ethical fashion forum: implausible statements

  • ethical fashion facts & sources are quoted; definitions of plausibility are yours or the writers' own. Please get in touch if you think any statements are wrong or need any extra facts or links added, or links to replies.

    Some links to Ethical Fashion Forum are written as live searches, so you get live information when you click.

  1. People Made their own clothes in the UK until recently

  2. Garments...reduce poverty

  3. Focussed on poverty reduction (but no mention of conditional tariffs, schools or hospitals)

  4. Loss of 35 jobs in developing countries

  5. Livestock and poverty (implausible ignorance)

  6. Fellowship 500 - implausible name

  7. The Made in Britain page 

  8. Making it Ethically in China and Arguably more democratic

  9. The Industry body for ethical fashion

  10. Founded by business for business

  11. Don't think you can compare countries ... China v UK

  12. Industry calls for tax breaks for eco-fashion

  13. A network ... inclusive ... grassroots

  14. Set up a business .... I produce ... womens’ wear 

  15. Published a book

  16. More CV ... qualified architect ... award-winning architect ... etc etc etc

  17. Swanking ... implausible that this is from industry

  18. Ethical Fashion Funding and definitions - not so much an implausible statement as a list of PR techniques and public bodies that funded them

  19. More notes on PR need editing


1
People made their own clothing in the UK until recently

Ethical Fashion Forum's director states that people in the UK made their own fashion clothing until the 1950s. before "the arrival of mass manufacture in the 1960s". This must have been short-lived because "In the UK the global production shift has reduced the garment and textiles sector to almost nothing. " I can provide further quotes from the same source if this short one is not enough.

I don't know if she'd state that UK printing, publishing, railways and engineering began in the 1960s. Or that something called the "global production shift" reduced UK publishing and printing, or railways and engineering to "almost nothing" in the 1980s.

2
Global trade leads to development for people doing ordinary jobs in Bangladesh, even without schools & pensions & good government alongside.

"trade in garments and textiles has created a springboard for industrial development all over the world - with Britain and America being amongst the first to benefit followed by the “Asian Tiger” economies of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, and more recently, China and India.

Producing garments or components of garments outside of the UK to sustainable standards can assist development in some of the poorest communities in the world, create sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty for thousands of people."

That was written before the events of Rana Plaza showed that the springboard metaphor thing doesn't mean that wages have gone up. In Bangladesh, wages have fallen as trade increases.

Export subsidies are not mentioned as part of the system that keeps people poor in Bangladesh. These are the payments that divert Bangladeshi taxpayers' money away from public services like health care into manic clothing production. Nor free trade zones where no tax is paid back to the Bangladeshi government by producers, despite subsidy being received. So Bangladeshi taxpayers, like European taxpayers, subsidise T-shirt production rather than wealth creation. This manic subsidy is more possible because UK taxpayers fund a few health services and such in Bangladesh, rather than set a tariff dependent on whether the Bangladeshi government does its job.

Ethical Fashion Forum's web site makes no statement about the benefits of a welfare state, nor democracy, nor a good human rights record in a country like the UK nor the benefits of supporting them by buying UK-made products. You notice the gap -

"It is only by raising standards and wages outside of the UK that the UK garment production sector will again be in a position to compete on equal terms with production in what are currently low wage economies"

...they state in bold text, as though another muslin fabric order will raise wages where 230 years of orders without schools and hospitals and pensions alongside have not. For example the injured of Rana Plaza were treated by volunteer medical staff from a local teaching hospital; there is no Bangladesh NHS.

This is one of the very few times the author mentions UK fashion jobs so here is a quote for her favourite book about world trade: "the 1997 financial crisis .. which was rooted in the banking sector and exchange-rate policy. Yet financial ‘rescue’ came with trade-reform demands" That paragraph criticised the trade reform demands, but it was about Indonesia, where the book recognises how a bad monetary policy can wipe-out most of manufacturing before free trade kills-off what remains. The book doesn't apply the same standards to the UK as it does to Indonesia.

 

3
"focused upon poverty reduction" 
but no mention of any social conditions in tariffs

Check for yourself

search ethicalfashionforum.com for "tariff" or "conditional tariff"
search ethicalfashionforum.com for "social clause"

"NOT FOR PROFIT A membership organisation the EFF is focused upon poverty reduction, education & the environment .... Activities of the Ethical Fashion Forum include running training seminars ... and research and resource provision ...".

Ethical Fashion Forum has a page about tariffs. There is no mention on the page of a social clause in tariffs: linking them to some condition to make conditions better. That's the most controversial point because it's the only system that's ever going to work. The Director at Ethical Fashion Forum has a masters degree in International Development Practice from Brooks Uni, so she knows this stuff.
 
Here's a quote from the World Bank:

"Whether trade policy could or should be linked – through incentives or sanctions – to labour standards has been the most controversial element of the debate. Such links are already made in some bilateral and regional trade agreements – for example by both the EU and the USA. The controversy has been mainly over the possibility of bringing them into the rules of multilateral trade agreements. A possible ‘social clause’ in the World Trade Organisation was discussed at its Ministerial Conference in Singapore in 1996, but was strongly opposed by many developing countries. The final declaration [...] 'We reject the use of labour standards for protectionist purposes and agree that the comparative advantage of countries, particularly low-wage developing countries, must in no way be put in question.' "

What this page says is that a free trade system without any kind of social clause is to be kept & kept secret. Click the link to search Ethicalfashionforum.com for "tariff" and you'll see the gap. The only thing that could help poor people in poor countries is hushed-up. Few of us study this stuff except academics and aid trade employees who are reported as expert. The World Bank quote above only cropped-up with a freedom of information request to a government department. They gave some background documents to suggest the UK government's position in reply. Now I know that "social clause" is the jargon - no thanks to the people who state that they work to improve social standards.

 

4
"protecting a single job in industrialised countries to be the loss of 35 jobs in developing countries"

We've just seen an implausible ignorance; a pretence that a tariff around a welfare state is just job protection, rather than welfare state protection. This is a pretended misunderstanding, often repeated about the multi fibre agreement. Ethical Fashion Forum g o further, stating that a development economist has measured a cost to protection.

“As production in developed countries is more capital intensive, some estimates assess the effect of protecting a single job in industrialised countries to be the loss of 35 jobs in developing countries” Appelbaum, R.P. (2005) ‘TNCs and the removal of textiles and clothing quotas’. UNCTAD 2005

Dig deeper and find that the source is not from the economist Mr Applebaum, but the Vietnamese minister for trade. Who misses the point about a need for tariffs around welfare states in order to reduce poverty, and the need to set-up similar systems in Vietnam. The quote is repeated in the Oxfam publication Rigged Rules and Double Standards authored by Kevin Watkins and Penny Fowler. Oxfam are allowed to provide welfare provision in Vietnam by people like the Vietnamese trade minister. Oxfam also provide a lot of students to the CENDEP development department of Brookes Uni, such as Tamsin Lejeune writing her Can Fashion be Fair? dissertation. She repeats the quote in her dissertation and then again on her web site paid for by UK taxpayers in 2008 out of money meant for Business Link and job creation in an area of 30% unemployment.

I don't know how the minister for trade in Vietnam came to the ratio of 30:1, but the fact that his name isn't quoted, no explanation is made, and an attempt is made to deceive the reader suggests that it's not worth finding-out.


5
"focusing upon social and environmental sustainability" - implausible ignorance - livestock

.No mention of the "Livestock's Long ShadowUN report on livestock's land waste, soil erosion, CO2 emissions and pollution of water.

Check for yourself:

search ethicalfashionforum.com for "livestock"

Ethical Fashion Forum has never spelt-out the reasons why animal-rearing
-wastes land,
-produces more CO2 than the aviation industry,
-causes cruelty with effects on the people alongside
people who get used to slitting the throats of cattle get closer to slitting the throats of other people in a civil war. At peace, people who commit crimes against humans often admit to previous crimes against animals. People who respect animals as in India have a pragmatic culture that has out-lasted others.

The book much quoted by Tamsin Lejeune called "Rigged Rules and Double Standards" says "Consumer boycotts can act as effective unofficial non-tariff barriers, with devastating effects on developing-country trade. For example, the US pressure group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaigns against the use of leather produced from Indian cowhides, on grounds of animal cruelty. The resulting ban on the use of Indian leather in products imported by major European and US companies, including Gap, Marks and Spencer, and Clarks, has resulted in a seven per cent reduction in Indian leather exports, with consequent negative effects on the livelihoods of the 2.5 million people employed in the sector". The UN report "Livestock's Long Shadowshows how the "negative effects" are simply not true; they are positive effects.

As for the cruelty of the animal industry, a search in August 2014 revealed three uses of the word on their web site, two about silkworms and one that suggests a form of paper as better than microfibre.

Check for yourself:

search ethicalfashionforum.com for "cruelty"

Marie Antoinette would like these pages. All show more detail about avoiding plastic for some vague reason than avoiding cruelty. As ever, criticising Ethical Fashion Forum is criticising a deliberate void and has to become an exercise in criticising the people who write this stuff or take it seriously.

