BUCKLE & SEAM BRINGS ETHICS TO FASHION
CHALLENGING THE FACE OF THE CLOTHING INDUSTRY
In 2017, a completely unknown German brand, Buckle and Seam, launched its first collection of premium leather bags for men. They were 3 young founders, building a company from scratch, who didn’t want to sit back and accept the immoral practices of the fashion industry. They put all their knowledge and energy into designing a new landscape for the fashion of the future. Now, in 2018, Buckle and Seam has a team of 50 passionate individuals, who are not only designing, producing and bringing to market high quality leather bags for the modern man, but also helping to improve the economic prospects of the Third-World countries in which it works and help protect the environment for future generations.
The miracle of local craftsmanship
Having lived and travelled around South Asia, the founders left a part of their hearts in the region; the rich craftsmanship and aesthetic heritage will surely impress every traveller. The shocking truth is that 90% of high-end leather accessories are actually produced in a region without giving any recognition to the local masters. Relations between a brand and a manufacturer usually ends on the production phase; not every company is eager to look at the origins of the products. The Buckle & Seam team is instead proud to state that the bags are 'Designed in Berlin. Produced in Pakistan. Made for you'.
The idea behind this brand is not only to bring to market an amazing product, but fight for a better future of those, who sew, craft and put all their effort into these bags. The company has decided to acquire its own facility in Pakistan, providing safe and comfortable working conditions, similar to those workers experience in Europe. “The craftsmanship and all efforts should be appreciated. The workers spend most of their time at the facility and it’s our responsibility to make sure that it’s safe and fair.” says Georg Wolff – Founder. This company goes beyond fulfilling minimum standards, instead giving workers’ rights, ensuring workers’ safety and offering good wages in its facilities around Karachi. All craftsmen that work for Buckle & Seam have health insurance and sufficient monetary support is provided for their families too.
They also started donating 3% of its revenue to ANUM school. This was already enough to welcome more young students, hire the teachers and provide them with studying materials. Now, as the team sees the progress and happiness of the students, they want to achieve more. The owners have a clear vision of the girls’ education project and with the success of the brand are keen to expand upon it. The literacy rate in Pakistan is only 54.9%. Among women this figure is even lower at 45%. Many face daily discrimination and less than half have access to any form of education. It was a straightforward decision made by the Buckle & Seam team to provide access to education to those who without its help, might not look forward to a bright future.
“One of the best ways to invest in the future of the country is to bring opportunities to the children. I met an amazing lady who is running an ANUM school for girls, and I realised how hard it is for her to fight for equality and women’s rights.” comments Jena Bautmans – Creative Director & Co-Founder. ANUM not only teaches the girls’ numeracy and literacy but they are taught history, about hygiene and respect and tolerance, which makes the value of the education much higher. The school has developed an excellent reputation and cannot nearly accommodate all the demand it faces.
“It was never about just producing bags of premium quality; we were always aiming for more. Seeing the results of our work and the desire of the girls in the school to learn, seeing their first step on the way to a better future is the best motivation for us.” - says Marco Feelisch – Founder. In Autumn 2017, they managed to cover 100% of the schools running costs, improved the lighting system and the classroom environment. Buckle & Seam’s future plans include renting a bigger facility in order to welcome more children or even founding its own school.
Currently, with this support, there are 71 children currently attending ANUM School and 40 young professionals working hard and getting a fair wage for their stunning work. A new teacher as recently joined the education team and all teachers’ salaries have gone up by thirty percent. As this brand continues to grow, the team is continuing to look into other projects in Pakistan where they can help as much as they can.