The Justice in Fashion Youth Board was formed with the aim of a youth team raising awareness about injustice in the fashion industry and creating positive change by helping to educate, engage and empower their Gen Z peers.
During the summer of 2021 numerous candidates were interviewed and six were selected to join the first JIF youth board, each having a passion for improving the fashion industry and raising awareness and reaching out to the youth and advising them.
In September 2021 the youth board members Natasha, Candela, Joy Anisia, Giorgia and Regina officially joined the JIF team, each bringing something different to the youth board with their previous experiences and interests, for example some had legal, design or business backgrounds.
During their six months at JIF, the youth board have been busy, speaking at the JIF fashion show, creating social media content and working on other individual and team projects within JIF.
The youth board members all enjoyed their time with JIF and have included below their main takeaways of their time spent with JIF and thank the team at JIF for all their help, especially their line managers - Erica and Mel.
Four members of the youth board have given their thoughts on the six months they have spent with JIF.
Over the course of six months with Justice in Fashion, and more especially with the Youth Board, we discovered how fast words can transform into deeds when everyone is on the same page. When presented with a task, good time management, compassion, and research skills go a long way. We, the Youth Board, have been successful in paving the road for future peers who want to make their voices acknowledged and join Justice in Fashion.
It has always been a collaborative effort between us and the JIF board, through which we have grasped the essence of what it means to be an activist, to fight for a cause you believe in, even if fighting meant just spreading the message. Lots of meetings have come and gone, and plenty of ideas have been scribbled on scraps of paper, constantly revealing new interpretations of what we were exploring by combining the perspective of a law student with that of a fashion designer, and the one of a fashion business student.
Time has flown by too quickly, and only now, at the end of our journey, have we realised that this is not the end for us as a group. We will always be with each other and with Justice in Fashion in our hearts, continuing to push ourselves to grow, knowing that if we have a challenge or an idea that we want to see materialise, we can always turn to Justice in Fashion.
Finally, we would like to thank our Justice in Fashion main supporters throughout this journey: Mel Manning, Katie Vassiliou, and Erica Charles, as well as the other JIF members, for the warm welcome to their organisation, helping us evolve on a professional and personal level, and providing us with a platform to spread awareness about the inner workings of the Fashion Industry.
My name is Giorgia, and I had the extraordinary opportunity to meet the Justice In Fashion team as part of an internship program with my university. I have got so inspired by such a committed organisation that fights for social justice, that I have then decided to continue my journey by applying to be a member of the Youth Board. Through 6 months I have learned a lot about social issues around the world and especially in the UK, and taken to heart the cause of raising awareness about exploitation of workers lives. Moreover, being part of the Youth Board allowed me to participate to events for the first time, such as the Justice In Fashion - Fashion Show, exposing my thoughts and commitment to this organisation and actively contribute to spreading the word by shouting it myself in the first place. It has been an incredible journey with Justice in Fashion that began one year ago, and I care about sharing 4 main takeaways from this experience:
1. I have experienced working in a team to deliver projects and meet deadlines, which enhanced my time management and communication skills. I have always felt free to share my ideas within the group, which made me feel part of a community, where we all help each other to reach a goal, which is fantastic!
2. I have worked to deliver social media contents that reflected the organisation’s branding, and reflected on strategies that would work best to effectively reach the desired engagement from the audience.
3. I have acquired knowledge of severe social issues which I was not aware of, and felt powerful on having the opportunity to contribute on exposing them and calling for social action.
4. I have met wonderful people from diverse backgrounds within the Youth Board and the Board.
I believe a part of my heart will always be with Justice In Fashion, simply because is an amazing organisation formed by people who put an incredible amount of effort on it, not for an income, but because truly believes in a change, and this reflects my values.
I would like to start by thanking all of those I have met through JIF, for their friendship and increasing my awareness of issues that need improving within the fashion industry.
Coming from a legal background, I joined JIF as I am passionate about raising awareness and being a catalyst for positive change for protection and accountability for workers, consumers and the environment. I was intrigued by the JIF youth board and how it would target Gen Z. As a Gen Z myself, I understand that mainstream media is not the only way of engaging young people to drive positive change and I have often felt frustrated by the lack of availability for youth in achieving changes in the status-quo.