 

6
"The industry body for ethical fashion, representing over 10,000 members"


Check for yourself

search ethicalfashionforum.com for "votes" or "ballot" or "vote" or "general meeting"
search ethicalfashionforum.com for "election" or "elections"
search ethicalfashionforum.com for "members"
check links further down this page for more on "articles of association"

I can't see any company documents that show a structure to represent members beyond the company's article 10: proceedings at general meetings"no business shall be transacted unless ... one tenth of the total membership [is present].", and they manage six names for special resolutions, so that's a maximum of sixty members

Obviously there has never been one single fashion industry, or something called an "ethical fashion" industry, so it would be an extraordinary thing to represent it. Ethical Fashion Forum has not structured itself to represent all the different and conflicting fashion industries - from womens' leather working co-ops in Ghana, to employment schemes like Remploy, to employment schemes like Kinky Knickers, to cruelty-free clothing that also saves land and pollution (that's vegan), to the various things that corporate PR departments write about and aren't worth reading, like whether a product is made with natural dye or whether you should put a shoe in a compost bin. There are different or conflicting interest groups on their web forum, but the director has "absolute freedom" to speak, write, and control:

"What are the main duties of your role?"
"Managing a core team of 12 and a wider team of 35, briefing and line management on a wide range of projects run by EFF"...
"What are the best aspects about your current role?"
"I have absolute freedom to implement the measures that need to be taken to achieve the goals of EFF" - Tamsin Lejeune, interviewed 24.11.01
"To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the Ethical Fashion Forum Limited and its board of directors for our work for this report" - Green Accountants Ltd 2016.12.31


7
"Fellowship 500: The Ethical Fashion Fellowship will unite 500 pioneering innovators in fashion and sustainability to take the movement to the next level. Fellows gain recognition."

Plain language usually defines fellowship as a paid job you are selected to do, and maybe you are allowed time-off the day job to do because it's an honour. That's what you'd find in a dictionary. Ethical Fashion Forum  define words in their own ways. They continue "There is a Fellowship subscription fee, however we offer selected applicants major discounts off standard fees for access to the SOURCE and other benefits." So you subscribe to get publicity and the freebie is a cheap seat at an ethical fashion event like an "ethical fashion source summit" with people on a podium, a chance of an "ethical fashion innovation award" or maybe a mention in an interview or an "Ethical Fashion Source Network" email to other members.

8
"Made in Britain ... however ... only by... important to note... etc"

Ethical Fashion Forum still caution against buying British-made products for ethical reasons. They were based in the UK, but their argument applies to any welfare state.

The full text of their page "The Issues | Made in Britain" and a response to each paragraph is here.
"It is only by raising standards and wages outside of the UK that the UK garment production sector will again be in a position to compete on equal terms with production in what are currently low wage economies." 
This text is in bold, concluding a column of mis-leading statements and half-truths about UK manufacturing, much in the style of the managing director's thesis from 2004: "MADE IN BRITAIN labelling is more and more being associated with high sustainability standards by fashion designers and brands based in the UK. [a deliberate mis-understanding similar to this one] ... [then in bold] However it is important to note that MADE IN BRITAIN labelling alone does not equate to ethical practices...." and so the half-truths go-on. The "Made in Britain" column is headed with a logo from a UK shoe factory, since closed, and alongside other columns about "The Issues" such as one that mis-understands the need for a tariff around the higher costs of a welfare state and mis-leads about the reasons that Fair trade certification is only available in third world countries.

Another link on the site is to a "Well Dressed" report of 2006, commissioned from some Cambridge academics by M&S and small government grant. It dismisses the idea of re-shoring UK manufacturing of the kind that has since happened, "Economists traditionally view the significance of this effect differently in countries with full employment (UK and USA) and those with under-employment (China, India). The logic of the distinction is that in the UK, to a fair approximation, everyone who wants a job has one – so adding jobs in clothing production, as happens dramatically in the first scenario, is only possible by taking people away from other employment. It is likely that this will be harmful to the UK economy – as the free-market will already have led to the most profitable employment"


"Making it ethically in China"

Can you prove guilt by association? No. By quoting an event where Ethical Fashion Forum sat at a podium and put points in favour? Probably. There is no transcript.

Can you have a look? Yes.

Making it ethically in China

An event bearing the London Development Agency logo was staged in London and Manchester by a firm called Creative Connexions (formerly Creative Capital World City) which was set-up by co-operating public sector bodies in London to introduce UK designers and manufacturers to Chinese manufacturers. They used nearly all of a higher education funding grant to do this, in hope of making the organisation self-financing from consultancy fees in a few years' time. The project was granted an office in London College of Fashion's Holborn building, sharing with photography, languages, and the students' union.

Ethical Fashion Forum were quoted on the speaker list and duly turned-up on the podiums at both events, one of them only half a mile from a factory that closed that same weekend. After questions from more than one party at the Greater London Assembly, this organisation was wound-down and never achieved independence. It's director, an ex-Monsanto employee from the USA, was offered a job trying to find work for all the students who's prospects had been reduced by the firm she had run. She took it for a while.

"Arguably more democratic"

A founding member of Ethical Fashion Forum left after a year or so. It used the same ad agency as Defra, a innew ministry at the time, as well as getting business help from part of South Bank University in London. They had the PR idea of giving a pair of shoes to David Cameron MP when he was Prime Minister, and he wore them while planting a 
tree to promote CO2 reductions.

The member was called Terra Plana and it sold Chinese shoes. Someone presented this information on its web site with a list of untrue but technical-sounding facts about how shoes could not be made in the UK, and then a personal anecdote as though from a Chinese member of staff to say that China is "arguably more democratic" than the UK. Soon after, tbey gave-up the Terra Plana brand and traded as Vivo Barefoot.  

 

10
"GRASS ROOTS Founded by fashion designers and businesses ... the Ethical Fashion Forum has been designed & developed by the industry, for the industry."

Check the office diary for yourself


2003.12.24 Tamsin Lejeune registers a domain at the Rich Mix address in London. The domain is for a dress import business that didn't import dresses but did "secure funding". At this point, money was still needed to convert the building so she had some kind of inside knowledge or hope that it would open and she'd afford £1,000 a month in rent.

2004.03.25 Rich Mix project planning permission approved by the council.

2004.03.27 Tamsin Lejeune registered the Ethicalfashionforum.com domain at the Rich Mix address 23 months before the building opened, so she was confident of getting an office in this taxpayer-funded arts centre before she could pay the £1000 a month rent. In the event, this was the organisation that paid rent.

2004.04.00 Rich Mix tell the world that "building work has started" between March 29 & May 18


2004.06.16 Tamsin Lejeune held the first known meeting of traders to set-up Ethical Fashion Forum, deciding what this industry organisation will be called and what it will do. She's minuted as coming from Juste, the grant-claiming exercise listed above. Traders talk about accountability, but it comes to nothing as we've just seen. Traders are uneasy with the name and suggest "Seed" instead, but it turns-out to be "Ethical Fashion Forum" anyway, and the secretary's noted subheadings for "ethical" turn-out in line with Tamsin Lejeune's interest in what the aid trade call "north and south", which is useful if this new organisation will help claim a grant.

The first known Ethical Fashion Forum meeting shows a pattern that hasn't changed since - the three dodge tick of starting with a universal aim - "Ethical (social, environmental)" it says in the minutes - then dodging to something inoffensive but much narrower: "Membership is open to companies and organisations which already incorporate ethical principles as a key part of their working structure, generally specialising in some or all of the following; organic textiles, natural dyes, fair trade sourcing and production, and recycling". The third dodge is to select who is there to nod; all the invited guests are from companies that fit this definition. Hence their slogan "business success in 3D".

2004.06.28 Tamsin Lejeune took minutes for a meeting of fashion college tutors brought together by Labour Behind the Label for its public-funded London Colleges Project. Claiming of grants is very much on her mind. "The organisations represented confirmed that they wish to take part in the proposed project to the European Commission. .... Simon reminded us of the need to show active partnerships with European and Southern partners. Chantal will send summary of requirements once funding round is open."

2004.08.10 Tamsin Lejeune has some notes about what the forum is going to be including "joining the public sector" - possibly co-written with Elizabeth Laskar at a meeting with a grant-funding organisation, the Skoll Foundation. By September 2004, rough notes of these meetings have been written and bound into a dissertation called "Can Fashion be Fair?" for a masters degree at there.

2005.01.08 London Development Agency's London Fashion Forum shop at Kingly Court closes "with immediate effect", according to David Jones, chair of London Fashion Forum and subsidised business consultant to Juste. London Fashion Forum was investigated for London Assembly members and again by the new administration at the Greater London Authority. The organisation claimed about £500,000 in grants for staff and web design.

"Ethical Fashion" history of the search term co-incides with UK government-backed promotion of imports in 2005, even though they come from countries without a welfare state and imports help cause unemployment in the UK2005.09.01 Co-ordinated exhibitions at several public sector organisations, interviews, and a stand at London Fashion Week. Searches for the term "ethical fashion" begin in November on Google Trends. They start in the UK, alongside searches for "ethical fashion show" and "ethical fashion forum".


2006.04.01 Design4life ghana project -funding acknowledgement to the Department for Education & EU. "I don't know who was funding it but it was very well resourced", said a rep from London College of Fashion who took part.

2006.05.01 Rich Mix Cultural Foundation opens the first third of its building. About this time, a mailing list called "give a toss" asked for subscribers to get in touch if they'd like to join a new forum and why. Those who suggested promoting UK goods and training were rejected. The mailing list was run by Terra Plana and Futerra, the ad-agency and consultant to government.

