We were recently contacted by a new company called Purple Impression that is focused on providing ethical fashion that gives back to women in need.
After speaking with the founder, Drakshan Khan, on the phone and hearing more about her passion and vision, we thought it would be great to let Hijabtrendz readers know more about about them and how they are working to make the world a better place.
What is purple impression and what does the name mean or come from?
Purple Impression is an online ethical apparel brand founded by two sisters. Purple is an inclusive color that does not relate to a particular group. It also stands for Royal signifying the craft of hand embroidery which was exclusively done for the Mughals in the past. Impression, to us is the impact ethical choices can make on the people making our clothes. So when people wear our clothes they leave a royal impression by supporting fairness and giving back.
Can you explain what the goal of your businesses is and what made you start it?
The goal of our brand is to bring a positive change in the lives of the people making our clothes. With the Ethical Stitch Line specifically we are working with women who are either spinsters, widows or just battling the hardships of living under poverty. In many cases they are the sole earners of the family. It is our firm belief that employment and fair wage can give these women the financial independence needed to pull themselves out of these hardships. We don’t see ourselves as simply selling clothes but the ideas and values behind those clothes.
Is there a specific event or moment that inspired you to start this business?
What do you tell a 24 year old girl whose a victim of domestic abuse to do? It’s a simple answer: leave your abusive husband. But what do you do when that girls mother acknowledges that her daughter is suffering with this man but refuses to take her in, because she has six more daughters to feed. Stories like these are not uncommon in developing countries. As kids we spent many summers, helplessly hearing stories like these. We couldn’t do anything about it then, but we can now. I’d say it was a built up of the past 15 years that pushed us to do something about women empowerment. A women can better understand another women’s pain, and what better way to help another sister then through the thing we enjoy most; our clothes.
You mention ethical fashion, that seems to be quite the buzzword these days. Does it mean where the fabric comes from, or the labor?
It is both. For right now we are focusing more on the labor and specifically employment for women. As an ethical brand we are trying to get as close to the source as possible and are currently working directly with the mills where the fabric is made to ensure fair practices.
How can you ensure that an item is ethically made with regards to the treatment of the workers and the environment?
We try to be as transparent as we can with our production process. With the Ethical Stitch Line we have taken the work to the homes of the women we are working with. There is a stigma behind women going out to work in a male dominated society like Pakistan, so the ability to work from home is big for our artisans. They also appreciate it more, because this way they are able to take care of their family and work at their own time. Furthermore, as I stated earlier we are in the process of working with certified Fair Trade factories.
Do Muslims have a responsibility when it comes to purchasing and supporting products that are made ethically?
Absolutely, business ethics is huge in Islam and as our hadith says, eat from the halal and tayyab. Our scholars explain tayyab to be good/pure, that which is coming from the right sources. So we have a responsibility to question the sources of what we consume and make conscious buying decisions. This is not just limited to what we eat but also to what we wear. We live in an era of disposable fashion and are never taught to question the industry, when the reality is that countless lives are lost, many workers mistreated, made to work long hours without bathroom breaks. All in the name to stock the store with the new weeks finds.
Our Ethical Stitch Line is completely made by us. We can trace it back to where the fabric is made. Our current factory made line is made in factories that we have looked into deeply, but we are in the process of either taking complete production in our own hands or working with certified fair trade factories.
What is your ultimate dream or goal with your business?
To have a measurable economic impact on the people we are working with, especially women.
How do you think people can become more educated about these kinds of products? It seems like a lot of people look at the price tag and not really in how items were made or where they come from.
Its normal not to question the source, especially in the fashion industry. We are taught that the more we consume, the more we create jobs for the workers in third world countries. This is true, but at what cost?. Workers do have jobs at the garment factories which is better than starving, but they make barely enough to put food on the table or to support a family. As citizens of a developed nation, I feel that we can hold ourselves to higher standards. Our clothes have a huge social and environmental impact. If you are buying an $8 jean, how much do you think the workers are getting paid? Consumers today are educated and learned. There are a lot of resources on the internet, and many sustainable and ethical brands online that are trying to make a difference. With slow fashion, Less is More. So even If an item is expensive its making a positive difference in the world in its own way.
To find out more about the company you can check out their website.