Conscious capitalism: how to be a fashion brand that facilitates change
by William Adoasi, CEO and Chief Designer at Vitae London
Behind everything we do there has to be a deeper purpose. Fashion drives and shapes ideas globally, and we should be doing it not just for industry, but for businesses as a whole. As fashion brands seek to deliver beautiful pieces that can push the boundaries of design, we also need to consider how we can embrace a business model that pushes the norms of mainstream capitalism. Conscious capitalism can facilitate this transition and support a business model that is not only profitable, but that encourages social and economic change. Here are some ways fashion brands can embrace conscious capitalism and make social responsibility the chic way of doing business.
Examine your use of profits
Since clothing and accessories brands generate income, it’s always important to watch what you do with them. For example, some brands linked to the cause donate a portion of each sale to help support children in education. Some provide products to those in need. Others take an environmental approach using sustainable materials and processes. When the company and staff know that they have a higher calling and that there is a purpose attached to their existence as a brand besides simply making a profit, these values will continue to guide and inform the taking. business decision-making for the betterment of society.
Try to be more aware in the production of goods
Fashion brands that pay a little more to manufacture their products and choose to work with ethical manufacturers can create economic empowerment for these employees. For example, this may mean making sure that the factories you work with do not engage in child labor. Being selective about where you manufacture and how your products are made is extremely important to this local population. Remember to share this detail with your customers, as they will be more willing to pay a little more knowing that the production of the goods has been ethical and in good faith.
Look who you employ
See how your business can provide tangible avenues of employment to underserved communities or to groups or regions that have fewer economic opportunities. This is another way of adopting a conscious capitalist business mindset. It may be a longer path to production as you may need to invest more in staff training and there may be other hurdles but once overcome it is amazing to create jobs and opportunities for them. under-represented or unsupported communities.
Collaborate and support
One of the very nature of capitalism is to create a monopoly mindset that seeks only to favor one as opposed to many. Another way to be more aware of our capitalism is to look beyond the constraint of typical capitalism and seek to be more collaborative. Look at other brands that are emerging and, instead of seeing them only as competition (and maybe even wanting to eliminate them), try to add value to their business. Often times by doing this you find that they can add value to yours as well. In this, you create a space and an environment where more people can win.
Why adopt conscious capitalism?
In addition to being better for the world, conscious capitalism is good for business. About 88 percent of consumers want brands to help improve their environmental and social impact. This means that they are looking for and are more likely to buy from a brand that looks beyond profit and strives to create a better world through social change. Fashion brands need to think about what social causes they can tackle and remember to engage in cause-related marketing to help consumers know about your efforts.
Conscious capitalism is still in fashion
The fashion industry has a unique opportunity to be leaders in the conscious capitalism movement. We touch so many areas of the global economy, including labor and manufacturing, that we can have a huge impact not only on the fashion industry, but also on how others view business. By considering how we use our profits, how we produce our goods, who we employ and how we treat others in industry, we can create an industry standard that pushes the boundaries of traditional capitalism. We can still do this and be profitable, especially since a majority of consumers want to engage and buy from brands that help them tackle important social causes. The fashion industry can change the world and make conscious capitalism as stylish as our clothes and accessories.
About William Adoasi
William Adoasi is an Anglo-Ghanaian entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, philanthropist and fashion designer, founder and CEO of the innovative watch brand, Vitae London. He was billed as one of Forbes’ Top 25 Black British Businessmen to Watch, mentored by billionaire business mogul Richard Branson and was selected as the 2016 Virgin StartUp Ambassador. His watches have been sold in over 30 countries and have transformed many lives by providing over 5,000 educational resources to underprivileged children across sub-Saharan Africa with every purchase. In addition to Vitae London, William has three other successful business ventures in media, music and business consulting.