Like you we like a bargain. A nice sale. A cheeky discount code.
But unless you've been under a rock you can't have failed to notice that over 1,000 people, mainly garment workers, just died in a building collapse in Bangladesh. The worst disaster in the history of the garment industry.
Arthur & Henry shirts are made in decent conditions. We think all workers deserve the same.
So for her birthday our co-founder Clare asked Arthur (and Henry) if we could give £15 from every shirt sale to the Clean Clothes Campaign, an amazing organisation that's working really hard to improve conditions in the global garment industry.
"Since 1989, the CCC has worked to help ensure that the fundamental rights of workers are respected. We educate and mobilise consumers, lobby companies and governments, and offer direct solidarity support to workers as they fight for their rights and demand better working conditions."
It's the Clean Clothes Campaign who, together with local and international unions, drew together the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement that we've seen significant retailers sign up to in recent days.
(They're an organisation that works on a shoestring. We've seen their expenses policy and trust us, if MPs followed it, there'd be a heck of a lot more money for the NHS. But they still have some costs and they have to be paid for.)
So sorry, no saving in your pocket this time. But hopefully the opportunity for a brighter future for others.
Offer runs 17-24th May
Donation is on top of our commitment to giving 1% of turnover to charity each year.
It's World Fair Trade Day today. A day when we celebrate that there is a different way of doing trade. A way that treats people with respect, valuing their skills. A way of doing trade that doesn't result in people being herded into unsafe buildings to work excessively long hours for pay they can barely survive on.
We understand that that thousands of artisans and small producers are planning to be out on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, promoting fair trade and showing that things can be done differently. Hurrah.
So seek out fair trade products today and make a difference. (We'd recommend a nice shirt but then we would say that wouldn't we.)
of Fair Trade
Fair Trade is a trading partnership,
based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater
equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable
development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing
the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in
Fair Trade organisations (backed by
consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness
raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of
conventional international trade.
of Fair Trade
Fair Trade’s strategic intent is:
- deliberately to work with
marginalised producers and workers in order to help them move from a
position of vulnerability to security and economic self‐sufficiency
- to empower producers and workers
as stakeholders in their own organisations actively to play a wider
role in the global arena to achieve greater equity in international
(World Fair Trade Organisation), FLO (Fair Trade Labeling
(Network of European Worldshops) and EFTA (European Fair Trade
We're hugely proud to have been invited to be on the panel for a Guardian Q&A on alternative trade models this afternoon.
It's all go here at Shirts HQ. Not only are our fabulous tailors beavering away on some new shirts but we're on the catwalk tonight.
Come on down, see our shirts in action and have a chance to ask questions around ethical fashion, and ethics & fashion (surely even more pertinent now in the wake of the Bangladesh building collapse) to a brilliant panel.
We have been watching the tragic events in Bangladesh, where a building containing four garment factories collapsed last week, in horror. Because this was an entirely preventable tragedy.
Greed, corruption, poor business management and planning (by both western retailers and local factory management) that puts pressure on factories and workers to deliver to unrealistic targets and prices, all play their part.
Here at Arthur & Henry we are proud that are shirts are made in India. They are made in just one factory in Bangalore in south India. We are proud of this because our tailors have come from poor backgrounds. Work, decent work, in which they are paid fairly, not forced to work excessive overtime, have a safe working environment, are able to progress up the ranks and gain skills, has transformed their lives and that of their families.
They seem to like working for us too...
"The attention and the care that Arthur and Henry team take to create new products are really unheard of and we are thrilled to get engaged with a brand that is serious about the art of making shirts and not doing run off the mill products. We are so involved in the process that it is liking coming from our own womb and not 'ordered' by somebody to produce shirts cheaply without any care for the finer details of shirt making."
Albert Anbu - Production Incharge for small runs
(We also love Indian English "Production Incharge" isn't that just a wonderful job title.)
Our shirts are made of the highest quality organic cotton by people treated decently and paid a fair wage. They're also beautiful.
We think all business should be like this.
It's St George's Day. Hurrah, let us all drink good English ale and rejoice. Be careful with the Morris dancing though, those sticks could take someone's eye out.
Our sibling founders Clare and Mark Lissaman grew up in a small place in rural Kent. Just 300 inhabitants but two pubs. One of which was the George & Dragon.
So what more appropriate day to launch, for your delight and delectation, a small, but perfectly formed, selection of accessories and accoutrements from some of our friends. Great companies who share our ethos and who are making in England.
We have some cufflinks and card holders made from reclaimed, reconditioned and upcycled old firehose by Elvis & Kresse.
"Elvis & Kresse create stunning life-style accessories by re-engineering seemingly useless waste. The innovative and pioneering fire-hose range is made exclusively from genuine de-commissioned British fire brigade hoses which, after a distinguished career fighting fires and saving lives, were otherwise destined for landfill." Even the packaging, right down to the labelling, is from things that would otherwise be thrown away.
And silk pocket squares and brass cufflinks from Well & Truly. The silk squares are printed and made in what was once the centre of a great English silk industry, Macclesfield.
Enjoy. More will come.
We make beautiful shirts and now we're officially a Beautiful Business
issued by Small Word Beautiful Business
It's Friday. It's raining. It's still Earth Month but we thought we could do with some Friday fun.
Actually this really is genius - you just prick a pattern with a pin and leave it for a few hours to turn black. Our artistic skills may not be up to the Blues Brothers but we could probably manage a cheeky 'hello'.
Blues Brother tat by @sweet_station
The sun finally seems to be making a breakthrough here in London town and there are hopeful signs that spring might finally be here. Hurrah.
We've been thinking more about bees. It's easy to say, as we did in a previous blog, bees are dying due to habitat loss, chemicals and disease but what does that actually mean?
In particular we've been reading about neonicotinoids - modern pesticides/insecticides that work by attacking an insect's central nervous system. They are not sprayed but rather are applied as seed or soil dressings so they are taken into the plant and can't be washed off. There seems to be growing evidence
that whilst these were considered not threatening to bees and other helpful insects, this isn't in fact the case.
"Given the scale of use of neonicotinoids, we suggest that they may be having a considerable negative impact of wild bumblebee populations across the developed world
" University of Stirling report
The aptly named Bee Strawbridge has heaps more info on her blog
and is well worth reading. She's also on Twitter @beestrawbridge.