2006.08.15 Ethical Fashion Consultancy limited company registered; Ethical Fashion Forum 10 days later with these occupations listed on the Companies House document:
Consultant, Director of an FT company, designer, student, economist, consultant.
Directors include the person who runs ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, responsible to third world governments.

Page 20 of the .pdf lists 20 original subscribers who wished to be formed into a company and presumably paid at least a pound towards the £1500 shareholders' funds. Most write names of fashion interests after their names, but a check of the ones who became directors of either company suggests teaching and consultancy.

Interests include a part-time shop run by a teacher at St Martins College who Lejeune had met, the fictional Juste business, and Pants to Poverty who had shared a desk in The Hub, Torrens Street, and now an office in the Rich Mix building. There is someone who the forum's founder met in the lobby of a grant-giving agency, who is listed on government-funded teaching materials as representing "sari dress project".

2008.00.00 Tamsin Lejeune interview stating how Ethical Fashion Forum started - full text below. Succeeds in claiming a three year development awareness grant from Department for International Development on the strength of their previous grant to her via Labour Behind the Label.

2009.01.20 An online forum with six members is published, alongside some government-subsidised lectures & training events held at Rich Mix in London which has now opened. There has just been a banking crisis in the rest of the UK economy, but Tamsin Lejeune is confident enough to caution readers against buying british products on ethical grounds, despite the welfare state that exists in the UK. A very similar web forum exists called FashionEnter, and Ethical Fashion Forum attracts the same kind of sign-ups. Half a million pounds of public money has been spent on a web project called London Fashion Forum, so the expertise is to hand. Within a year, Ethical Fashion Forum claims nearly 2500 members in over 70 countries, all approved by Tamsin Lejeune.

2009.11.11 Articles of Association re-drafted
2011.03.16 Articles of Association re-drafted
Special resolution by six members. The company secretary lists her occupation as "individual", leaving five members from
Juste - fictional
Worn Again - real - tests recycling ideas
Terra Plana - real - a firm that imports Chinese trainers and says that China is "arguably more democratic" than the UK
Junky Styling - real - recycled clothing
Ciel - real, alongside a teaching job at St Martins
TRAID - real - textile recycling in order to fund development in poor countries
Trading for development - imports fairtrade alongside another day job

Both documents are minimal, like the accountants' statement, with no mention of any wider membership organisation. As in the dissertation Tamsin Lejeune finished in September 2004, there is no mention of a human rights against governments, nor economic benefits in a welfare state, nor conditional tariffs with a social clause to maintain one, nor cruelty and animal rights, nor the land waste and pollution caused by the animal industry that's listed in a UN Livestock's Long Shadow report.


11
"I don't think you can compare countries." China v UK

This is a quote from Claire Lissaman, Ethical Fashion Forum director and Nike consultant who did desk audits of ethical claims by Nike's Chinese suppliers. She was interviewed by Andrew Vaughn, a New Internationalist journalist at the time and now working for The Guardian.


See for yourself. Veganline.com scores supplier countries very briefly and simply; it doesn't cost anything.
UK Portugal Spain Albania Italy Poland  France China PR 

If UK production is nothing to seek-out on ethical grounds, then you might expect Chinese production to be something to boycott after Tiananmen Square, closure of state hospitals in Chinese states, and a near-bottom ranking on the democracy index. You might expect an ethical fashion lobbyist to guess where the problems are, and know that they are not always inside the factory door but in government. You might expect an expert based in the UK to know that there are free hospitals available to workers in the UK, alongside pensions and schools. Hospitals are the buildings with a red cross on the door, where ambulances go.

No.

"I don't think you can compare countries. You are just as likely to have a sweatshop down the road here in London as you are in China, India or Bangladesh. One of the best factories I've come across in the world was in China; one of the worst factories I've come across in the world was in China", says a consultant who has been on Ethical Fashion Forum's board of directors and spoken as an expert for them at public meetings. She also says that it wouldn't be "appropriate" to work in China herself. She did her factory audits from a UK desk.

Why Nike is good at public relations

If the journalist had approached this interviewee as a Nike consultant, he might have been ready with more critical questions ready to ask and more concerns to write. That didn't happen. The journalist approached this interviewee as an Ethical Fashion Forum founder member and neutral expert, who happened to have a public relations expert contacting journalists for her to offer interviews. The article seemed to puzzle the editor a bit. It was headed "Why Nike is good..."

New Internationalist magazine, which published the "Why Nike is good..." story was not the only publisher taken-in. The Department for Business sponsored Make Your Mark with EFF as advisers. The BBC hired Ethical Fashion Forum for training sessions to write educational information called "Ethical Fashion thematic unit", rather than make a critical program. Looking at the detail, it's not as bad as expected and vegan teachers or UK industrialists might write some lesson plans for it. The BBC Ethical Fashion site suggests schools invite "external agencies and charities that promote fair trade and ethical fashion" to answer pupils' questions. EFF helped with the BBC's "Ethical Threads" ideas and content 2008, the Slink modelling competition for teenage girls, and a fashion show called Blast which was supported by London Fashion Week and the Foreign Office's Fashion show in Paris. The Guardian newspaper group chooses an Ethical Fashion Forum loyalist to help judge the "Observer Ethical Fashion Awards".

Other agencies fund as well as Nike

This is a clear example of someone who works for Nike giving an interview. There have been other funders who keep quieter. One trade association in Bangladesh is acknowledged. The ITCB in Switzerland existed to "Inform public opinion and collaborate with organisations and associations of consumers, importers and retailers engaged in the fight against protectionism in the sector". If there is any register of who they funded and what similar organisations now exist, that would be good to know. There are clear reasons why groups like Nike and the ITCB should "collaborate with organisations ... of consumers" rather than pay for an advert to say "you can't compare countries". Firstly, the advert is expensive for the number of people who believe it. Secondly, there's contract law and all sorts of advertising regulations in different countries. It looks tricky to make this statement according to line six of the green-wash guide to advertising law below, and possibly the first few lines as well. The word "ethical" might cause trouble too. Far better to fund a pressure group for fibs and distractions.

12
Industry Calls for Tax Breaks for Eco Fashion Businesses

British Fashion Council is an off-shoot of the Greater London Authority with some help from fashion designers themselves and a lot from the Department for Busuness, so it isn't "industry".

"British Fashion Council is spearheading a campaign that will incentivize fashion businesses to work in a more sustainable way" 
by not paying taxes.

Monsoon has helped shareholders avoid tax by issuing bearer-shares, and avoids tax by producing in countries without public services where they don't have to pay tax towards anything like an NHS, causing poverty and over-population which also lowers local wages. If they produce in Bangladesh they might even get an export subsidy from Bangladeshi taxpayers. The press release suggests that these clothing importers might be excused tax on their UK operations as well, if they do

  • good work of a vaguely stated kind,
  • hard to verify,
  • probably in another country.

British Fashion Council's press office tried to summarize the argument. The work fob a vaguely-stated kind is called "sustainable" eight times and "ethical" six times It is compared to work that reduces CO2 emissions, but no such detail is spelt-out. A "campaign" is mentioned, but it seems to have been a campaign of familiar names and overlapping directorships issuing one press release. A reminder of the Ancien Regime in France were excused tax, and never quite got the hang. If you want to fund public services (I hope you are listening at the back) you have to increase taxes and boost the trades that are taxed; define what you don't like and add extra VAT.

My best guess is that their funders asked them to talk about tax breaks, but that the people in the room came to no conclusion about what to ask for.

13
A Network ... inclusive ... grass roots 

A taxpayer-funded British Fashion Council description of Ethical Fashion Forum

A NETWORK of businesses, organisations, and individuals focusing upon social and environmental sustainability in the fashion industry.

INCLUSIVE Includes designers, retailers, buyers, fair trade producers, manufacturers, NGOs, fashion students, tutors & consumers. The EFF provides a platform for shared practices, pooling resources, communication & links across the industry.

PROGRESSIVE Complex global supply chains make it difficult for fashion companies to implement sustainable standards in a single step. The EFF encourages progressive, structured practices towards sustainability.

GRASS ROOTS Founded by fashion designers and businesses in response to challenges to sustainable practices, the EFF has been designed & developed by the industry, for the industry.

NOT FOR PROFIT A membership organisation the EFF is focused upon poverty reduction, education & the environment in relation to the fashion industry. Activities of the Ethical Fashion Forum include running training seminars and networking events, one-to-one advice to fashion designers and businesses, and research and resource provision around sustainable practices in fashion.

 

CV points



14
Set-up a business ... I produce ... womens wear


Can Fashion be Fair? illustration: muslin dress sample, designed for Tasmin Lejeune's Juste label,  London, 2004.   Unit KS3 Ethical Fashion.  Tamsin Lejeune of the un-catalogued fashion label with no account of sales likes to quote  Rigged rules and double standards, by Kevin Watkins  ISBN 10: 0855985259 ISBN 13: 9780855985257.

Tamsin Lejeune: "I did a masters degree in fashion and fair-trade and set up a business sourcing textiles from Bangladesh. I produce high end womens’ wear using fair trade and naturally died fabrics. I came across lots of people facing the same barriers as me and many of us were doing the same research. It seemed sensible to set up one body to do the work for everyone." This slightly clashes with the shorter cover story in the government-funded e-book which says she gave-up Juste before starting the trade association at the time London Fashion Week noticed that the business wasn't just small - it didn't even look like a business. The photo above, and a web site with one or two pages but no stock, are the only records of how close she got to starting a business. It's likely she found volunteers to make sample muslin fabric into sample dresses, and that's all.

