A Good Week – Good as a Choice

 In Ethical Fashion, Journal, Social Change, Think Act Vote

UPDATE 10/08/2011 – The video for this talk is now available to watch

Yesterday saw the launch of an exciting new initiative from A Very Good CompanyA Good Week. I was delighted to speak at their launch event, along side  Oli Barrett (@OliBarrett), founder of The Co-Sponsorship Agency (CoSpA),who chaired the event, and  Jeff Melnyk – Managing Director, Futerra Sustainability Communications (Twitter: @Futerra), Stuart Poore – Sustainability Consultant, and former Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Virgin Media (Twitter: @StuartPoore), Kevin Sutcliffe – Deputy Head of News and Currents Affairs at Channel 4 and Juliet Davenport – Founder and CEO of Good Energy (Twitter: @Good_Energy). It was an incredibly interesting and inspiring morning, and I believe that all the talks will be available on video soon at A Good Week’s website. I was asked to speak about A Good Day for the World, and here is my talk.

Good as a Choice

I was wondering if such a thing as a good day for the world existed, when into my head popped the voices of Shooting Star’s Vic & Bob saying ‘Pleasure, but where’s the pain?’ In the nineties a well known yogurt company coined this phrase for their TV advertising campaign. It made me think that on what is a good day for some, tragedy might be happening elsewhere.

Pleasure - But Where is the Pain?

In a world with an estimated population of just under 7 billion, where every hour there are 250 births and 105 deaths, and one where we are loosing around 30,000 unique species every year to extinction, how do we decide what a good day is?


Is a good day one where over half the population is happy? Is a good day one where the richest countries in the world get richer? Is a good day one where my global political viewpoint comes to the fore? I wonder if there has even been a second where everyone on the globe has felt content at the same time?

Some images from around the world - April 29th 2011

Images from around the World March 11th 2001

Images from around the World - June 17th 2011

What I do know is that good comes in many forms, and that we can choose good in every situation.  Challenging situations often bring out the good in people, whether it be caring for a stranger that has been hit by a car, the way that communities can work together when faced by natural disasters or the way that activists are inspired to take a stand to tackle things they see in the world as unacceptable.

The ethical fashion movement is an example of how individuals have come together to try and change something for the good of it. People that have chosen not to let it be or turn a blind eye, but to create change. The fashion industry has layers of problems in how it is set up, from harmful chemicals poisoning land and people from cotton farming, to the over reliance of unsustainable fabrics, to sweatshops, to the fast fashion model, to the amount of textile waste we throw out every year.

Ethical Fashion can loosely be described as fashion that maximizes the positive benefits to people whilst minimizing the negative effects on the environment. Designers, activists, and NGOs have all come together to bring to light some of the issues in the global fashion industry, and create political, entrepreneurial and design solutions to some of the problems.

There are many examples of these actions but here are a few:

Katharine Hamnett - Making Political Statements and in many ways is the founder of Ethical Fashion, the first to look into the supply chain of cotton

The Uniform Project showed that is was possible to look chic and wear the same dress every day for a year

Christopher Raeburn - Award winning designer working with upcycled military parachutes

War On Want - Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops Campaign

Ethical Fashion Forum now the industry body for change in fashion bringing together over 5000 industry professionals from all over the world

Source 4 Style making sourcing sustainable fabrics easy for designers

Junky Styling - one of the first Upcyclers redefining design

People Tree - One of the pioneers of the movement working with artisan and community groups

Lucy Siegle - Author & Journalist reporting on the truth of the Fashion Industry and working with Livia Firth on the Green Carpet Challenge

Think Act Vote Refashioned bringing together Ethical Fashion & Citizenship

And this individual and collective action is what a good day to me is all about. It’s a day when you and I choose good. We live in a world where we sometimes expect the decisions about our future to be made for us. We are constantly fed so much information by the media and our politicians that we forget that we can create our future. Yet we express the future that we choose through how we spend our money, time and energy. Every day we make choices that shape our world.

If it was up to you to create the world that you want to live in, what would it be? I think it’s important to sometimes stop and dream, imagine the possible, and take a moment to inspire others and ourselves. Only from understanding what it is we want, and visualizing what we think is good in the world, can we begin to create it. That’s why I started Think Act Vote to ask people across the world to answer that very question – What’s the future you choose? It’s a new kind of think tank where everyone’s opinion counts. Later this year, we are launching a new site, where as well as sharing the future that you choose, you will be able to share ways to think, act and vote to create it. But today I ask all of you to share the future you choose for the world, which you can do here online.

You can find out more about Think Act Vote by visiting www.thinkactvote.org and more about how to get involved with A Good Week at www.agoodweek.com.

We are holding an event for A Good Week called Good Fashion Perspectives on Thursday June 23rd with a great line up of speakers and mindful maps capturing the evening. There are a few tickets remaining, and you can find out more and get yours here – http://www.agoodweek.com/what-s-on/events/good-fashion-perspectives/ 

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