Two days ago, I was asked by Atelier Meraki co-founder, Cherif, to talk to 3 startups in order to help them dig into their problem and pitch. As a teacher (a part of my colorful life), I was happy to help as always. But it was also a great exercice for me to pitch Ethipop and see if, as clear as things are somethimes in my mind, was it also clear for people?
I met with Céline and Amandine from Hylla, 2 optitmistic co-founders eager to learn and taking part into the ethical fashion ecosystem with strong convictions and a fresh eye on the world. They are building a wardrobe sharing business.
After pitching their startup, we entered in an interesting discussion, all people part of this ecosystem try to solve (especially nowadays in France as awareness and consciousness has been more than rase with COP 21 or the colloque CHANGER LA MODE POUR LE CLIMAT or also movies such as THE TRUE COST): what do you mean by ethical? what do you mean by responsible?
After giving my definition, Céline told me she disagree and that for her it was the contrary. But then, after digging further, asking the others around the table, she realized that it was not that clear for them at Hylla as well, or for anybody after all.
I went home that night and started surching all definitions I could (wikipedia, bbc, larousse, ...), not to know if I were right or wrong, but to check if I was not out of space with my convictions. Ethics is linked to moral, to values and what is good for people: therefore, when we talk about enhancing local or international know-how, we are talking about enhancing craftsmanship, recognizing people's work and therefore, made in France is about ethical fashion? But we are also talking about responsible fashion as people are part of society, aren't we? When we talk about making youngsters aware of environment like the brand Verlaine & Rimbaud is doing, or with upcyling like the brand Les Récupérables. is also doing, are we talking about social responsibility, or are these designers and founders just ethical as they look at fashion with the moral angle?
Is social responsibility only related to environment or as it is written in wikipedia, it is an ethical framework which suggest that an entity (organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large, as social can encompass PEOPLE, SOCIETY and the ENVIRONMENT?
I brought this discussion and questions to my friend and co-founder Anaïs, as for us it is important to be in line with who we are and our values and convictions. She told me that the most important is that we are TAKING ACTION as well as supporting DOERS in our ecosystem. That the real question is: HOW we can do good on our level, for people, for the environment in an industry we know is the 2nd worst industry in the world after oil. And that we already know WHY, as it disturb us to be fake and do as if we do not know the fashion industry is killing people in the world.
Focusing on helping people finding fashion items (clothes, cosmetics, accessories...) that are not harming their lives. Showing that there are many alternatives, as well as promoting positive initiatives in the industry: that's the most important at Ethipop, and that what fills our cup each day.