At Remake, we love connecting with brands that bridge the gap between makers and consumers. In keeping with our back to school theme, we are shining a spotlight on UNIFORM, a brand that’s taking the one-for-one business model a step further.
UNIFORM is a new project by the Fair Trade manufacturer Liberty & Justice, the first fair-trade apparel manufacturer in Africa. The brand puts an innovative twist on the traditional “one-for-one” model that TOMS and Warby Parker have made so popular. UNIFORM does it a bit differently—they employ women from Liberia to make tees for you and school uniforms for children in their community.
Owning the brand’s beautifully-made basics like the “world’s softest tee” is also a way to create safe jobs for women in Liberia’s struggling post-Ebola economy.
The brand is the brainchild of Chid Liberty, the man behind Africa’s first Fair Trade apparel factory. In 2014, during the peak of the disease transmission, schools were closed and businesses suffered. Chid’s own apparel factory was forced to close its doors, leaving many women jobless. When the country was declared Ebola-free in May of this year, Liberty decided to tackle two problems at once—create jobs and get children back to school.
With a small amount of capital and the leftover materials from his factory, Liberty set-up Africa’s first fair trade factory. The factory employs women (many of whom are mothers) to sew luxury T-shirts and school uniforms.
A uniform for a school child is not a luxury in Liberia; it is a necessity that is mandated by the government. Being unable to afford a uniform is one of the reasons for low-attendance in Liberian schools.
Liberty dreamed up the perfect one-for-one model: for each T-shirt sold, his company donates a uniform to a Liberian child.
UNIFORM’s kickstarter campaign this spring was a resounding success and renewed our faith in humanity. The company quickly reached its goal to send 8,000 children back to school with a new uniform. Ultimately Liberty hopes to donate 50,000 uniforms by the end of 2015. (You can pre-order a tee and help them reach that number).
Clothing is meant to be worn and loved; it is as much a basic necessity as it is a channel of individuality. With UNIFORM’s first line of tees and oxfords, you’d be making a bold statement about who you are and what you stand for. C’mon who doesn’t want to stand for Liberty and Justice?