This is someone who was co-director for a while, which looks true but worth quoting for flavour.

Elizabeth Laskar: I was first inspired to delve into the world of ethical fashion ten years ago when I attended the Skoll Forum for social entrepreneurship. I went along and was astounded to meet these incredible people from all around the world engaging their communities on a massive level whilst making a profit. It was also at this event that I was introduced to Tamsin Lejeune who was already thinking about starting the Ethical Fashion Forum and we began brainstorming and decided to collaborate on the UK’s first ethical fashion show [sic] as part of the international womens' festival... That’s when I came across Labour Behind the Label and found out that what I was buying on the high street was affecting many more lives than my own in a detrimental way. [the story goes-on to say that the Victoria and Albert Museum believed there had never been an ethical fashion show before and gave Elizabeth Laskar a big interview on a web page to go with an exhibition of products like Juste dresses, as did so many other public sector organisations at almost exactly the same time - even though there was no reference to British products.]

From the British Council web site... "Aside from consulting she regularly speaks, teaches and writes on ethical fashion issues. Clients have included University of Oxford, The Victoria and Albert museum, Clarence House, the Ecologist, Paris Ethical Fashion Show, British Bengali Chambers of Commerce, the BBC and a number of NGOs. In collaboration with the Sri Lankan Government, Apparel Industry and the Fashion Education sector, Elizabeth successfully developed links between exceptional Sri Lankan eco design talent and London Fashion Week's Estethica and PURE."


15
Published a book: Can Fashion be Fair?

Ethical Fashion Forum / Tamsin Lejeune claims linked to evidence which you can judge for yourself.

It is true the she did a course at Brooks Uni and typed-up a dissertation at the end, which she had bound into a book. I have read it. There are some hundreds of words about the theory of development, quoting lobbying documents for the interests of rich people in poor countries.

If you can imagine buying lunch for a wealthy official in a a badly-run country and taking careful note of his views on poverty in, say, Zimbabwe while his Mercedes is polished outside, it is the sort of thing you would write down in your notebook.

Social services charities that operate in Vietnam or Africa have conversations with local government officials like the one above. After conversations like this, Zanu-PF excluded all social services charities from Zimbabwe, so it's easy to see why charities take careful note and even repeat the arguments. One charity even published them as a book called "Rigged Rules and Double Standards". That's the one that quotes the Vietnamese Trade Minister in a way that makes it look like a quote from a respected economist. I don't know if the title is meant to be sarcastic.

If the Ethical Fashion Forum director had picked-up a different book to try and re-hash as a thesis, then the course of her career might have been different but until it's clear what the real story is behind this cover story, then it has to be guessed that she believes this stuff. If another person had set-up a lobby group without this set of beliefs, there would have been nobody to fund them.


16
CV

Tamsin Lejeune writes:
"I run the Ethical Fashion Forum, and you can find the evidence of all my academic achievements on the registers of those institutions, which are on my Linked In profile. I graduated in my maiden name of Tamsin Waterston."

When founded, reporters & speakers had to justify massive publicity for previously unheard-of grant-artists pundits and traders. They sprang out of nowhere in a flurry of exhibitions at government-funded organisations like the V&A, the Crafts Council, and a scheme to provide free teaching materials for fashion teachers in higher education.


The speakers made a number of grand statements in the run-up to interviews and staged events, about the organisation, about guest speakers like Pants to Poverty, and particularly about its Ethical Fashion Forum's founder. She claims an architecture degree, award-winning architecture, second degree in development practice, "Can Fashion be Fair?" publication of 2004, a successful Juste muslin dress business justifying a return ticket to Bangladesh and "funding", followed by founding a trade association with further government grants and publicity.

Nowadays the claims aren't needed; Ethical Fashion Forum has been going a while. But strange claims still demonstrate what this bunch are like. How much they say what they can get away with, compared to how much they say what's true. Speaking of which, if I have said anything unfair of untrue, please get in touch so I can put it right.

Click on links to decide whether sources of evidence clash:

  • Degree
    She writes that she is fully qualified as an architect with an architecture degree from Bath Spa University which did not award such degrees at the time, although she does have an architecture diploma with "RIBA part II exemption" from Brookes Uni and a taught masters degree in development.
  • Award-winning architect
    She claims to have won several architectural awards or architecture awardspractising as an architect, which would be illegal unqualified. Architectural awards or architecture awards could be in a previous name of Tamsin Waterston, which does appear on a list of staff names at Hawkins Brown architects. She left that CV rest for long time while this site showed it un-true, but has simplified it recently under threat from the architects registration board. She has increased references to Bath Spa University and Brookes University. A glance in 2018 shows different references to an architecture career, whatever it was.
  • Pioneering ethical fashion co ... Juste, justifying Seed Capital, an Air Fare, & Whirlwind Tour
    She is "founder and strategic director for fair trade fashion label Juste" with "pioneering supply chain model" after ""raising seed capital"", probably from Unltd which was publicly-funded, and gaining coaching services from a fashion consultant, also public-funded. A student competition called "Design for Juste" supplied some muslin dresses, probably from sample material provided by Amaya in London. Contacts at Futerra helped with some fashion events, and these samples were shown at one or two catwalk shows and then auctioned for whatever cause.

    An expert might guess whether any copied Rose Bertin's designs for Marie Antoinette, which seems plausible. Fashion students know this kind of thing.

    Lejeune is credited in a Centre for Sustainability in Fashion publication with claims of dress designs for four seasons, October 2003-September 2004. The publication mentions an expense of a return trip London to Bangladesh and tour. I suppose that's £1-2,000 depending on whether there was a claim for a "whirlwind tour". It quotes Dfid among funders of this project, of which the publication is another part. A second brand, "ju" quoted on the web site showing a logo too large to fit on a clothing label. The one image on the site was hosted by a friend for the first few years; Tamsin Lejeune hosted it more directly on her own site later. There is the mobile number she used at the time, now linked to a voice mail box which has one other mention on google. There is no postal address for returns or bills. The text is part of the picture - like one of those CAPCHA puzzles that is meant to stop anyone finding the site online to buy anything. If you do discover the site by accident, you find no specific products, nor stock levels, nor prices, nor e-commerce, nor wholesale prices, nor stockists.

    I'd expect someone in this position to keep quiet about their business, but Lejeune writes in her dissertation of
    "Juste ... designs being showcased at The London Fashion Week exhibition September 2004".

    This is not a bogus project, and not designed as a cover to get funding, if the following things are true.
  1. If it is a mistake from someone who organised public-funded training seminars about e-commerce for fashion firms 2 years later, running a project called "new entrepreneurs".
  2. If it is a mistake by someone who had taxpayer-funded marketing advice, including help with a business plan.
  3. It is a mistake admitted in the business plan that said she didn't want to try selling online for two years, shortly before she made a decision to close the business.
  4. If it is a mistake by someone who sat in room with other e-commerce shopkeepers a month after the picture was taken, talking about government grants to promote shopkeepers, and so able to ask for informal advice.

At the same time, accountants' investigations from Deloitte and by Price Waterhouse for all parties have tended to show that business was done by courtier-ship. They simply ask the staff of London Development Agency in private, and that is what they were told. There were civil service requirements for outcomes to help economic development in London and help the unemployed. And there were London Development Agency bosses congratulating anyone who spent up to the maximum budget, political advisors who would ring-up hectoring for their pet projects, allowed to sit-in on meetings by the bosses, and funding outcomes that could be lost or not recorded if, as usual, a lot of the staff had changed jobs, leaving posts filled by temps, or whatever other reason. You could get away with signing a receipt for "youth related activities", if it helped your LDA contact spend up to budget and get approval from mayoral advisors, and you could get away with a receipt for nobody knows what in the areas of fashion that forensic auditors concentrated-on in 2008: London Fashion Forum, where Tamsin Lejeune was a member, Centre for Fashion Enterprise where Tamsin Lejeune got business coaching, and Rich Mix, Tamsin Lejeune's landlord who she thanks for lecture space.

  • Masters degree in International Development - this 28.10.2014 I discover that it is true, under the name "Waterston, Tasmin Dzuwe"
    She claims a masters degree in international development practice from Brookes University

  • Publication in 2004: "Can Fashion be Fair?"
    She claims a publication in 2004: "Can Fashion Be Fair?" (the link is a search for any book published in 2004 with the title "Can Fashion be Fair" ). Brookes Uni do record a dissertation with this title and thought it worth keeping in their department library. I can email a copy of the document to anyone who wants to see it. It was read by the examiner & seven library borrowers before me. There is no other published book of that title.

    Brookes Uni teaches architecture, and development of an aid-agency kind. Some students are connected to a local firm called Oxfam. Someone based at their Oxford head office wrote a long piece of propaganda in support of governments where Oxfam operates, such as the government of Vietnam, and in favour of free trade, such as the free trade that Westminster politicians promoted at a G8 summit about the same time. The UK chancellor at the time went-on to join the trustees of Oxfam. However these pieces of information fit together, Oxfam had briefly became a campaign organisation for its government clients in poor countries against its individual donor clients in rich countries, and I think against individual service users in countries where Oxfam operates like Vietnam as well. The book was called "Rigged Rules and Double Standards" and propaganda to the cause. Twaddle, manipulative, nasty, propaganda. Almost impossible to read because it darts around the world like a holiday travel program, alluding to injustices all the time. Or in Lejeune's words "probably the most comprehensive report to have emerged in recent years on the subject of the inequalities of international trade.". She doesn't quote the EU reply stating some of the mistakes and manipulations, which was online at the time. She seems to quote her teacher's warning, duly noted but ignored on the same page -"Language and statistics in this body of literature were frequently used in conjunction with evocative and persuasive way; and these sources of information were designed to persuade as well as to inform."

