Five minutes with... People Tree
Posted on August 15 2013
Todays five minutes are spent with Safia Minney, the founder and CEO of Fair Trade fashion label, People Tree.
How Did People Tree evolve?
I started People Tree because I felt passionately that I wanted to spend my money in a positive way – a way that empowers poor people and protects the environment. I started as a green consumer and ended up a social entrepreneur!
What does a typical working day involve for you?
It’s long! I head up design, Fair Trade and communications. I spend two months a year in the field visiting producers around the world – bumpy roads, village houses and wonderful organic cotton fields, crafts and amazing people. I meet our key customers and agents in Germany and Holland and speak here and there.
What were the influences for the SS13 collection?
I love nature! We all get really excited about natural print and textiles. The collaboration with designers like Peter Jensen and Orla Kiely have been very successful alongside the main collection.
Do you have a favourite piece?
I love the halter neck cat print mini dress by Peter Jensen. I’m wearing it as I write this!
What has been your most memorable travel experience with People Tree?
When I visited a village where women were making hand made accessories. I was heavily pregnant on a boat when a river dolphin jumped over my boat – we arrive and the group greeted me so warmly and all the samples I had designed back at the PT office were beautiful! Some days are not so perfect!
You produced a fashion show for Global Fair Trade in Rio. What was happening out there?
Women from the favela in Rio came to model and support Fair Trade we showed 20 Fair Trade fashion brands of which People Tree is the biggest. Check our YouTube page to view it.
Daisy Jones at British Vogue has said “ethical fashion works when it offers style first…that way people will be prepared to pay the higher price.” Do you agree? How can we persuade customers to buy less but better?
I agree. People Tree started in Japan where good design and quality standards are very high. People Tree is bought for good design, high quality, value for money, then it’s Fair Trade and environmental integrity. Some buy People Tree because they love crafts! But after the awful tragedy in Bangladesh, a lot of people came to People Tree because they can’t stomach the awful thought of garments made in dangerous and exploitative conditions.
People Tree collection now online and in store.