This podcast episode I know you are going to love! We interviewed Shahd Alasaly from Blue Meets Blue. This brand is making a difference in the world, one stitch at a time. Blue Meets Blue hires female refugees that come to the US running away from war-torn areas like Syria. They help them integrate by having a job they can be proud of and becoming part of a team with an inspiring mission. Help each other, work together and make beautiful garments.
THE STORY OF BLUE MEETS BLUE
The name brings an image to our minds once Shahd explained to us what is behind. When refugees have to flee their countries often they have to cross the Mediterranean Sea where the blue of the sky meets the blue of the sea. It is a journey to freedom and to hope but is full of uncertainty and fears. Will we reach the other side? What is going to happen to us and our families?
This fashion label started in 2015 in Chicago and they are everything about ethical, humanitarian and slow fashion. Where fashion meets Humanitarianism is their motto.
We met Shahd at the event called Pret-a- Cover organized by the Islamic Fashion and Design Council. In the US, the ethical fashion movement is taking momentum. People are happy to help the cause while at the same time they are getting a beautiful garment.
Initially, Shahd studied International Psychology and her thesis was about How to assist the refugees to integrate and be happy. As you can imagine, being able to find a job is critical in the process. It gives them a sense of dignity and belonging, allows them to provide for their families and also allows them to meet people and start having friends.
She learned from her grandmother how to sew when she was a child. Later, she took courses in fashion when she felt this was the right way to go and to help. Blue Meets Blue was about to be born.
THE LANGUAGE BARRIER
At Blue Meets Blue you can find refugees from different areas around the world. It is a bit of a Babel Tower. Shahd explained to us how they are coping with it. As they normally come through a relocation agency, they help them with classes. At the atelier, they have to use English to communicate and that makes them start using the language faster. There is a feeling of real community and everyone help each other.
Blue Meets Blue is produced 100% in the US and they only use high-quality fabrics. They are proud to say that they pay fairly good salaries to their employees. Of course, all this impacts their bottom line. They are a luxury high-end ethical fashion label and their price is in the range.
We asked how the story behind helps Blue Meets Blue getting more sales. Shahd is very honest. “If you have a beautiful story but your product is not good, people will not buy it. That is why we focus very much on having an excellent product”.
Some brands are using the terms “ethical” wrongly and sometimes this leads to certain mistrust. But once they know your story and they get to know you, they are able to see through.
If you are considering shifting to ethical fashion, Shahd recommends to do it for the right reasons and not because of potential sales. Do it because it is what feels right and it is the right thing to do.
THE TRUMP ELECTION
Trump election was a shock to many of us. The messages of isolationism and America for the Americans had a response in many cities. Chicago, in particular, is a sanctuary city. With Trump in power, there are a lot of people that realized that the message of hate was not for them. And as Shahd relates “It happened just the opposite… People were reaching out, offering themselves to help in whatever way they could…” In my very personal opinion, this is what makes America Great again Mr. Trump.
“It happened just the opposite… People were reaching out, offering themselves to help in whatever way they could…”
When it comes to migration laws, the US has restricted some countries in the region. They fear terrorism. Shahd says that Homeland Security statistics show that no acts of terrorism were done by refugees. They have a very strict vetoed process, so it is not easy to enter as a refugee. Education will be key to promote peace, tolerance, and acceptance.
ABOUT FAST FASHION
Maybe our world is moving too fast, maybe we don’t care as much, maybe we got used to having far too many clothes without questioning why they were so cheap. After Rana Plaza and some other disasters involving fast fashion titans, the world saw there was an issue. We are so disconnected from one another. The supply chain is so long, and it has so many intermediaries that designers might not even know who is producing their fabrics or sewing their clothes. They might not know who is at the end of the chain, where or what conditions they live in, work or how much they get in their salary slips.
This is where fast fashion supply chains fall in order to keep very low prices. Slow fashion is a rising movement that cares for the many faces involved in the process, that prefers local production, that wants everyone to have a good well-paid job, that wants to educate us that things- especially good things- need their time to be created.
Blue meets Blue is part of this philosophy. Care is inherent in their every process.
Shahd mentions the docu-movie called The True Cost. Check it out here.
Now time to listen to this amazing interview. Put the headphones on and hit play!
OTHER DUBAI FASHION NEWS PODCAST YOU CAN’T MISS!
Maire is coming very soon to Dubai to teach her masterclass. Join her at CFD and learn everything from one of the best and most reputable fashion consultants in Europe. Check their link here.