During my time at JIF, I hope I brought to the youth board my passion for human and labour rights and environmental protection, as well as my interest in education of consumers to feel confident and empowered in their fashion choices. I sincerely believe the work of JIF will help improve the fashion industry, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at JIF and have included my four takeaways of my experience.
1) Meeting likeminded individuals
By joining JIF and its youth board, I have been able to meet likeminded individuals who also want to see improvement within the fashion industry. The diverse backgrounds of those involved in JIF give different perspectives on the fashion industry. For example, I have met those with fashion and business backgrounds amongst others; this diversity promotes interesting ideas and conversations about how the fashion industry can be improved.
2) Learning more about the designing process behind social media posts
As part of my work with the JIF, I designed a 3-part blog series and accompanying social media posts. Prior to joining JIF, I had very little experience in the design process and I learnt how to structure and design an effective and informative blog and social media posts, as well as conducting research.
One of my first roles for JIF involved, speaking at the JIF fashion show with the other youth board members. Although I have spoken in public before, this kind of presentation was more informal than the legal debating and chairmanship I am used to. Prior to the fashion show, I carried out research for my speech and slides, and worked with other youth board members on the overall presentation. On the night, I found the audience really friendly and receptive and I enjoyed giving my part of the presentation.
4) Learning information about injustice within the fashion industry
My biggest takeaway from joining JIF and its youth board, is the overall increase in my knowledge and awareness of injustice within the fashion industry and how to promote improvement and change of the status-quo.
My name is Candela and for the past 6 months, I have had the opportunity to be part of the Justice in Fashion as one of the members of the First Youth Board of the organization. Speaking from my heart, I could have done much more for the organization, for its members and, especially for my wonderful team. However, I feel very grateful to be among the chosen ones to start shaping what I consider will be a big and bright great future for the fashion industry and mostly, thanks to an organization like JIF. Being surrounded by such an amazing group of brave warriors, coming from completely different backgrounds, with different pathways but with a single objective has been truly inspiring to keep fighting for what I think is worth it to fight: a fair, equal, and diversified fashion industry.
Looking back to the last months, to August precisely, I would describe the beginning of my journey as if I was on the top of the mountain, feeling powerful and full of energy and commitment to face this big challenge. However, with time, I felt that I had been too ambitious and that I haven’t been able to add as much value as I thought at the beginning, which I sadly regret. One of my biggest virtues, but also my biggest weakness is to not be able to say no, and this year has been the reflection of it, as I had more commitments than time and energy to take upon them, and in the end, I haven’t been able to achieve everything I was hoping to.
Saying this, I feel more than grateful as I have always felt welcome and understood within my team and my team leaders. Also, I would like to highlight the fashion show and the emotions I felt when I realized how many people were passionate but also committed to driving the change. Even though this is the time when I need to step down from the Fashion Board due to my lack of time and commitment to the team, I would like to offer myself to get more involved in your network and offer my time and resources to contribute to improving the industry that I love.
To finish with, I would love to share my biggest intakes from JIF, The Team, and The Youth Board:
Open my eyes, mind, and heart to speak up for the voiceless. Raising awareness about the importance of small actions within the big pictures and providing resources to educate and empower younger generations to drive the change and shape the fashion industry under sustainable, ethical, and diversified values.
Feeling of belonging. Having the choice to be part and feeling welcome into an international team with different backgrounds and pathways but at the same time, working hand-to-hand towards a common objective. The kindness of each member to help, contribute, and fight is something I feel truly inspired by.
I have acquired skills and knowledge of real cases, certification, transparency, good practices, law enforcement, pro-active attitudes… and acting as a bridge to network with brands and companies with transparent and ethical values.
My biggest intake from this month is the team. Passionate individuals invest their free time and what they believe is important; people that care about the future of the industry and the people hiding behind the façade.
All in all, I need to thank Mel and Erica for the opportunity, the whole team for their support and inspiration and Justice in Fashion for our commitment to the fight for a bright new future for garment workers.
JIF’s thoughts on its first Youth Board
The JIF team are delighted by the success of our first youth board. The outgoing JIF youth board with their diverse backgrounds and experiences, and all female on this occasion have all brought their unique experiences and talent to JIF. This group showcases a bright hope for future improvements in the fashion industry, with their passion for creating change and raising awareness amongst their peers on how this can be achieved.
The JIF team thank the youth board for all their hard work and wish them the best for the future, and hope to keep in touch and work together with them on future projects.