Five Sustainable Brands Supporting Refugees

 

The Fashion industry and refugee communities of displaced persecuted people make unlikely partners. But now, brands and NGOs match creativity with compassion on change making projects. Skilled artisans are making invaluable contributions to beautiful desirable items. Brand collaborations who pay refugees a fair wage signifies a new way forward.

 

You do not need permission to make a difference. Get involved! Use your purchase power choosing brands that can help children and families who've fled violence in their home towns. Here, we present some of them: five brands that are transparent, sustainable and help refugees in the production life cycle of their collections. Let your heart decide which is your favorite story. "If it touches your heart, it will come closer to your soul" - says Ragmate. So, let's make our purchased item meaningful.

Adiff

Inspired by the question "can fashion save lives?", Angela Luna has created a collection that fuses fashion, humanity and practicality. Feather-light fabric falls in chic lines perfectly draped and gathered in all the right places, finished with zippers, stylish clips and soft knitted cuffs. The most fabulous idea is the jacket, perfect for striding through the urban jungle or all-terrain adventures… but wait, it can be transformed into a tent! It is the Tent Jacket, designed to provide assistance to refugees. Collection pieces are adaptable to diverse environments and lifestyles, appealing to city dwellers and trailblazers. The best of this story is: when you purchase your jacket, another jacket is donated to a displaced person. So far, Adiff has already donated almost 500 jackets to refugees in Northern Syria since 2017. Products are tested by the designer, camping and hiking, walking down highways, for example, in the (In)Visible jacket - one side reflective, the other camouflage-, making meaningful human connections on the journey.

“The stranded, rejected and shelterless - we were witness to a crisis and wanted to help. We founded our company with the mission of giving back” - says Angela Luna. Dedicated to designing functional products that meet a specific need, actively taking steps to reduce environmental impact and to give back always, Adiff is leading the charge in changing perceptions of functional stylish fashion as a vehicle to positively impact lives. “We are all human”.

 
 
 

Vanina

Vanina is an eco-luxe brand known for its hand-made jewellery, accessories and apparel. Over an up-cycled tin can stitched in tight rows are lustrous white and gold pearls; Vanina produces exquisite evening bags created and made by craftspeople in the Homs refugee camp.  The Vanina eco-jewellery atelier started in Beqaa Valley with SAWA aid in Eastern Lebanon. The production process employs talented local artisans who provide invaluable traditional handmade techniques. Vanina shows us the face of its makers through #whomademyclothes. These skilled craftspeople are the leather makers, weavers, pattern makers, cutters and embroiderers.
 
Vanina believes that an engaged activism aims to promote local community development through the valorization of craftsmanship and environmental awareness. The company opened its flagship store in Beirut with retrospective edits of 10 Capsule Collections: Re-editions, "a luxurious afterlife to tin cans in Conserved". The brand has also collaborated with Swarovski crystals on a "Sparkling tribute to nature".  
 
 

Palestyle

Palestyle is a luxury leather handbags detailed with intricate hand embroidered and gold-plated Arabic calligraphy. These are the statement bags loved by Eva Longoria and coveted by many others. High end department stores Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue stock the collections.
 
This brand has committed to change making projects that have an impact, empowering Refugee women and families with jobs. Middle Eastern refugee craftswomen have seen over 305 embroidery jobs created. Palestyle commits to positive Community projects, Educating Children and The Water Tank exchange. It is a label that is making a difference to people's daily lives. Recently the Lipault Parisian Luggage collaboration produced stunning colourful, detailed and identifiable suitcases. Also, the Convertible Doon Mini-Leather Lion bag is a standout piece in the range. The bag features structured leather with a delicate hand embroidered panel. Completing the piece in a perfect finish, metallic clasps and quality craftsmanship.
 
 
 
 

The Slow Factory

Silk scarves and accessories with powerful themes invoke wonder, magic and awareness. “The Universe belongs to you and you belong to the universe, you are stardust”.  The Slow Factory's designs use fashion activism to promote social good, people and the planet. Founder Celine Semaan Vernon, who fled Lebanon as a child, has designed a white gold key necklace "We are home". This key made in Beirut is in likeness to her own families house key. The house key kept on a necklace is a tribute to refugee tradition and the hope of returning home one day. The new collection Endangered X Extinct makes a poignant statement about our world.
 
Scarves and jewellery feature three extinct and two endangered species. Scarves are magnificently detailed prints on silk. The bee jewellery, composed by a necklace and earrings gold preserved and silver cast, complete the set of 5. The brand has partnered with Anera and also has funded a refugee education program in Lebanon. The scarf images show thoughtful iconic and timeless imagery. The NASA collection and Women Who Inspire give a perspective to the significance of human impact on our world. “Raising awareness that we are all passengers on Earth” -that is what The Slow Factory makes.
 
 
 
 

Ragmate

Ragmate hand-made cushions, throws and wall rugs are one of a kind. The rugs and cushions are vibrant in colour. Tactile textures pulse with movement like a beating heart. Guiding principals Ragmate follows are corporate social responsibility and the desire for transparency, employing female Syrian refugees and looking for environmental sustainability. Syrian women make these unique pieces which have an almost living breathing form. The rugs, cut by hand, have individual strands knotted one by one. Rags, backing cloth and cushion cover cotton fabrics are all used in the creation. The maker of the creation gives each original piece a story.
 
This rug (image), signed off by its maker Eman Karbuj, is titled “We love the past because it now has gone, and if it returned, we would have hated it”.  The main body of the rug is a golden honey colour overlaid with 3 peach, pink and magenta rectangles. The product, made by hand, is full of character, unique to the maker. 
 
 
 
 

+ Words: Julia Henry

Julia Henry is a sustainable fashion advocate, living on the beautiful Central Coast of NSW, Australia. She is the creator of @ccfashionpack, an instazine embracing the fashion revolution which promotes slow and sustainable fashion in a real life setting.
 

Instagram: @ccfashionpack