The Idea

So what’s this idea that I deferred uni for? In a nutshell, I am looking into what’s involved in establishing a clothing store based on the principles of fair trade and environmental sustainability.

Seems simple enough, so why do they not exist? Well, they do exist, mostly on the net, but it seems that when you go down to the local mall, or in my case to King St Newtown, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere that you can get fair trade clothes (or even other fair trade goods for that matter). Oxfam CAA and The Body Shop are exceptions that immediately springs to mind, but there definitely seems to be a gaping hole in the market, particularly when it comes to clothes.

I have been interested in fair trade and environmental issues for some time, and I have often lamented the fact that their wasn’t more choice in the marketplace for excercising my consumer dollar. Although some options do exist, they are often hard to access and identify.

So I finally thought to myself – Why don’t you do something about it? I started mentioning the idea to some friends, and the response has been dramatic. It seems that so many people I know are aware of these issues, and would like to support businesses that are doing things differently, but are in the same boat as me – they just don’t seem to be able to find options.

On another level, I have been searching for some time for a project that would be able to integrate the various aspects of my professional and political leanings. This business idea has the potential to do just that.

So I have committed to spend time each week to researching and developing the concept (which is why I deferred uni). A couple of my friends are doing the same. We hope to develop the concept and fill in the blanks to the point where we can look into getting seed funding to start the business. We have come up with a working title of “Fashion Without Victims”. I’ve started a blog to explore with, and we have also started a private Yahoo! Group. If you are interested in helping out, let me know.

The business may not get off the ground – at the moment we are exploring what’s out there, and what’s involved. We’re hoping that by sharing that journey as we go we that others can jump on board, or embrace and extend the work that we’ll be doing. And if worse comes to worse we’ll understand a lot more about the issues involved in establishing a business like this, which can only be a good thing.