Production and consumption, once so closely interconnected in our daily lives, now sit as binary opposites in modern consumer culture. Whilst our ancestors would have been a dab hand with needle and thread, it is virtually impossible for us to know where our clothing has come from and who has made it – we just walk into a store and buy what we need instantly.
Humanistic Capital aims to change this. It’s an umbrella concept founded by Alex Probodziak, final year Oxford student and Head of Internal Relations at Oxford Entrepreneurs, to house a new fashion brand – Runa (meaning person, putting the ‘human’ back into the production process). Probodziak was inspired to create the fair-trade fashion brand, Runa, because he was aware that whilst trade and manufacture can do a lot of good, workers in developing countries particularly are often exploited and long, complex supply chains creates a disconnect between producer and consumer. Focusing on Colombia, Alex seeks to tackle the situation in which workers are underpaid and exploited. The project will pay textile workers a fair-wage, and allow the buyers of the fashion items to see exactly how the money spent goes towards goals of the workers, using a web 2.0, infographic style internet platform. The workers’ goals are continuously updated. This not only immediately impacts the lives of the workers in a positive way, but also creates and nurtures a new, dynamic relationship between consumer and producer.
Alex and the team intend to start a crowdfunding campaign later this month and they are currently developing the first six fashion pieces for Runa in their Columbian workshop. If all goes to plan the first full Runa collection will launch for SS14, aimed at the ‘confident, vibrant young professional’. I certainly look forward to seeing what they come up with!
Check out their website for more information on the project and find out how to contribute to their crowdfunding campaign. Further down the line Runa will have its own website where you can buy their beautiful pieces and track the impact of your purchases.