Do your research - The growing millennial trend of dressing ethically is something that many hop on thinking that they can make a difference. Not only do people like the idea of doing good in the world, but buying fair trade clothing makes us feel way less guilty about treating ourselves to that pair of shoes we know we don’t need. However, it is important to realize that some socially “responsible” companies, might not be as responsible as you think. Often even companies with good intentions might accidentally be causing more harm than good by negatively affecting the economies of the regions they support. That is why it is crucial that you, as the consumer, do your research into the ethical procedures and business models of companies you patronize. Here at Secret Projects, our founder Fritha works endlessly, at times putting her safety at risk, to help our makers gain independence, economic stability, and a sense of empowerment from their work. We specialize in designing products that are both ethically and environmentally sustainable.
Stray away from fast fashion - Does it ever feel like you are always out of style? That is probably because you are. Due to influx of fast fashion in today’s society, in is nearly impossible to stay on trend. Although this might not seem like a problem except when it comes to your bank account, it is actually detrimental to the environment and the lives of many people. Having worked in several developing countries, I have seen first hand the effects of fast fashion. Not only do large amount of discarded and worn-out clothes stuff the landfills, but factories often release hazardous dyes and chemicals into the water sources of many small villages causing problems in health and agriculture. It is for this reason that it is extremely important to stray away from buying fast fashion. You can use the hashtag #slowfashion as seen in many of our posts to spread awareness about this issue.
Re-wear your clothes - in order to aid in your effort to boycott fast fashion, it is ideal to invest in good quality clothing that will last. A good goal is to wear whatever you buy at least 30 times. Not only will investing in quality clothing create a classier look, fit better, and stay in style longer, but it will also give you a sense of pride in dressing ethically. However, if you don’t have the budget, a great solution to reducing waste from the fashion industry is by buying second hand clothes! Often you can find a great deal on good quality clothes without breaking the bank, and saving the environment at the same time.
We have been named one of the top 100 Social Enterprises in the UK in the NatWest Bank SE100 Index and Social Business Awards.
AND WE COULDN'T BE . . . PROUDER!
We entered the competition earlier this year and put it to the back of our minds. We knew that we had done a good job with the application, highlighting our strengths as well as our plans for the future. However, the competition was going to be tough as there are so many brilliant Social Enterprises out there!
Then the news came through that we had been named one of the top 100 UK Social Enterprises!
We genuinely went into a bit of shock for a couple of minutes, wondering if what we were seeing was real! And then we screamed a little!
This award means so much to us and, without wishing to sound like we are giving an Oscars acceptance speech, we wouldn't have recieved this honor without the unfailing support of our Customers, Shareholders and Friends. So, it's a well done to each and everyone of us.
What is the SE100 Index and Social Business Award?
The SE100 Index and Social Business Awards is run by NatWest Bank & Pioneers Post every year to name, celebrate and learn from the UK's 100 most impressive social enterprises. Learn more about this award here.
What does being named one of the top 100 UK Social Enterprises in the SE100 Index and Social Business Awards mean to us?
So much! It's wonderful to get a recognition that what we are doing is making an impact by such a presitgious organisation and award. To be counted in with 99 other excellent social enterprises is just wonderful and we want to give a shout out to all the top 100.
It's so tough for social enteprises in this current climate and to receive this honor has really boosted our spirits, so thank you to the SE100 committee for recognising our work and to the entire Secret Projects team for working so hard our social enterprise the impactful organisation it is today.
Introducing News from India
We are delighted to introduce our latest editorial creation - News from India, dropping in inboxes every 6 weeks.
What's . . . it all about?
News from India, begins with an update and introduction from Secret Projects India Director, Sumathi and is packed full of news about what our Makers (the name we give to the women who lovingly stitch our Ranges of Clothing and Homeware) are working on, how you can help us in our mission to empower women in India, plus lots of other information and announcements.
With Heart, our long standing, monthly e-newsletter will still continue to be sen but will now mainly focus on our products, offers and new products.
How to sign up to receive News from India and With Heart
Please click the link here to sign up to receive both News from India and With Heart. If you already receive With Heart, you will automatically be sent News from India.
Subscribing to News from India is one of the best ways to keep up with all things Secret Projects India and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as Sumathi and the team enjoy putting it together.
Photo: Sumathi's update from News from India.
Update on Molly's Sewing Unit – the producer of the SSD (Secret Sari Dress)
Molly, as many of our Customers and Friends know, heads up her own sewing . . . unit in West Bengal, where there is an alarmingly high rate of human trafficking and provids young women with stitching work, who without an income are more at risk of falling into the hands of trafficking gangs.
When we met Molly, (a number of years ago now) through an NGO, we knew that she was the perfect person to begin making our Secret Sari Dresses (SSD) and we worked together productively for over 2 years. She is very special to us, along with the young women.
The effects of the pandemic for Molly and the unit
When the pandemic hit, things became difficult for Molly and she had to temporarily close her unit to work as a Quality Controller in a garment factory, between lockdowns to provide money for her family. Throughout this time, we have kept in touch with Molly to support her.
Molly has now been able to reopen her unit and has had some orders, which is great but things are still tough. She has been granted an export licence, which is no mean feat in India and we are so proud of this massive achievement. Our Finance Director, Banke is coaching her in how to effectively use this license as it will be hugely beneficial to her business.
We really want to be able to give Molly and the young women orders for more SSD's but before we are able to do this, we need to clear the current stock we have. So we can give work to Molly as soon as possible, we are offering 2 for 1 on all Secret Sari Dresses. Choose one for yourself and one for a friend (or keep both!).
How it works...
Choose your dress and go to the checkout and in the note box tell us the size and ideal colour way you would like for your second and free of charge SSD and we will do our best to match! It's like a managed lucky dip!!! The offer is available on all SSD's.
Please note, the offer is currently only available for delivery to UK addresses with payment in Sterling.
To shop, please click here
What happens next...
Once we have cleared the stock, we will work with Molly towards putting together brand new Collections of SSD's, which is such an exciting prospect and we all can't wait.
Molly sends her love to everyone.
Photo: Selfie taken by Molly (on far left) with some of her Makers. (Photograph used with permission.)