workers make garments for
leading Western fashion retailers (Photo credit: MUNIR UZ ZAMAN / AFP)
by LAUREN CODLING
THE founder of a UK-based fashion app has spoken of their efforts to support some of the most vulnerable communities in Bangladesh during the Covid pandemic.
Mallzee is a fashion shopping app which allows users to browse over two million products from more than 100 fashion brands across the world. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Edinburgh-based tech company has helped to set up Lost Stock – a fashion clothing box, designed to help support garment workers in Bangladesh.
The initiative enables shoppers to buy cancelled clothing stock direct from manufacturers through a personalised fashion box, while supporting a garment worker and their family at the same time.
Each box, priced at £35 each, contains at least three pieces of clothing worth approximately £70.
Cally Russell is the CEO of Mallzee. Speaking to Eastern Eye, he revealed his passion for the project and its origins. “With billions of pounds worth of stock potentially going to landfill and millions of workers facing starvation, we knew we had to find a way to help,” he said. “As CEO of Mallzee, the fashion industry is my industry and I couldn’t stand by and watch the poorest suffer.”
Russell and his team decided to use their consumer insights, industry knowledge and contacts to “create a business model with a positive impact”. Mallzee partnered with Bangladesh-based charity SAJIDA Foundation, to ensure the boxes supported people who needed it most.
According to Muhymin Chowdhury, the head of challenge fund and fundraising for SAJIDA, cancelled orders have affected more than 1,000 factories and the lives of 2.27 million workers and their families.
A recent study found that 47 per cent of these workers now have no income.
“We are very pleased to partner with Lost Stock whose approach helps redress the unfortunate failures of global brands to practise responsible sourcing,” Chowdhury said. “Lost Stock purchases garment products at a fair price from Bangladeshi factories helping support them longer term.”
Mallzee were initially working toward a goal to support 50,000 families by the end of 2020. To date, more than 75,000 boxes have been sold.
Russell admitted he felt overwhelmed by the support and countless positive messages the project had received. “People in the UK have really come together to support each other in the fight against coronavirus and it’s been really heart-warming to see so many fashion influencers get behind this initiative and help those in the industry who are really suffering as a result of the pandemic,” he said.
Elsewhere, UK fashion label Dilli Grey has also lent support to artisans in India who have been impacted by the crisis. The brand has created a ‘commerce with compassion’ fund to support workers, as well as their families and communities. In April, 10 per cent of sales during lockdown were donated directly to artisans in rural villages outside Jaipur, India.
Stitch by Stitch, a production company which makes handmade textiles for interiors from natural fibres in India, also announced they would be donating five per cent of profit from the sale of a special quilt to the Kantai Se Kamai project. The project aims to support hand spinners in Kutch in Gujarat, India.
For more information on Lost Stock boxes, available for both males and females, see: https://loststock.co/