This year for Fashion Revolution week we are shining the light on different individuals who are working to bring change to the fashion ecosystem. Whilst remembering the Rana Plaza incident, we wanted to focus on conscious fashion revolutionaries
Meet Delphine. A social entrepreneur who founded the fair trade business Naobé. She designs bags that are handwoven by woman artisans in Guatemala. She works with local cooperatives that ensure women are paid a fair wage and treated fairly. Find out how the lockdown has affected her business and the woman she works with.
Please introduce who you are and what you do in 2 sentences Hello, I’m Delphine. I founded Naobe a year ago. It’s a small fairtrade business. I design textile bags that are handwoven by women artisans from Guatemala. I also do myself customised and upcycled bags.
How would you describe your current mood?
I just came back from Guatemala with the new collection the day the French quarantine began! I was so excited about those new bags. I feel frustrated not to be able to show them.
What effect has Covid 19 had on you and your business? All the forecasted sales are cancelled. Delivery is not safe for the workers. So there is no business at all. I find it difficult to communicate on my brand because I don’t want to show items that I can’t sell. I think there are other priorities.
What effect had Covid 19 had on your supply chain?
In Guatemala, the weavers are used to work from home. But all the stores are closed. No more customers or tourists. The associations I work with don’t have any new orders. They try their best to continue to support the weavers through donation campaigns. At least, current orders have been paid, often cooperatives ask buyers to pay in advance. Guatemalan communities have a very fragile economic system. Without tourism and regular orders, the weavers would struggle to earn a living. One of the weavers explained to me that textiles sale enable them to independently improve their life. They can provide their kids with an education, pay for the school. In Guatemala, weaving is part of the heritage, men and women are still wearing traditional clothing everyday. Each community differentiates itself with a particular style, using different colors and headpieces. Guatemalan people attache strong value to their garments, they only own a few items of clothing but of high quality.
What has been the biggest challenge during this period of lockdown?It's difficult to find a motivation to continue to create new products when you don’t when you will be able to sell again. It’s difficult to find how to keep on communicating when the world around you is suffering.
What have you done during lockdown to innovate? I try to create new bags that I sew myself with old cloths and fabric I have at home.
What small act of kindness has someone shown you or that you have shown someone during the lockdown? Some people are in quarantine alone. I know elderly women isolated. We all try to create social relationships in a new way. It’s a chance to have digital tools to keep in touch.
How do you think you will need to do things differently in your business post lock dow ? I will continue to support Guatemalan weavers as much as I can. But I'll try to create more upcycled products as well.
What would you advise our/your followers to keep their spirits up during lockdown? To think about what we can personally do to participate in the Fashion revolution. To consider this period as an opportunity to change the way we consume. Buy local, respect the environment. Avoid useless transportation, take care of the people around us….
Watch Delphine's video interview @Swaprebellion
Check out Naobe's Instagram here
Learn about Fashion Revolution here