Do you know who stitched the top or shirt you're wearing right now?
Do you know who assembled the mobile phone you're reading this on?
Did you know that there are approximately 21,000,000 slaves in the world today and that many of those slaves are making our t-shirts and phones and jeans and trainers?
We're going to take a gamble on the answer to all three of those questions being 'no'. And if we're wrong, then you're much better informed than the vast majority of consumers (and us).
We don't usually deal with serious issues on the blog, but we went to a launch event this week which really got us thinking, so we decided we should share what we learnt with you (don't worry we're chucking in a healthy dose of fashion too...).
We love fast fashion, we're big shoppers and we generally can't get enough of snapping up a big bagful of clothes for a snip at our favourite high street haunts. But, we rarely stop and really think about why the T-shirt we've just picked up only cost £10 or HK$100. If you're honest with yourself, we bet you turn a bit of a blind eye to it too. The stark reality is that someone is paying for your cheap T-shirt and the price they're paying is much more than the £20 you're saving by buying cheap.
On Tuesday evening we were lured down to Stockton in Hong Kong by the promise of free-flowing prosecco and the launch of a brand new fashion label, Kingdom. We'd heard that Kingdom is an ethical fashion brand, but to be frank, we were sort of focussed on the fashion (and the prosecco...)
After a bit of a gossip with friends over a glass or two of bubbles, the lights dipped and the brand's founders stood up to introduce Kingdom. In short, Kingdom is a t-shirt label but a t-shirt label with a conscience.
Will Budden and Ben Cameron, the guys behind the label, have set about making sure that when you're buying from them, you're not only sure that your T-shirt has been made ethically, in an environment free from human trafficking and slavery, but, that your purchase also helps to fund stamping out slavery and human trafficking in general. To that end, Kingdom have partnered with the Mekong Club, a Hong Kong based charity set up to help fight slavery and human trafficking in Asia and the brand will be donating 20% of all net profits to the cause.
Matt Friedman, co-founder of the Mekong Club, also spoke at the launch and it was some of the horrifying stories that he relayed which really had us sitting up and taking notice. If you're going to take a coffee break today, we'd really recommend you watch his brilliant TED Talk - Every 15 Seconds.
Ok, serious stuff dealt with, it's time for the fashion. Us Mice have definitely been neglecting you boys recently, so this one's just for you!
Currently, Kingdom have just one line of men's t-shirts, the Tradition line, which all bear the brand's lion logo. Each shirt is made from super soft cotton and cut for a slim fit. Next up will be the Effortless line (think Scotch & Soda) and the Final Cut line (think Hugo Boss Black Label). Everything about Kingdom's products is beautifully designed and put together from the T-shirts themselves down to the super cool swing tags (which give you more info on all the good things Kingdom are doing).
Here's the Tradition line boys, it's time to get shopping (and girls - buy one for your boyfriend, brother or best friend. Oh, and enjoy the model eye candy while you're at it...)
Made for Adventure
And in great news, Kingdom's not just for the boys. Later this year they'll be launching a cubs line for kids and a girl's line is also in the pipeline. Watch this space...