What inspired you to start Equal Hands?
I was inspired to start Equal Hands after working in the fashion
industry for over 20 years and discovering how harmful it is to both people and the planet. I realized that we can prevent negative outcomes if we are more conscious as consumers and I wanted to reflect that in a brand. Through travel and visiting artisans in different countries, I was able to witness their talent and traditional techniques firsthand and felt that they deserved more recognition. I discovered an important role I could play in promoting these cultures and sharing their stories with the world.
What is your favorite part about working with artisans from around the world?
My favorite aspect is knowing that each product is made with so much care and love. I would describe it as each piece having the maker’s soul and essence encapsulated in it. The impact of each individual sale for an artisan can have a lasting effect. It means the difference between sending a child to school or putting dinner on the table for a family.
What do you see as some of the main problems regarding sustainable fashion facing the industry now? What do you think is the best way forward?
I would say the main issue is the lack of awareness of what takes place behind the scenes; behind the glamorous stories of the products on the shelves. It’s a big challenge to inform the consumer about ethical manufacturing and production. It’s not particularly glamorous and a daunting task but it can be achieved with cooperation and dedication. Brand transparency is necessary to allow the customer to be properly informed to make better choices.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have more ethical shopping habits?
In the past five years, sustainability has become more and more spoken about across different sectors and industries. With more brands committing to sustainability, it is easier to discover their codes of conduct and supply chains practices. I would encourage consumers to research about brands before purchasing, really understanding what the company values and, to the best of their abilities, finding out if the company is actually living up to those values.
What actions are you personally taking to live more sustainably?
This holiday season, our family has decided to adopt gifting upcycled items in an effort to be more sustainable, and we encouraged our friends and family to do the same. Small steps like these make an impact and contribute to a more sustainable future. Understanding that the process takes time is important to keep it moving in the right direction.
Links to Monica's favorite Holiday Picks