    The second part of the dissertation is an account of the dress business Juste, using fairtrade muslin for a nich design-led market, soon to show at London Fashion Week and sell at shops "including the prestigious Kingly Court". Neither of these happened or looked likely to happen at the time of the dissertation.

    Lastly, the document lists the development of Ethical Fashion Forum.

  • Ethical defined the Ethical Fashion Forum Way
    The only context in which Tamsin Lejeune uses the word "ethical" is the context of creating jobs in the kinds of places where aid agencies work, which she calls "the south" in aid agency jargon, rather than calling them badly-run countries. Some of these goods are certified to fair trade standards. Others are not. She calls un-certified goods "ethical", to distinguish from fair trade certified.

    Other people have used the word "ethical" in different ways over the years. That's how language works; you share an idea of what a word means. Not Lejeune who sticks to her obscure and recent definition of the word, to the confusion of others around her. Later documents refer to her asking a committee what they mean by "ethical", or referring to a dictionary to try to clear this up without success. [new notes in progress about ethical fashion definitions from Ethical Fashion Forum are here]

    Lejeune writes "ethical" a lot but does not use the words "vegetarian", "animal", or "vegan" in her document sent as a thesis; she describes silk leather & wool as ethical. This is one of her implausible bits of ignorance.

    Lejeune writes "ethical" a lot but does not use the words "national insurance", "social insurance", or "welfare" in her document. "Benefits" is a word used a few times and "insurance" once but in not in the sense of national insurance or health insurance. Years later, at Ethical Fashion Source Summit, "uniting world leaders in sustainability", national insurance was still not mentioned. National insurance was introduced in Prussia in the 1860s but it's still an alien idea to the person who united world leaders in 2004. This is one of her implausible bits of ignorance.

  • Previous CV
    Accounts of life before subsidy from grant-making bodies around 2004 include birth in Zambia in 1973, growing-up in Zimbabwe, and Gosforth school in the UK. Volunteer CVs agree on Central America (Guatemala & Honduras) + USA. She had an american accent in an early video. Other accounts mention Cambodia & Mexico. Others Africa, India and Bangladesh as well as study abroad. And her surname shortened from Waterston Lejeune until late in life makes earlier references harder to find. She states that she met a co-director, Elizabeth Laskar, in the lobby of a grant-giving organisation.
    "One of the frustrations, explains Lejeune, is that grant-making bodies generally demand to see a long & established track record and reputation before making awards to social entrepreneurs working with communities outside the UK".

  • The story is not all glum. Endless googling reveals that Tamsin Lejeune has a partner & a modest home. The cheek of her career is admirable too, like something out of The Italian Job or Joe Orton.

    The effects of Ethical Fashion Forum's work on part of the footwear and clothing market - the part bought for ethical reasons - are the reason for quoting here and glum because so much public subsidy has gone into the press stories and training and consensus that this person has prescribed, rather than towards causes like buying goods are made in democratic welfare states and don't harm animals, developing a good trade directory for UK manufacturers and employment, allowing people to learn manufacturing skills and have reasonable access to workshop space and heavy tools. She won't change the course of her campaigning either, even though there are more and more people trying to use her site to sell UK goods, she has refused to withdraw her pages that caution against buying british products.

  • The background remains glum. UK manufacturing is so run-down and neglected by government that there are no trade directories available in reference libraries, even though government has the kind of data that would make them possible. This lack of information has become a source of income for Ethical Fashion Forum: it can now charge subscriptions on the promise of training, and information - which it calls "source intelligence" - which in the past was free in reference libraries. EFF's database and initial research was set-up with taxpayers' and lottery help.

    I am available for punditry to government and media at a reasonable rates just as you, the reader, might be available too.



17
Swanking: implausible that this means anything or that clothes importers would use the words

Adjectives:

"acknowledged", "artisan", "award-winning", "ethical", "foremost", "global", "ground breaking", "innovative", "inspirational", "it's not about", "trailblazing", "worlds first ever..."

Verbs:

"intern", "launched", "showcased", "spearheaded",

Nouns:

"acknowledged global leader", "ambassador", "BBC", "brand", "event", "Expo", "fashion", "fellowship 500", "innovation award", "leading fashion bodies and global institutions", "new entrepreneurs", "pioneer", "platform", "secretariat", "sector leaders", "source summit".

Mottoes:

"The industry body for sustainable fashion", "The Global Platform for Sustainable Fashion".

Ethical fashion forum's words are those of a grant-claiming organisation, not an industry forum

Similar language from grant artists:

International Trade Organisation's Ethical Fashion Initiative uses similar words, which seem to be translated from Italian and designed to claim grants and awards. The distinctions, I guess, are from third world products with a certified ethical claim like most fairtrade and organic stuff, and third world products with no ethical claim that are subsidised by UK taxpayers through a UN agency of Dfid, such as the Chinese manufacturers who are subsidised by my taxes to use cheap labour in Kenya or Uganda. Other organisations that use the same words without embarrassment, according to a very rough search, are not manufacturers but colleges & housing associations. Organisations that write grant-applications to government and get a bit carried-away with self-deception. "Grant-artists" and "swanking" are the technical terms. If you search for the words without the quotes you find a bunch of higher education initiatives, mainly american, rather similar to the world of Chevening Scholarships, Great China Scholarships and Great India Scholarships from where some of the Ethical Fashion Forum people might have come.

One ally of Ethical Fashion Forum is carried further and suggests something odd about the kinds of people who write this stuff and claim grants with a straight face.

"Uniting Global Leaders in Fashion & Sustainability The Source Summit unites leaders in the fashion industry, and pioneers in ethical trade and sustainability from around the world to collaboratively discuss and debate key people and environment issues within the industry."

Different language from clothing & footwear manufacturers:

A guide to working with fashion factories prefers concise language:

To achieve a good quality standard, you need to:
Choose the right factory for the product.
Be clear and concise about your expectations.
Communicate regularly and constructively.
Develop a good working relationship [...]

Don't forget that, as far as a factory is concerned, time really is money!



18
Ethical Fashion Funding and definitions - not so much an implausible statement as a list of PR techniques and public bodies that funded them

There are some rough notes in progress about how "ethical fashion" was openly & deliberately chosen as a jargon term for something narrower.


The people who did this were on UK public money to work in the far east - take Bangladesh as an example. You have probably met people like that. They are wilfully ignorant about the need for a welfare state in Bangladesh and about the effects of livestock on the planet. There have been national insurance schemes in Europe since a German one started in 1866. A UN report called "Livestock's Long Shadow" describes the effect of livestock on the planet, from poverty in poor countries to CO2 emissions everywhere. However obvious the issues, people like this will remain ignorant; their ears are sellotaped shut and their spectacles have special filters.

So they openly and deliberately narrowed their definition of "ethical fashion", from choices that were constrained by wilful ignorance anyway.

There were some hard definitions available in the past, like fair trade, vegan, vegetarian, organic, or less well-defined ones like being made in a democratic welfare state and an attempt in Africa to promote womens' staff partnerships with private insurance, which was named "ethical fashion" for lack of a better term. The promoter had worked in the past to help Italian leather companies out-source production to Africa, so, to a buyer of upmarket leather goods, "ethical" would do to describe an alternative. This paragraph is about the PR effort by which Ethical Fashion Forum uses its assumed expertise to try to define news

grant claimant awarded grants from Defra's WRAP, The Commonwealth Foundation, Unltd etc

Department for International Development funding as part of the Labour Behind the Label Fashion Colleges Project, then under the EFF brand funding for the "Spotlight on Sourcing" service as part of Dfid's "Fashion+" project "to increase understanding of development issues amongst fashion professionals, and provide the tools and resources they need to make informed choices in their working roles." Work was charged at £160 a day for senior staff and £100 for junior staff plus costs including a £1,000 a month office.

Private sector payment from a Bangladeshi textile association, which in turn was subsidised and trained by a development project funded by the European Union.

editor of reference web sites and speaker lists

trainer and training event organiser, speaker at training seminars and masterclasses

subsidised teacher trainer at fashion colleges on the subject of ethics -
particularly, whether to buy from democratic welfare states or not to buy. This funded by Dfid via another group, Labour Behind the Label.

subsidised business training for "new entrepreneurs".

marathon guest-speaker, interviewee and pundit, with three years' travel for this paid by Dfid.

award-er of grants on behalf of others such as the ethical fashion source award or innovation award.

Consultancy roles for the organisation include

WRAP government consultancy board at Defra

Estethica at London Fashion Week including promotion of Chinese shoes by Terra Plana

Observer Ethical Fashion Awards

The V&A exhibition and web site along with multiple smaller exhibitions at

The Crafts Council

Business Link and sponsorship of the "New Entrepreneurs" business advice scheme at which people unable to type their own price for Juste give business advice in a building that has gone two million pounds over the £27m budget.

Paid promotion work from a Bangladeshi trade association that was in turn funded by UK government through Defra.

