Back in June, we learnt of a little app that was set out to capture our KINGDOM. hearts and make life a bajillion times better. Five months later, that app has landed, and we could not be any more excited!
Good On You is a Sydney-based organisation that aims to help consumers make better decisions by gathering data on over 1000 brands and giving them a rating based on their ethics. These ratings are based on the way in which brands and companies address three main areas: people (e.g. supply chain, labour, worker safety, living wage), the environment (e.g. sustainability, direct and indirect impacts, waste, use of hazardous chemicals), and animals (e.g. use of fur and angora, whether 'mulesing' is associated with wool production, whether and how leather is used). Most of the ratings also include detailed breakdowns of this information so that you can check it all out for yourself!
This brilliant new app builds upon the work that other great organisations such as Fairtrade Australia, Ethical Clothing Australia, and Baptist World Aid - amongst many, many others - are already doing. We love that there are increasingly more accessible resources to help us out with shopping ethically Now it's literally as easy as searching by brand, product or store - yew!
Thank you, Good On You, for creating such an awesome digital sidekick for conscious consumers! Knowledge and understanding are two of our best weapons, and you guys are ace for equipping all of us.
We will be sure to use the Good On You app for #youareKINGDOM2k16!
As if it's October already! I think that this year may have been the most hectic one to date, but also the most productive one. Not going to lie though - I am READY for the promises that the new year brings.
2016 is already shaping up to be a really interesting year. Amongst a million other things, 2016 predominantly sees me leaving the student life behind and heading into the professional realm (as a wide-eyed, enthusiastic and cheerful secondary teacher). I suppose that also means changing communities, stepping out of comfort zones, and filling my brain with a completely new type of knowledge. It sounds a little daunting when you put it that way, but truth be told, I couldn't be more excited.
So even though it's a little early, I'm already looking towards the new year and I'm in need of your help! I love the idea of commencing a new life stage, and whenever I do, I want to do it properly. Plus, who else knows that you can't put new wine into old wine skins?
I always aim to be a person of integrity and a positive influence on anyone whom I encounter. Therefore I am determined to make 2016 the year that I live out the KINGDOM. LIFE in all its fullness. "Whatever does this mean?" Good question. This means that I want to transform my lifestyle into one that is defined by my values and beliefs, even if that's difficult or inconvenient. And considering that KINGDOM. is where it's at for me, what better way to start than to start by transforming the manner of my consumerism?
This is where you guys come in! With your help, I'm going to gradually trade the negative for the positive, bit by bit, piece by piece - and obviously we're going to start with CLOTHES. Considering that you are all far more knowledgeable than I (as well as the fact that the Internet scares me a little bit), this is the plan:
Keeping within the KINGDOM. mission guidelines - buy less, buy better, buy something with a story - I am going to trade out my old clothing items for more ethical and sustainable alternatives. I will set up camp at our Instagram account and regularly post an item of clothing that I need to replace (e.g. basic tee, denim jacket, athletic wear etc.). Then it's up to you tag your favourite ethical fashion brands/designers or email me at [email protected] with your suggestions. I'll check out all of your suggestions, and together we'll craft the world's greatest ethical wardrobe!
I'll also blog the process as we go along so that you can see what it looks like to attempt to shop completely ethically for a year. I'll also feature and maybe even interview some of the brands that we discover along the way so that you can also share in the joy that I will be experiencing!
Start conjuring up a list of brands and designers that you think I might like, and we will embark on this journey together very soon.
And of course there needs to be a hashtag for the occasion. Our hashtag will be #youareKINGDOM2k16 because YOU guys will be the brains behind turning KINGDOM. dreams and values into a tangible reality.
I'm vibing positive, guys. This is going to be a good time.
Back when KINGDOM. first started, I noticed a particular Instagram follower who was super active on our profile. I thought, "You are super nice, and in return, I shall stalk your profile (because that's a reward somehow?)." I did just that, and lo and behold, I stumbled upon one of the greatest discoveries I have ever made. I have not stopped Insta-stalking since.
Everyone, meet Ghitta Laskrouif - fashion designer extraordinaire behind the brand, Ghitta laskrouif, hailing all the way from Morocco. Ghitta, everyone; everyone, Ghitta.
