How many pieces of ‘feminist’ merch have you got in your wardrobe?
How many T-shirts with cute slogans, graphic illustrations of historical women, or tote bags covered in messages of equality?
Of all those items, how many can you say were climate-neutral to make? Or made in non-exploitative conditions?
Appoximately 80% of fast fashion garment workers are women aged 18-35, earning £74 per month (that’s around 25p per hour, if you’re wondering). Labour Behind the Label produces extensive research into garment factory working conditions in the UK, India, Cambodia and Pakistan. By knowingly purchasing from brands who produce garments in these factories, we’re contributing to the economic oppression and exploitation of workers around the world– many of whom are women. And this issue is not far removed from the UK, there are garment factories in Leicester paying workers £3.50 per hour. As Sophie Koumides, the woman behind Kou Kou Kreations says, fashion is– without a doubt– a feminist issue.
Sophie joined us to discuss Kou Kou Kreations– a one-woman show putting the spotlight on the way intersectional feminism relates to the fashion industry. A queer artist with a background in performance, Sophie is led by her values– dedicated to sustainability, climate activism, and gender equality.
After the exposure of Boohoo (Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Thing) and Missguided’s unethical labour practices this year, we’ve been watching closely. Fashion brands must be transparent with their manufacturing processes. You can use Good On You to search thousands of fashion houses and check their manufacturing rating, potential association with animal cruelty, and their impact on people and the planet.
Fancy wearing a vintage handbag that reads ‘Feminist AF’, a T-Shirt which sports ‘Support her dreams and make her cum’, or maybe a ‘I was not born to be subtle’ pre-loved denim jacket? Or maybe you’d like a map of the world featuring amazing women, unsung heroines who deserve recognition? The Women of The World is my favourite piece by Kou Kou Kreations– as it sees Sophie literally putting women on the map.
In our chat, Sophie discussed Kou Kou’s step-by-step approach to sustainable operations, and how she developed a climate-neutral manufacturing process in collaboration with Wild and Kind Studios and Lucky Cat printing. Kou Kou also distribute all their items in recyclable materials (no plastic involved). Sophie’s process is fully transparent, and has stuck to some truly amazing climate commitments throughout her journey.
You’ll hear us discuss the very exciting next collection- The Dream Muse Collection drops on Friday, 28th August– we’ve had a sneak peak, and it’s sassy af.