Fast fashion companies have canceled or refused to pay for $16.2 billion of orders during the pandemic, costing textile workers $1.6 billion in wages, a report found. A shameful practice. Dutch/Bolivian brand DONKEY decided to things the other way around.
The brand, star of the latest Supermarket Fancy style edit, makes high quality versions of the Bolivian market bags sold at high-end fashion stores world wide. During the pandemic Wara, half Dutch - half Bolivian, founder of the ethical and slow fashion brand, experienced a similar situation, luckily on a much smaller scale. As the pandemic had forced stores to close, an important wholesale client cancelled their order, even though the bags were already made. For the brand there was only one option; accept the order anyway, and find a creative solution for the 450, now orphaned, bags.
“I hadn’t even thought about cancelling the already produced order to our Bolivian supplier. The health system of Bolivia is a lot less reliable than ours, plus super strict lock down rules and a less advanced digitalized society resulted in many Bolivians not being able to earn their day-to-day living.” says founder Wara Juana Gutierrez-Mamani
The brand launched an online campaign to raise awareness for the millions of garment workers world-wide who have been underpaid or even unpaid during the pandemic, while simultaneously raise some extra money for the brands’ own DONKEY-makers in Bolivia
The 450 ‘orphaned bags’ used for this campaign, have already been paid for, but with each sale of the bags, an extra 50% of its retail price will be given as a bonus to our workers located in Bolivia. Doesn't this make the perfect sustainable Christmas Gift. Get yours here.
"We hope consumers will become aware about the difference between brands who produce in vulnerable countries to support, and those who produce there to exploit.”
Wara (in white fringed blouse) and the team of Bolivian artisans.