Coming from a background in fine arts and fashion design, as well as coming from a traditional family that was particularly skilled in crafts, Ghitta was always set to create something unique and full of character. After graduating from fashion design in 2007, Ghitta ventured into freelance work, collaborating with other designers, as well as studying and researching textiles and other designers. It was in 2014 that she took the leap and launched a brand of her very own.
In Ghitta laskrouif's first year, Ghitta designed two collections, which included enough items to fill up your entire wardrobe. From jewellery, shoes, and accessories to dresses, trousers, and outwear, Ghitta laskrouif covers it all. Inspired by daily life and her Afro/Arab/Berber heritage, Ghitta creates an aesthetic that represents an active, avant-garde, modest woman through loose-fitting, slightly androgynous clothes with minimal cuts. Amongst Ghitta's favourites is her collection of berrad (teapot) scarves and shawls (they're some of our favourites too!).
It doesn't just stop there either! Ghitta is also a country ambassador for the unbelievable movement, Fashion Revolution! Ghitta explains, "Fashion Revolution is a global coalition of designers, academics, writers, and business leaders calling for systemic reform of the fashion supply chain, and trying to awaken people's conscience about fashion and especially fast fashion system." After following the campaign in 2014, Fashion Revolution approached Ghitta about becoming the country co-ordinator for Morocco, which was AOK with Ghitta, "Every time I have the chance, I try to explain what ethical fashion to people, how it's important to know the true cost of our clothes and the companies that we support , who made it, where it's made - we need to know the story of our clothes. There are a lot people involved the the whole process of creating clothing! At the moment of purchase, most of us are unaware of the processes and impacts involved in the creation of a garment." For example, Ghitta states, "According to the Danish Fashion Institute (2013), fashion is the world's 2nd most polluting industry."
For Morocco in particular, "the textiles and clothing sector plays a major role in the country’s economy. It is the top industrial employer, providing about 200,000 jobs to 42% percent of the labour force working in the industry." However, Ghitta points out an other impact that the global fashion industry is having on her home country,"An unfortunate side effect of the current model is the loss of crafts, culture and skills because people are purchasing foreign labels more than local ones!" When you see the pieces that Ghitta and other artisans create, you'll understand exactly how much of a shame this is!
Therefore, being such an active advocate for ethical fashion, are Ghitta's own creations ethical? You'll be pleased to know that they are! The most incredible characteristic that you will notice in any Ghitta laskrouif piece is that it is slowly and carefully handmade. Each piece represents a journey of coming into being. Moreover, they're not ethical because she's following the current trend; they're ethical because it's embedded into her lifestyle, "I've grown up in countryside and the lifestyle is so different! We enjoy, take time and pleasure in everything. I learned to make everything in slow mode but when i moved to Casablanca city, it was the total opposite! Everyone is either in a hurry, or already out of time! This transition influenced my choice to make an ethical brand. I wanted to create something slow, made with pleasure and contrasting the city lifestyle - so [my label] is ethical because everything is handmade. I make all of the accessories and clothes samples by myself, and when sourcing materials and textiles such as embroideries, crochet, knit, weave, and prints, I collaborate with local artisans."
So what does the future hold for Ghitta laskrouif? Well, as keen as we are here in Melbourne to purchase and support her work, we need to calm down because Ghitta only just launched her most recent collection! The next few months will see Ghitta focusing on reproducing items for buyers and looking for more opportunities to sell her designs. If you live outside of Casablanca, but you're still keen to purchase Ghitta's designs, you may have to wait a little while. However, there is a small collection of Ghitta laskrouif accessories available on Japanese online boutique, ChatRubis.
Congratulations, Ghitta, on all of your success and everything you have already accomplished! We love what you do, and we want to support you in whatever way we can. We admire your passion for championing positive causes, and love your determination and heart to see an industry revolutionised for the benefit of the world and all who inhabit it. We hope to take KINGDOM. to Morocco one day to visit you in person, so get ready because I have a feeling when Ghitta laskrouif and KINGDOM. combine forces, there will be a lot of noise!