10 Socially Responsible Businesses We Love in Fashion
Why choose socially responsible businesses?
A socially responsible company strives to regulate its operations to comply with the laws of the countries it does business in, while behaving accordingly to the locally accepted norms and making ethical corporate decisions. Some companies take this business model a step further, and try to have as positive an impact on society as possible, by making every effort to improve their workers’ quality of life. Socially responsible businesses care about the longevity of their business relationship with their workers, and take steps towards educating and supporting them, protecting their culture and environment, and promoting noble ideals, such as cultural preservation and diversity, ecology, freedom, dignity and equality.
Nowadays a good quality product and frequent advertisement are not enough to guarantee a company’s success. The consumers’ interest seems to have skewed towards the world’s major, real problems, and they appear to be more inclined to trust and support socially responsible businesses. The modern consumer cares about social and environmental issues, and has direct access to companies’ modus operandi. Socially responsible businesses have great social media presence, and socially conscious consumers often act as advocates for their favorite companies, thus promoting their business even further.
This business model ensures the socially responsible businesses’ survivability and prosperity, while it also improves the everyday lives of people who might otherwise end up being exploited and taken advantage of.
BANGS means ‘help’ in Mandarin. Founded by Hannah Davis, BANGS Shoes sell stylish canvas work shoes. 20% of the company’s net profit goes towards supporting hand-selected entrepreneurs, both domestically and internationally, with the help of their nonprofit partner, Kiva. The company’s motto is “Help others help themselves”.
The International Princess Project, one of the most important socially responsible businesses out there, helps women who have been victimized by trafficking escape sex slavery. IPP collaborates with indigenous organizations to create small sewing centers, where these women can find shelter and support. In the IPP sewing centers, women can reclaim their formerly lost hopes for the future, by learning a new trade, so that they can live independently and support themselves and their families.
IPP sells quality sleepwear and loungewear called PUNJAMMIES, which are sold online and exported to countries all over the globe. Each pair is named after a woman from the IPP sewing centers, so that consumers can enjoy a sense of fulfilment, stemming from the knowledge that they actually helped another human being improve their life.
Rebecca Peragine has combined her passion for design with her dream to inspire children to learn to appreciate cultural diversity, ecology, languages and art. By teaching children to love and respect the environment, Rebecca hopes she is creating future adults who will carry those sentiments on, and accept their responsibility to protect our planet. Children Inspire Design’s products are made of eco-friendly materials, such as repurposed paper, special inks and biodegradable packaging. The company’s motto is “Inspire children. Change the world”.
Threads 4 Thought is a socially responsible company which aspires to create fashion products which promote the company’s ideals. Threads 4 Thought takes pride in using sustainable materials to create their product lines, treating their workers fairly and humanely, and working closely with two highly respected charities, the international Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
TOMS are in business to help improve lives, following a model which is called One for One. With every product sold, TOMS actively helps a person in need. Each product has a special action related to its purchase. For instance, with every pair of TOMS Eyewear sold, the company helps restore sight to a person in need, and with every bag of coffee sold, TOMS provides one week of clean water to another person in need.
The company has helped restore the sight of more than 200000 people all over the world, and has given more than 10 million pairs of new shoes to children in need so far.
Supermodel, actress and former World Health Organisation’s Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Liya Kebede started Lemlem in 2007 in order to protect the livelihood of her fellow Ethiopian people, and to preserve and nourish the ancient art of traditional weaving. In an effort to promote economic independence in her native country, Liya created this beautiful handcrafted collection of women’s and children’s clothing, which is currently thriving. Socially responsible businesses, like Lemlem, help their clients do the world a lot of good, while providing them with great quality handmade products.
The Warby Parker company sells glasses made by people from developing countries, sending some of their profits back to their workers every month to cover the cost of sourcing the products that they sold. Working with nonprofit organizations, such as VisionSpring, Warby Parker strives to make eyeccare available to all developing countries’ communities, by teaching men and women how to give basic eye exams and sell affordable, good quality glasses which fit with local styles.
The Carrie Parry Company’s main purpose is to use business to promote responsible social, environmental and economic practices, by empowering and supporting their community. The company sells a series of high quality modern classics for women, and is a great example of the way socially responsible businesses should operate.
Apart from being one of the most inspiring socially responsible businesses, Zady is, basically, a collaboration between friends. The company strives to promote the idea of taking pride in the style and integrity of each and every piece of clothing we own, instead of buying large quantities that will inevitably end up in the dumpster. It’s design with a purpose.
Zady has partnered with the nonprofit The Bootstrap Project, so that for every sale, the company will fund smalltime entrepreneurs in developing countries.
One of our favorite socially responsible businesses, which is called the Half United company, sells apparel and accessories, and gives half of all profits to fight world hunger, feeding people in need in the USA, Fiji, Cambodia and Madagascar. The company uses repurposed bullet casings in their designs, in order to symbolize the fight against world hunger. They source their materials from “Shooter’s Choice”, a target shooting range in Willmington, N.C, which are then transported to a warehouse in downtown Wilmignton where they are hand drilled, buffed and assembled into Fighting Hunger necklaces!
Half United’s latest T-shirt features a stamp that reads “Giving back is the new black”, a sentiment that seems to be in accordance with the company’s business model of social responsibility.