This project started out of a theology assignment on social transformation. We researched other charitable organisations that use sewing as a means of support. We wanted to develop a charitable business model where people from all over the world could be practically, economically and spiritually involved in the making and selling of dresses that honour, respect and embody a love for God and His creation.
Below is a list of statements that would draw God and Kingdom principles into the project:
- By using locally sourced, heritage rich fabrics with no trimmings that need importing, we honour local people; enabling access to the project to makers in diverse locations, reducing carbon miles and challenging the need for fashion trends and consumerism.
- By using machinery resources available in remote areas (e.g. hand powered straight-stitch machines), we honour the poorest in the supply chain.
- By making a one-size dress that will fit all women in all seasons of life (including maternity and nursing), and last a lifetime. This reduces the need for large stock volumes which make setting up a business prohibitive to people on low incomes. It also simplifies manufacturing processes, reduces the likelihood of errors, eliminates dead stock and therefore minimises cost and waste. The dress has a diverse audience and selling online is simpler. Boutiques are often small with limited display space: with only one-size of dress there is less likelihood of dead size stock and more opportunity to display colour or fabric variations.
- By using a financial remuneration system that honours everyone involved and provides generously for the poor. Producers in the west are remunerated with a fair return. When producers in poorer countries sell in their own locality, dresses are sold at appropriate prices. However, when they export their dresses to the west, we use western retail prices in order to provide a greater return for their benefit, for example the first six dresses a trainee makes generates sufficient income to purchase their own sewing machine.
- By using a sustainable business model that enables fair commercial profit margins so the product can be a prophetic statement to the global fashion industry.
- By sourcing fabric as respectfully as we can:
- as locally as possible;
- from fair trade producers where we can, and if not, from producers with ethical values;
- with organic credentials if we can within the budgets our transparent pricing policy permits;
- we also purchase waste fabric from end of factory lines as an alternative sustainable option.
- By relying on skills training through visuals and training aids, without the need for written text. This easily crosses language and literacy barriers and provides training that demonstrates investment in others.
- By engaging people as equals from all over the world, demonstrating care and love for all.
- By creating a prayer network which supports everyone involved.
- By telling the story behind the dress and how the product embodies our goals.