This year, Mushmina is proudly focusing on female empowerment through responsible fashion. We are also concentrating, as always, on promoting and mentoring women in business , particularly in beautiful Morocco.
In a small, modest house nestled in Khouribga, Central Morocco, the comforting whirl of a sewing machine and the buzz of a family’s chatter fills the space.
Mushmina’s Khadija and her loyal team of enthusiastic, skilled seamstresses are boldly fronting a new trend in Morocco that is leading the inspirational way towards sustainability in the textile industry: slow fashion. This growing trend in Morocco is part of the successful ‘cottage industry’, where women are able to thrive working….from inside their homes.
The slow fashion phenomenon is globally inspired, partly out of the dirty truth behind the textile industry; where pollution is unparalleled and the world fabrics industry is wrought with regulation issues. In most developing countries, the booming textile industry has little accountability and even less transparency, polluting water sources and putting local populations at risk.
Secondly, there is the human and environmental side to this struggle; that we, as citizens of this planet, need to be producing textiles and in turn, clothes, that are created with more compassion and longer life cycles. Textile workers in developing countries are some of the most disadvantaged work force in the world; where cramped conditions are foul and the pay is meager, to say the least.
Here’s an astonishing fact-Do you know that the world consumes 80 billion pieces of clothing each year? And we use 3.5 trillion liters of water per year for its production? Most of this clothing, (85% for Americans), sadly ends up in landfills. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the devastating pollution to water sources, particularly in developing countries.
So what can we do? It’s about taking more responsibility and educating ourselves. Mushmina’s mission in 2019 is to actively engage in using more natural dyes for our clothing, continuing to employ local artisans where the pay goes directly back to them, to seek more mindful approaches to creating and producing our Moroccan clothing line, jewelry, handbags and accessories. This is our goal.
As consumers, we can all learn more about where our clothes come from. And the human beings behind these textiles. I always tell my daughters, ‘Everyone has a story’. Khadija, our head clothes seamstress, has a spirited tale, just like everyone. She is a mother of four thriving children, the oldest who recently successfully graduated from business school. Khadija is a wise teacher; a leader in empowering other women with training and employment opportunities. Like any mother, she loves her family and she wants the best for them. For herself, she also wants more. She is always looking to learn and improve her skills and we aim to support her vision.
When asked about sharing her craft with her daughters, Khadija is inspired to explain, ‘I tell my daughters that you can “live with your craft.” Even if they study in other fields, I tell them that they should still learn to make their own clothes. It feels good to know that you can create something. Making your own clothes is not like buying them. You feel capable. I would encourage them, though, to continue in whatever studies they choose. It is important to love what you do in order to succeed and move forward.’
Like most other female Moroccan artisans, Khadija works from home, where she is able to balance home and work and she is able to find the freedom that she needs. She goes on to describe why this is so essential. ‘There is a local expression in Moroccan Arabic about artisan craft. ‘Taishk, ma trinksh.’-You may not get rich with it, but you can live with it. This is how I feel about my work. We may not be rich, but we live with the money I make from my successful sewing and teaching. I contribute to my household, and can provide for my children with my income. I am proud of this.’
For us at Mushmina, this is just the start of a much longer and much-needed conversation. We are all at the tip of starting to make changes; to be better global citizens and to care more for our life-source, our planet. 2019 is a year, for us, to be more introspective and grateful, to seek additional means of producing our quality products that in turn, match our spirit. And to remember strong women like Khadija, who are proudly with us at the realm of it all.
By Tara Fraiture, Mushmina Director of Social Engagement.
Read on for some stories on global slow fashion that are inspiring us-