Selection for Department for Business export advice to Pants to Poverty under two different schemes in succession, with promotion from UK embassies

Government skills agency Creative Skillset spends an average of £25,000 each on a set of videos training courses including "How to Build a Sustainable Fashion Business", from Ethical Fashion Forum, soon dropped as "not to be repeated" from the Creative Skillset web site. The work was done at the same time as Pants to Poverty, sharing the same office, had "gaps in the documentation" and ran out of staff willing to take the complaints calls and money to pay subcontractors before disappearing just ahead of trading standards officers looking for missing orders.

Ethical Fashion Forum needs to be criticised as much as a political party or a rogue trader, or it will gather more and more followers & journalist quotes & ethical fashion bloggers & interns & shopkeepers writing "we are associated with.." & everyone else who is with the band. This is important because newspapers quote the organisation without balancing quotes: errors & omissions influence media ideas of what's good. Futerra Communications is an agency that tries to influence newspapers' ethical fashion definitions. They seem most interested in climate change but do work for Dfid and ethical fashion as a sideline. They often speak on the podium at Ethical Fashion Forum events and have shared Terra Plana shoes, their client, with Ethical Fashion Forum's founder member list. This is what they said in a pitch to their main customer Defra:


"Create a trusted, credible, recognised voice ... :We need trusted organisations and individuals that the media can call upon to explain ... change to the UK public."

With the force of so many government organisations behind Futerra, they may well create "trusted ... organisations ... that the media will call upon" if Ethical Fashion Forum is left un-doubted, free to "explain change" to the people who are not courtiers. It's silly because Futerra is staffed by people interested in a subject where Guardian readers like themselves are usually right, and do need to "explain ... change" to Mail readers. Manufacturing is different. It is a subject where Mail readers are right and need to "explain...change" to Guardian readers, so it's hard to think what sort of person would approach them to promote goods from third world countries and dress-up the work as "ethical" in their own new sense of the word? Well, there are people in the USA who think that national insurance is immoral, so someone from there. Or possibly a fantasist. That has been the pattern of recruitment for Ethical Fashion Forum staff and enthusiasts.

  • Digression: Criticism looks rude if the facts are rude

    Criticising ethical fashion forum is a bit like criticising Mother Theresa; journalists restrain criticism of those who say they are trying to do good. Ethical ethics are a grandiose pair of words that sound a bit like "good". That's a trick. Next they substitute narrower safer terms like "sustainable" while distracting you with grandiose fibs speakers and writers are selected, then crucial points are omitted in Ethical Fashion Forum's stuff before the interview is finished or the presentation over and you wonder when they are going to get-around to mentioning bad government or a welfare state or clothing production in the UK, and why they're so keen to emphasise small differences between bits of clothing made in sweatshop countries instead. If you ask Ethical Fashion Forum about this, they'll say "It's not about [insert criticism here]", but their omissions t and the things they state when pressed show that they are about [insert criticism here]. You have to debunk their distraction and their marketing technique as well as saying that they have left important things out of their public sector exhibitions and their subsidised seminars and their web site and their press interviews.

    Sometimes Ethical Fashion Forum offer free marketing advice: "sell the sizzle, not the steak", and for them, grandiosity is the sizzle that distracts from what they omit to say and how they narrow-down the subject. Sizzle is vacuous words that sound good, sizzle is made-up CVs that sound expert, sizzle is a carefully selected group of speakers and writers who are presented as representative, or a grand claim of followers that is just a number of subscribers to a web forum. In order to criticise Ethical Fashion Forum, you have to debunk the grandiosity in order to debunk the process.

    To repeat: their next dodge is to narrow debate to something safe, like "sustainable fashion". A third dodge is to omit important subjects and speakers who could talk about them, while slipping-in the odd implausible statement if pressed.

    The welfare state is excluded from their definitions of what contributes to better ethical fashion, as are reasons for buying from welfare states. They claim to be "focused on poverty reduction" but exclude mention of conditional tariffs with social clauses to do that. They exclude major criticisms of the animal industry, despite a UN report showing how it causes poverty.

    Debunking someone's CV is uncomfortably personal, but necessary. Grandiosity or fibs are a dodge that distracts from other tricks and omissions. The talk of ethical ethics, with their grand sound. The podium. The email splurge to journalists offering free expert interviews. The role of guest speaker or debating partner. The fibs. All to distract attention from the next dodge, which is to narrow debate and then the third dodge which is to exclude important points and maybe slip-in some implausible statements on a web site or if pressed. It's odd because someone doing this in Sri Lanka would get a bunch of people round at the office to smash it up, in government uniform or not.

    Apart from the personal grand claims, Ethical Fashion Forum claims to be a forum and an "industry body" without being responsible to an industry. There has never been one "ethical fashion" industry, and there is no way for web forum members to change their management. So that has to be debunked as well in order to un-ravel the three-dodge trick they call "Business Success in 3D".


Dodge 1
Say you will talk about everything to lull people in:
"nutritious food""ethical ethics","ethical fashion", "the industry body""healthy living", "the source". It helps if you are in a country where manufacturers can't afford a big trade association and government doesn't even release data to get a complete trade directory, so buyers are looking for expertise and can't easily get it from UK manufacturers.

Dodge 2
Distract the audience and substitute another word.
In a conjuring show, smoke and mirrors and a roll of drums may help.
Swanking & grand CVs and claims to be the industry body do the same job in a more serious setting.

While your audience is distracted, substitute a more preferred general word in mid-sentence : "convenience food", or "sustainable fashion". An alternative is to answer your own begged question, as in "Isn't all food nutritious? Well, let me answer that for you as an doctor. I am here to talk about convenience food", or "What do we mean by Ethical Fashion? Well, let me answer that for you as an expert. I am here to talk about sustainable fashion".

Stanley Green promoting his views in Oxford Street, 1977Dodge 3
Omission
Distract from implausible statements; omissions are better. Control who speaks on the podium. Use contacts of the managing director, or neighbours with the same funny landlord, if these speakers believe the same implausible things, like believing that "Convenience food is burgers & fries.". Or that a site about poverty reduction is no place for words like NHS, welfare state, national insurance, or social insurance (check for yourself), that"It is only by raising standards and wages outside of the UK that the UK garment production sector will again be in a position to compete on equal terms with production in what are currently low wage economies", or "I don't think you can compare countries. You're just as likely to have a sweatshop down the road here in London in the east end as you are in China, India or Bangladesh. One of the best factories I've come across in the world was in China. One of the worst factories I've come across in the world was in China."

These are the kinds of implausible beliefs that are best omitted from first impressions. You don't have to stand-up in Oxford Street or spell them out at a training seminar. You might get funding from third world governments, but no audience. Instead, just control which nice, sane people appear on the podium with a lot to say, run a bit late, and your point is made by omission. It's hard to present these points in an advert under contract law and consumer protection law. The point about China looks risky. so you would do better to fund a pressure group. Present arguments about comparison of factories in, say, Bangladesh if that it where you are funded, so that nobody gets to mention better conditions in the UK. Talk vaguely about poverty reduction, but exclude talk of national insurance or a welfare state. Invite someone to talk about an employment scheme for amputees in Bangladesh rather than someone who wants free hospitals that reduce the need for amputations.

By this point, people are scratching their heads a bit but they've already paid and you've got their subscription or their ticket money; they've come in, had the pep talk, and are out of the door again before the three dodges have become clear. The process may vary a bit between shows and there may not be exactly three dodges, but the result is the same each time - everyone is lead to believe that everyone else in the room supports a world without an NHS or benefits.

Expertise conclusion:
Ethical Fashion Forum, Can Fashion be Fair, Juste, funding & ethical fashion intern jobs

  1. Fibs
  2. Grants for reducing un-employment, claimed & paid to reduce employment
  3. Tamsin Lejeune is a marathon guest-speaker and interviewee.
    The Futerra quote: "Create a trusted, credible, recognised voice ... : We need trusted organisations and individuals that the media can call upon to explain ... change to the UK public".
  4. It's hard to tell why other courtiers or organisations overlap or network with Ethical Fashion Forum.

    Dozens of people are named as passing directors of Ethical Fashion Forum or Ethical Fashion Consultancy over the years and their linked in profiles give an idea of who shares interests. A lot of consultants. Teachers of fashion or international development at London University's SOAS or University of the Arts' London College of Fashion or Central St Martains. Enthusiasts for fair trade. Journalists sometimes share a platform. One director is a consultant on how to deal with government. One long-term influence is from Futerra, the former government ad agency. There is some overlap with the former department for business development at London College of Fashion, now called Centre for Sustainable Fashion and sponsored by Nike. A trustee of London College of Fashion, Baroness Young, lists unpaid work as "ambassador" for Ethical Fashion Forum on her members' interests and help from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion in her work at the House of Lords. .She did one Westminster Hall debate about ethical fashion, defining it as the House of Lords library staff or most of the public might define it. And then she did it all over again as Centre for Sustainability define it. So Centre for Sustainability in Fashion appear, to me at least, to be her constituency; she is the member of Parliament for them.

