, Soko delivers you exceptional style with stunning handcrafted jewelry designs created by artisans in emerging economies, using natural and upcycled materials. To learn more about Soko, visit www.shopsoko.com or check them out in thisrecent Fast Company article.