“People are a big part of why I started TOBEFRANK. Seeing how the fashion industry can treat people and the environment was hard to see, and, without sounding dramatic, it was life-changing. Child labour is a big issue in India. Some say it’s because the factory is taking advantage of cheap or free labour, whilst others say it’s down to the sheer quantity of homeless children in India. Either way it’s a big issue which is only slowly getting better. When I was in New Delhi I visited an orphanage which the factory supported by supplying food. it came about as a lady working at the factory used to be an orphan living there. She now is married with children and works as a production manager at the factory. This was the first orphanage I’d ever been too. It was a emotional day and one which will stay with me forever. The lady who started it originally opened her home up to 3 homeless children. She now has 65 children. I was standing in the kitchen talking to the chef who was in the middle of making a cake for a young boy’s birthday. I saw a long list on the kitchen door with names and dates. The chef told me it was the birthday list, so every child gets a cake on their birthday. I asked who’s birthday it was today and he told me it was a young boy who had just joined them. The boy had been left at a train station by his parents and found days later by local police. He was 5 years old, half-starved and didn’t know his birth date. He didn’t have anything other than the dirty clothes we was wearing. The orphanage gave him clothes, a bed, a backpack (which he was very happy to show me) and they also gave him a birthday date. This stays with me. When I hear about our country’s consumption and overflowing landfills, when I’m grumpy because I can’t find something to wear, I stop and I ask myself, ‘what would that little 5 year-old boy say if he could see me now?’.
Our original goal was to have a charity which cumulates everything connected to the fashion industry under one umbrella, however this is too broad and difficult to achieve all of this alone. There are much larger organisations who do incredible work so for a lot of the area’s we wish to work on, collaboration is key. Together we can do so much.