    The ITCB existed to "Inform public opinion and collaborate with organisations and associations of consumers, importers and retailers engaged in the fight against protectionism in the sector". They were an international trade conspiracy of baddies, opposed to any social clause in tariffs, ready to lobby the ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative in the same town, which was governed by reps from third world governments and who's director sat on the Ethical Fashion Forum board for a while. ITCB may have been Bond Villains but their offices didn't look like a Bond Villain layer. They were not concealed in an extinct volcano. There were no monorails nor badly trained henchmen, and if anyone was fed to crocodiles it was by other agencies in member host countries. Like bond villains and a lot of UK manufacturers, they ceased trading and I don't know if there is successor group. Ethical Fashion Forum have certainly started to mention bad governments a little this decade, so there is probably no big funder that discourages them from talking about politics while events at Rana Plaza have shocked them into some small changes.

    The UK government is staffed by courtiers and easily duped by these kinds of project, just as it funded Creative Connexions (below) to send UK customers to Chinese factories.

    The Department for International Developments' UK Aid budget for this project was shared with the International Trade Centre, also funders of an "Ethical Fashion Initiative" based in Geneva. The Department for International Development usually does good emergency work, and good development work, as far as I can judge. But the development work is funded from a country with high living costs and low business margins because it is run as a welfare state; development is in sweatshop countries that compete unfairly against taxpayers in the UK. A change in tariff to force sweatshop countries to get better would help everyone, and cost UK taxpayers less. It might even make a profit in the way that propagandist stuff from Ethical Fashion Forum claims happens already: revenue from tariffs on sweatshop goods might be higher than money spent on international emergencies & development.

    UK government looked for public support for a position on European tariffs and the end of the multi fibre agreement, promoted at the Gleneagles Summit about the time that Ethical Fashion Forum got so much help from public sector agencies. At the same time aid agencies - Oxfam at least - turned into lobby groups for free trade.

    There's some overlapping interest with Centre for Sustainable Fashion, too, who employ someone first seen as "project manager"   for Ethical Fashion Forum after a career in film. His job is knowledge transfer partnership - that is, to help reduce UK unemployment by helping fashion and footwear businesses, although you wouldn't guess it from the way that taxpayer's money is allocated for this. His office provides a "secretariat"  for a House of Lords all party group on Ethical Fashion and one of his first jobs was to help Ethical Fashion Forum. So he did the opposite of his job, by the look of it. University of the Arts' London College of Fashion is unusual in a lot of ways. It has a member of parliament. A member of its governing board was proposed as a lord by the Greater London Authority and, once in post, set-up her all-party group. University of the Arts was least popular of any higher education institution at the last check, but London College of Fashion is cited as "leading institution in [its] field" and "lead bidder", I think, in a grant proposal for a large amount of public money. So, either civil servants don't read bad Unistat reviews when choosing contractors, or a politician rigs the competition.

    There was a small overlapping interest with something called Creative Connexions - the project run by London College of Fashion just mentioned - and their Making it Ethically in China seminars, part of a project that used the majority of the higher education funding council grant for all s for that year to promote Chinese factories to European producers. Like Ethical Fashion Forum, Creative Connexions and Centre for Sustainable Fashion were hatched in London College of Fashion buildings. There's also an overlap between Futerra Sustainability Communications, Ethical Fashion Forum, and a series of apparently neutral organisations that spring-up around Futerra like Anti Apathy, Re-Fashion Awards, Fashion Revolution Day, and probably more.

    Each time a new project is set-up, onlookers are drawn-in, hoping to reform the lobby or "Westminster Hall Debate" as I think it was, left down the stairs from the lobby. Someone in the House of Lords joined-in a discussion to suggest a chain of training workshops up and down the UK. There was no reply except a bit of heckling.
  5. Courtiers & ghosts: fashion students and civil servants might like this bit
    A god king commissions a good oil painting - click for a bigger picture
    There's some overlap with the long-dead court of God-King Louis 16th & Queen Marie Antoinette of 18th-century France, and Charles 1st in the UK. I've phrased these paragraphs as though overlapping jobs in ethical fashion quangos suggest common funding. These examples prove me wrong because the people involved have already had their heads cut off while funding continues. The similarities are similarities among views of in-bred systems of courtiers, swankers & suckers-up, which survive necks intact. For example Charles 1st was persuaded to join-in a war by another god-king, and successors in the 2000s commissioned a building much like Westminster Banqueting House.

    Fashion students at art colleges know that a God King commissions a big oil painting. You've probably seen one at an art gallery. Democrats have a private subscription for a painting, rather than steal public money, and ask for every member of the committee who subscribed to be shown. Their usual taste is for pictures of bowls of fruit, rather than grand people. They wear modest clothes. It's hard to get all the heads looking natural together. If one pays late, they have to be squeezed-in from a corner. God Kings just splurge public money on a Rubens of their dad flying around with fairies on the ceiling of a banqueting hall, dressed as for a sauna in colourful silk clothing. You can still see it now in the Banqueting House Whitehall if your hold your head at the right angle.

    Rich Mix, the building where Ethical Fashion Forum exchanged favours, is a lot like Westminster Banqueting House. It cost tens of millions to convert from a factory like building into a factory-like building. The trustees did not commission a painting on the ceiling. Just the walls. Directly onto the walls: the first mural of a black man pointing a gun at a white woman was judged a bad idea on second thoughts, but, like the painting at the Banqueting House ceiling, it couldn't be sold-on. Trustees had it painted-over and commissioned another painting painted over the top.

    Rich Mix begged tens of millions from public sector organisations & charities, asking for more each year which one funder wants back. The building was meant to create 30-60 jobs by reducing factory space available for employers to rent. On opening, it was found that there was nothing for these new staff to do and more millions of pounds had to be begged from the council to pay their wages. Like the God King Charles at Westminster Banqueting Hall before his execution there, Rich Mix trustees believe that "a King and his subjects are clean different things"; there is no need to prove benefit. Just explain slowly, as to a child. Ask your officials to fiddle the figures if there's a fuss. Two formal reports investigating the London Development Agency's strange ways of working concentrated on Rich Mix, Centre for Fashion Enterprise, and London Fashion Forum, as places to find out how so much money was spent for so little benefit.

    Another God King in france hired a banker called Mr Necker to do the accounts. He tried to introduce the concept of public money, making the royal accounts public except the Deficit, which he covered-up for his employers. One of the french projects was to build a very pretty by-pass around Paris, rather than fix the sewage problem in the town that made people want to avoid it. They probably hired an official to make-up some figures to justify that too. Queen Marie Antoinette became known as Madame Deficit for her daft spending and her supplier became known as Minster for Fashion. Speaking of which, The British Fashion Council hired Oxford Economics' "Value of Fashion" report to include PR expenditure and more passengers on the Piccadilly line as contributions to the economy. The Olympic project claimed to create jobs while demolishing factories and reducing hotel occupancy in London during the event. Do you believe that? Rich Mix does; it is not easily embarrassed. It has a page of various words to praise the Olympics and say how much the arts benefit the economy at a cost of only 14p per person per week. If that is public money, it helps pay for a pound off the price of visiting the Banqueting House Whitehall if your are over 65, but it's also £2.38 stolen from the weekly pension of every person over 65 in the UK.

    There are other ghosts from the period 1979-2009 when hiked-up exchange rates were used to close UK manufacturing. 25% of it went in the governments' first term of office. The policy was carried-out by both main political parties but seems un-known and invisible in the world of punditry and politics in the south of the UK. This is the biggest event that Ethical Fashion Forum calls "global trends", moving manufacturing jobs to sweatshops. Generations of retailers and customers have grown-up expecting advertised brands and smart shops - a system which current generations need to dis-mantle. Most people never quite wanted to believe that government policies caused this rapid change in the manufacturing base so soon after a change of economic policy; it's still an area people don't like to think about. So in a way that's a ghost that prevents proper discussion.

    There's a ghost of the British abroad over the years, who seem so different from the British at home, giving-up all interest in a welfare state as they pack baggage for Heathrow. They become much more like the people who run sweatshop countries. When the first National Insurance Act was passed in the UK in 1911, the Governor of Bengal passed no similar law. In the UK he had been a liberal MP; in Bengal, not. In 1930 the Bengal government commissioned a report of an enquiry into the standard of living of Jute Mill workers in Bengal which suggests only a top-down, paternal system by which the odd nurse or company housing might be provided, which might pay for itself somehow or, if not, would make the jute less competitive and so be unlikely to catch-on in a big way. There is a hint that local government might do something out of taxation - maybe primary schools and a maternity hospital. At the same time there is a statement that families can only get richer by having more wage-earners; the poor are locked in a cycle of big families and small job prospects.

    If anyone has the CD of Mrs Thatcher's speeches, please email the detail as she did something similar, praising the welfare state at home and praising exactly the lack of it on a visit to Indonesia.

    When governments (Norway and the USA) proposed new tariff systems with social clauses to allow the best cheap countries to sell goods and the despot sweatshop countries not, despots were very much against. This was at a meeting of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, just renamed World Trade Organisation. The British government voted with the despot sweatshop governments.

