Is it eco, sustainable or ethical fashion?
So what's the deal? When starting to make choices about making a positive impact with your fashion and accessories, there is a lot to learn. One of the questions I have been asked repeatedly over the past decade is what is the difference between eco, sustainable and ethical fashion, and how in the world can Deux Mains be all three!? This is a big question, and actually one of my favorites. I believe that defining the terms helps each person make the right choice for themself and how they want to participate in the economy and the world. Here is how we became a brand that is eco, ethical and sustainable and what each of those terms mean to us.
When we first incorporated our social impact brand, Deux Mains, we made choices. We decided every decision, big or small, would be made with intention. Our greatest intention is to put dignity at the forefront of fashion and ensure everyone on our supply chain is empowered. Without question, dignified living wage employment is our most important value, but there are equally important values to consider. As we would handcraft our one of a kind sandals and handbags, we want to ensure our business model would be one that also valued family and community, so paid maternity and paternity leave, access to healthcare, and company ownership also became pillars of our ecosystem. We also decided to intentionally focus on local craftsmanship and local leadership. We decided to work on systems that support a trained and prepared workforce... and we have been able to do that with our nonprofit partner, REBUILD globally. These choices about how we treat our team members is what makes us an ethical brand. When you think about ethical fashion, think about how the people who made your products are treated. You can ask yourself if this business you are supporting makes the community a better place. It is less about the product and more about the morales of the company.
Deux Mains is committed to providing meaningful jobs for Haitian craftsmen and women. It is our priority. But you can not provide good jobs if you do not build trusting relationships with clients who want to change the world with their purchases if their products are not well made. This leads us to what we define as a sustainable brand. Was your product made to last? What is made from raw materials that did not cause harm to the environment? How was it packaged? A few years ago, we experienced how harmful plastic is to the environment very personally as the drainage systems in Haiti were so polluted with plastic, our streets flooded. As our car floated down the road, we made a decision to remove plastic from our factory. When you purchase Deux Mains, your products will be shipped in a handmade, locally sourced cloth bag. This is part of the lifecycle of your purchase that makes it sustainable. We also control our manufacturing line by using a system of slow production. This means we do not mass produce products cheaply so that they have very little value when they are consumed. It is the exact opposite. Each piece is given a special and intentional value so that it will be respected.
Finally, an environmental enthusiasts favorite part of the Deux Mains brand is our recycled tire soled sandals and inner tube accessories. Each sole proudly carries the marks of rolling through the chaotic streets of Port Au Prince and helps reduce carbon admittance by 10KG per pair, what could be more cool than that? Well, to be totally honest, it's a toss up between our raw materials and our factory. We produce in our factory that is 100% powered from the sun. Solar power energy was a non negotiable for us for many reasons. Being a Haitian brand that manufactures on a Caribbean Island, it only makes sense that we harness the power of the sun and say NO to diesel energy in all our production. This is our promise to you because we know you care about how your footwear is made and these are a few of the reasons we are an eco-friendly brand.
You want to purchase fashion products that are ethical and sustainable and eco-friendly because it's your right to fight for the kind of world you want to live in. We heard you. And each purchase from Deux Mains helps you cast a vote for equality and justice.
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Dear Deux Mains Community,
With all that is going on in the world, I am writing this letter to you as a note of hope in a seemingly frightful time.