Note: This article predates our launch as Worldly.
Leaders commit to helping women secure work in a more sustainable fashion industry.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. – Higg, the sustainability insights platform for the consumer goods industry, announced a new joint effort with Custom Collaborative, the training and mentorship organization that helps women build skills to succeed in the fashion industry and sustainability sector. Higg and Custom Collaborative are launching a fellowship program that will help low income and immigrant women advance into fashion industry roles, with a focus on sustainability.
Custom Collaborative hosts a free 15-week training program, a business incubator, and develops worker-owned cooperatives to enable participants to learn the art, craft, technique, and business of garment-making. After completing the training program, Custom Collaborative helps participants secure work through its business incubator, recently backed by luxury brand Chanel.
Higg will contribute to the program by helping participants secure work in sustainability through its broad network of customers and partners, and participating in Custom Collaborative’s community workshops on a variety of sustainability topics. As the platform used by the majority of leading brands and retailers to manage environmental and social impact, Higg will join other industry professionals in sharing institutional knowledge on topics including environmentally preferred materials, sustainable product design, responsible supply chain management, corporate sustainability, and more.
Custom Collaborative recently received attention in Times Square as a leading NGO elevating Black and Brown representation in fashion. On International Women’s Day, the organization launched its I AM WOMAN campaign, a fundraiser to support participants of its ninth training cohort. Proceeds will ensure participants have access to the proper tools, transportation, and technology to succeed in the program. Higg has committed to match 100% of contributions to the I AM WOMAN campaign, up to $10,000.
“As a public benefit company, Higg takes seriously the role we should play in broadening the talent and perspectives at the intersection of technology, sustainability, and fashion. We are excited to work with Custom Collaborative and to offer our unique platform and extensive network to help create a future fashion industry that we’re all proud to be a part of,” said Higg CEO Jason Kibbey.
“To achieve true change, the fashion industry must hold itself accountable and focus on sustainability principles, which include representation, inclusion, and equity. This presents an opportunity to take a stand for fair labor practices. Many influential apparel brands use Higg to track social and environmental impact, and we’re excited to see how Custom Collaborative can accelerate their commitment to substantive positive change in the fashion industry,” said Custom Collaborative Executive Director Ngozi Okaro.
About Custom Collaborative
Custom Collaborative is a New York-based nonprofit social enterprise serving no/low-income and immigrant women with training and ongoing support in the art, craft, and business of ethical fashion design, and production. Founded in 2016, Custom Collaborative’s Training Institute, Business Incubator, and Fashion That Works cooperative development programs offer women skills and opportunities for successful entrepreneurship and viable careers in a sustainable apparel industry. Custom Collaborative advocates for fashion workers’ rights to fair wages and conditions in an industry reliant on the labor of Black and brown women. A core belief at Custom Collaborative is that both environmental stewardship and human rights are co-equal principles of sustainable fashion.