    There's a ghost in the mind of Ethical Fashion Forum's managing director, borne in 1973, who states that she grew-up in Zimbabwe, probably about the same time that UK government was wiping-out its own manufacturers. Her "Can Fashion be Fair" document suggests that she picked-up a different ghostly view. She doesn't state it clearly in what she writes but gives a whiff of it, which I think is that that historical wrongs moved production from India and Africa to Europe, from where it must move-back at the expense of any kind of welfare state in either part of the world and to the benefit of Mercedes drivers in Zimbabwe. There are similar ghosts in statements from Ben Ramsden, who shared an office with Lejeune at the expense of nobody-knows-quite-who but probably Futerra ad agency and small grants from organisations like Unltd with vetting from early trustees of Rich Mix Cultural Foundation who provided the office.
  6. Marie Antoinette's ghost at the Department for Culture Media & Sport
    - maybe doing a job at Creativeworkslondon.org.uk running their Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, or the Greater London Authority's British Fashion Council, or whoever handles European Union grants these days, or the Olympics.maybe. School children studying 18th century France should be taken on a visit to the ministry to see similarities. Officials from then and now would recognise the fiddled figures showing financial success of the Olympics or London Fashion Week, which rely more on the rank of the person paying for them to make a case than on facts. The party line is that the creative economy needs a separate ministry to the industrial economy, so the joke of pre-revolutionary France about a "minister of fashion" might be reality her and now. There probably is an under-secretary of state with special responsibility for fashion. Modern courtiers are people who claim grants from Dfid or they might give a talk to school pupils for Unit KS3 - Ethical Fashion. People keen to seem in-with the current fashions of thought, rather than take an individual view from plain facts, which are that a muslin dress order does not prevent poverty in the UK or Rana Plaza; a welfare state does.

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Conclusion:
it would be good if development money could be used for development

I first heard of Ethical Fashion Forum in an e-mailed volunteer job advert to the anti-apathy mailing list, around 2004.

There was a recession. There could be no new orders for days at a time, and orders that came were from people who couldn't pay, usually ordering slippers for their elderly parents on maxed-out credit cards.

I used time-off to research what government was doing, googled the then London Development Agency's schemes for European Regional Development Fund money, and worked through them including London Fashion Week's new Estethica room for "ethical fashion". I went and saw a the new stall for Ethical Fashion Forum. Had my founder membership been accepted, I asked? "No [...] you did not meet the criteria", said Elizabeth Laskar, sales person for Sri Lankan civil war goods who had no footwear or fashion business but had got an Ethical Fashion Forum stall subsidised by all taxpayers, including me and probably you too.

Nearby was another subsidised stall from Futerra Communications client, Terra Plana, who's rep said "yes it is Chinese". I'd heard of them while doing the rounds of government help for business. Someone at South Bank Innovation Centre implied that they had helped a company like Terra Plana.

A year or two later I got interested in Ethical Fashion Forum and one of their web pages, which cautions people against buying British goods on ethical grounds. I rang them and asked who wrote it. The person who answered the phone was Tamsin Lejeune who said that she wrote it; she would consult members about an unbiased statement to make, but the web page is still there and I don't know if the people who claim these government grants like Tamsin Lejeune even know how to log-on to their own web sites and make changes if they want to. She & Elizabeth Laskar have been guests on a rather sweet childrens' TV program though, urging people to buy second-hand and re-use, but they look like people in the right place at the right time to get a grant that they'd worked hard to apply-for. They met in the lobby of a grant-giving organisation.

It would be good if parts of government like the regional development grant system could be used for their intended purposes, alongside government legislation, to make sure that manufacturers in the UK have access to exhaustive trade directories, cheap workshop space or tools by the hour, reasonably-priced training, and maybe a chance to share export promotion costs. Individuals too. The sort of thing that other European governments do with the same budget headings, for the sake of the unemployed. It's not expensive; workshops are vacant all over the UK because landlords don't want to let them cheaply. Data for making trade directories is piled-up in ministries where nobody is interested in publishing it.

It would be good if most grants to fashion organisations were ended for years before starting again, because at the moment the grants via the Humanities Research Council or Department of Trade and Greater London Authority for British Fashion Council can do more harm than good. As with the Opera budget, it would be good if the whole idea of subsidising something that should not be subsidised were ended for at least a year, before something new is put in its place. If London Fashion Week does continue I would like each subsidised stall holder to be nominated by a someone from a factory, who would sign to say that they are a good customer and likely to help UK taxpayers in future. I would like all clothing factories to be asked for nominations from among their customers, so there would have to be directory of clothing suppliers available.

It would be good if Ethical Fashion Forum disappeared into a rag-bag and were never heard-of again, and other people found more precise words or chose ethical fashion brands and companies and ethical fashion definitions and facts to list, influencing the civil servants and ministers who make bad decisions in the background rather than parodying them and advising people not to buy British goods.

If Ethical Fashion Forum continues, it needs to remove its general opinions and advice from the web, and concentrate on being an umbrella organisation for different enthusiasms which sometimes conflict.

Culprets appeat to be a minister called Hilary Benn, who was at the Department for International Development and then Environtment, alongside the rest of the Gordon Brown cabinet but the dates don't match closely. The Sir Humphrey - the chief civil servant - was probably the one criticised for funding an Ethiopian Girl band which was rather a good idea but he got a lot of criticism for it. Bigger culprets are the people who benefit from a welfare state and a prosperous economy, but don't want to understand who it works and run economics or development studies courses about how countries in Asia or Africa should develop quite differently to the way that the UK or European countries developed. These are the same people who want free trade with China and reduced social security in the UK in order that we can be more competative when compared to evil. It looks as though Ethical Fashion Forum was the soft side of this. The thrust of government policy was do develop trade with China. The softer side was to promote womens' cop-ops in Kenya or then artizans in Bangladesh. People selling goods from the UK and countries with a social security system didn't get a look-in.

If you've had enough of reading about courtiers & implied Bond villains, you can have a look at why people by vegan shoes on the why-vegan page & see what's been done despite bad government & too few factories.

 


 

[Footnote] It's easy to allude to a bit of knowledge and sound grand, specially as you get a bit older and follow a hobby,picking-up the odd fact. Since first writing this, I discovered
https://ww1.issa.int/country-profiles which allow comparisons of the best and worst-run countries for social security, and if you work for the Foreign Office or in UK Universities you might suggest buying as much as possible from the badly-run countries. Or I'd suggest buying from the best-run, to keep social security systems viable and to force badly-run countries to catch-up instead of spreading misery around the world with rapidly-growing populations of their poor, with plagues un-treated, wars that start in tense miserable places and cheap dumped goods like the Primark basics trakkies I wear as I write.

The pages share text with a fast-download single-page per country on SSA.gov , where a search engine can use it to find the direct link.

Without reading the ISSA.int pages this spring 2021 that the ones that interest Ethical Fashion people are
https://ww1.issa.int/node/195543?country=802 Bangladesh
https://ww1.issa.int/node/195543?country=850 Ethopia
https://ww1.issa.int/node/195543?country=877 India federal
https://ww1.issa.int/node/195543?country=890 Kenya
https://ww1.issa.int/node/195543?country=941 Pakistan
https://ww1.issa.int/node/195543?country=977 Sri Lanka

For comparison
https://ww1.issa.int/node/195543?country=1001 United Kingdom

The UK system gets worse over time because the same kinds of people who work for the Foreign Office or teach on Economics courses argue that we need to be competative. It now involves food banks. As ever, there are things they don't argue because it seems impolite. Universities often have "China" somewhere on their front web page Downing Street hangs out Chinese lanterns for a photo-opportunity at the start of Chinese New Year. Textbook writers and journal editors who serve the UK market also have to sell copies to Trump supporters and readers in Singapore or South Africa, so the things taught and talked about are very much to the right of things voted-for in the UK and that's why aid officials or economists sometimes get a shock when confronted with the truth.

I really don't know if Bangladeshi governors want to introduce a national insurance system but guess not, because the rich in poor countries are like that. There are other systems of benefits I know even less about.

In Pakistan the Edhi Foundation runs health services from donations. "We don't ask for money: people just give it", says the founder - a system that saves even more paperwork than universal systems like the NHS. Ethiopia has another system by which as many people as possible are allowed allotments on which to survive. And Indians have a universal ration of cheap rice for anyone willing to queue and provide the right ID. Kenya has another basic national insurance fund for regular formal employees, which is more separate from government than the UK fund but prone to corruption. Ghana has had one since the mid 1990s. I don't know what exists in other countries that Ethical Fashion Forum refer to except that Haiti has just one or two government hospitals. This kind of information came to light over the months from web searches - some of them noted on a PlanB4fashion.blogspot.co.uk, with newer posts on planB4fashion.

Advertisers have to say less than pressure groups or risk a fine or a court case.
This is a list of things risky for an advertiser to do, according to a 2008 guide from Futerra Communications, which calls them ethics-wash or green-wash. Exceptions are marked "LEGAL", so for example the Ethical Fashion Forum's claim that one fashion job in Europe costs 30 in Vietnam looks like an unsubstantiated claim and an attempt to deceive. Both illegal to advertise to consumers in Australia, France, Norway, the USA, and the UK, but legal for a pressure group or a pretend pressure group run by a PR company to state.

AustraliaFranceNorwayUSAUK
 Mislead consumers          
 Deceive consumers          
 Use unsubstantiated claims          
 Use images capable of making a sweeping claim     LEGAL LEGAL  
 Be vague   LEGAL      
 Be technically or narrowly correct, without looking at the bigger picture       LEGAL  
 Present claims as universally accepted, if the science is disputed or inconclusive LEGAL        LEGAL
 Imply qualities that are not the case   LEGAL LEGAL LEGAL LEGAL
 Overstate claims, expressly or by implication   LEGAL   LEGAL LEGAL
 Indicate benefits unlikely to happen in practice, but literally true         LEGAL
 Use exaggerated language LEGAL       LEGAL
 Make claims that cannot be verified LEGAL     LEGAL LEGAL