Fashion company Mono Handmade is reducing poverty

QUEENS, New York — Mono Handmade is a fashion company created to address the impacts of fast fashion across recycle and reuse fabrics. The company also puts poverty reduction at the forefront of its efforts. In an interview with The Borgen Project, Mono Handmade Founder Mima Osawa said, “Growing up in rural Aotearoa, New Zealand, I was rooted in a deep respect for my natural environment from my younger age. This conscious company is deeply rooted to make a positive impact not only by creating sustainable fashion, but also by helping to eliminate preventable blindness in poor people facing major eye diseases. Here is some information on how Mono Handmade reduces poverty and textile waste.

How the changes started

As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Osawa wanted to make a difference in the fashion industry, and after visiting her grandmother’s hometown, she knew she had to take matters into her own hands if she wanted to see a visible impact. She visited a local textile warehouse where she had an eye-opening moment when she discovered “a growing pile of fabric scraps”. Fabric waste is an environmental issue worldwide, with global citizens throwing 17 million tons of textile waste into landfills in 2018. It can take up to 200 years for textiles to decompose in landfills.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Often, businesses and individuals can recycle these piles of fabric scraps into items that one can reuse, reuse, or resell. Osawa says, “On closer inspection, I realized all of those fabrics were beautiful and of high quality, just sitting there collecting dust” — all dead material from other major producers in the landfill of the fashion industry, which later end up in landfills.

Mono Handmade’s Mission

As Osawa became more intrigued and educated about “common unethical practices in the fast fashion industry”, she started Mono Handmade. Mono Handmade has three main missions:

  1. “Recycle unused fabrics for all our garments to avoid further landfill waste.”
  2. “Sourcing sustainable fabrics from renewable resources and with the lowest environmental impact.”
  3. “Choosing materials based on their quality to undertake a slow fashion approach.”

Poverty reduction

Mono Handmade’s mission is also linked to poverty reduction. The company recently launched a collection of hats with Mono Handmade donating 50% of the proceeds to the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ “to help eliminate avoidable blindness in poor people in the Pacific”.

Dr Ana Cama, Pacific Coordinator of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, told Radio New Zealand in 2014 that “80[%] of vision loss in the region is caused by the three preventable conditions: cataracts, refractive errors and diabetic retinopathy. »

Osawa said “millions of people around the world are blind simply because of lack of healthcare for eye-related diseases, especially in developing countries.” The society points out that “four out of five people who are blind don’t need to be,” meaning that medical treatment can correct these eye conditions.

Osawa further stated that these conditions significantly affect disadvantaged and vulnerable communities “because there is a strong link between eye health, poverty and education.” Since many cases of blindness in developing countries are preventable and vision loss exacerbates poverty, it is essential that the international community prioritize efforts to save sight.

Mono Handmade alleviates poverty by supporting the Fred Hollows Foundation

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is one of the most influential foundations for preventable blindness in New Zealand, which is why Mono Handmade has specifically chosen to donate a portion of its profits to the foundation. Osawa said, “At Fred Hollows, [the staff]help strengthen public health systems by working closely with local hospitals and medical centers. This means training enough local ophthalmologists and transferring the efficient medical system to the [developing world].” By using this method, Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is able to “build a sustainable, long-term health solution, rather than having to travel long distances and at high cost to provide private eye care every time. “.

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ has already had a major impact in New Zealand as it has provided over a million eye health consultations and over 81,000 surgeries across its seven eye clinics.

Blindness and poverty

Osawa explained that “blindness increases the likelihood of poverty since eye problems also affect people’s ability to perform daily tasks, which can lead to further financial insecurity and social isolation.” Realizing that blindness causes poverty, Mono Handmade developed a strong desire to help solve this problem.

“And so, we launched our collection of hats and are currently working to sell as many [as we can]to collect donations [for]The Fred Hollows Foundation. It’s a win-win situation, the more hats we make, the more dead fabric we recycle while helping those who [suffer visual impairment]”, Osawa said. Working with the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, Mono Handmade’s main goal is to “support a campaign that helps developing countries”, while Mono Handmade is committed to a sustainable production process.

Overall, Mono Handmade addresses the impacts of fast fashion while prioritizing sustainability and helping people living in poverty. Through its support of the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, Mono Handmade is reducing poverty and showing that corporate commitments can go beyond fashion through efforts to address the world’s most pressing issues affecting the most vulnerable communities. .

– Christina Papas
Photo: Flickr

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