{eco brand} jacob + esau: basic training

Friday, November 13, 2015

"elegance must be the right combination of distinction, naturalness, care and simplicity. of the four things i have mentioned above, the most important of all is care. care in choosing your clothes. care in wearing them. care in keeping them."
christian dior, the little dictionary of fashion 

meet joanne yu + esther kirwan, the beauty, brawn + brains behind the fair trade fashion label, jacob + esauthese gals are committed to fair wages + genuine relationships with garment workers. 

over 80 billion garments are produced worldwide each year. fast fashion + bargain prices exploit the most vulnerable including the farmers, the washers + the sewers via low wages + hazardous working conditions. 

together joanne + esther co-founded an eco line of basics: easy tees, breezy frocks, comfy sweatshirts and relaxed shorts for men + women; apparel that is both cool, functional + responsibly made.

like so many consumers, joanne was looking for low-cost clothes that looked good, "i was on a search for beautiful clothes, affordable clothes. $5 tops are really enticing, $10 dresses, the word 'sale,'" shares joanne. 

but she was searching for something more than a bargain. she was seeking clothes that "did not involve the unfair treatment of somebody."

cue esther, a friend with similar convictions. esther and joanne were friends with parallel values and a simple wish to dress well without negatively impacting the makers who piece together our clothes.

they met over coffee, and that same day jacob + esau took flight. joanne reminds us that with all new endeavors, there are risks involved, and it's going to get tough, "we were on this big adventure where we had no idea where the destination would be. to begin something or anything really, it takes a lot of courage."

well, they have arrived, and here stands a hungry market of eco fashionistas, ready to purchase + wear their stylish wares made with pride by kholil + wiwik in indonesia.

joanne expounds, "we realized we needed to stand up for [production workers'] rights and equality in the work place. we realized there was a great need for change, a need to provide wages for other people. [a living wage] they could thrive off of, not just survive off of.

together with [courage], you need full faith in what you're doing, you must know what you're doing, you must believe in what you're doing. and this assuredness in why you're doing what you're doing."

esther asks consumers, "do you believe you can bring change? i hope you do."

and how does one unspool a dream? esther offers, "we just had enough conviction to go ahead with this dream we had for making ethical labor the norm. shouldn't every business be under public scrutiny to be ethical + have ethical practices? our business is an extension of our personal values. it's what we're passionate about.

today might be the beginning of your journey, the beginning of when you start to see there are more options and lots of people are relying on you to make better choices so their lives can change.

it's very much about the small steps and doing something as opposed to nothing. take away demand and the supply will change."

it is our responsibility to ask where these clothes are made and in what conditions. in an expose on the fashion industry "to die for: is fashion wearing out the world?" lucy siegle, one of britain's leading journalists on social + environmental justice wrote, "its never been more critical for us to consume with care and intelligence." 

okay, green hearts, to shop with a brand that truly cares, hop on over here or here! oh, and stay tuned for my next blog post on my move to paris and the 30 day challenge by livia firth that i happily accepted, wearing jacob + esau's foxy little sweater all over this city of light! 

{top image by christina pippin / bottom image via jacob + esau}

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