Meet | Ania Zoltkowski

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Meet Ania Zoltkowski, an Australian ethical & sustainable fashion designer with sights set high, to see fashion used for positive social change. Ania has been one of the 12 students accepted worldwide to study the MA Fashion Futures program at the world-renowned London College of Fashion. Ania intends to focus her research on creating responsible clothing supply chains that value human rights as much as profits, and your support can help her achieve this...

There are currently 21 million people in the world who are victims of forced labour within the clothing & textile industry. Garment workers are promised a life of emancipation but instead they face some of the worst human rights abuses, where they are forced to work excessive hours, in unsafe working conditions, and are not paid a living wage.

Appalled by this current situation within the fashion supply chain, Byron Bay designer and ethical fashion activist Ania Zoltkowski, is determined to work towards an ethical fashion industry. After several years of studying fashion design in Brisbane and Amsterdam, she has spent 6 years working internationally within design, production, textiles and sales, for Vivienne Westwood, Florence Deschamps, David Szeto and Body Peace Bamboo.

Last year she launched a womenswear brand Zoltko, in order to help marginalised women in India. Using only environmentally friendly fabrics, the clothing is manufactured in collaboration with a fair-trade workshop in northern India that employ women from slum areas and provide them with fair work, fair wages, safe working conditions, interest free loans for education, empowerment workshops and opportunities for skill and career advancement. The aim of the workshop is to create social empowerment for these women through creating financial independence for them, and building upon their skills and self-confidence.

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“My desire to create a difference within this industry grew from my experience of working in India with some of the most marginalised women. I spent time working at a fair-trade manufacturing workshop, that provides fair work and fair wages to women from slum areas, and through this creates social empowerment and financial independence for them. Fashion can be used as a means for positive social change, and does not have to exploit others. I want to spread this message and inspire others to manufacture responsibly.”

Inspired through this work, Ania has been one of the 12 students accepted worldwide to study the MA Fashion Futures program at the world-renowned London College of Fashion. As the only MA course in the world specialising in fashion, sustainability, ethics & innovation, and under mentorship from the industry’s leading professors, Ania plans to focus her research on creating ethical solutions to current supply chain issues.

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“For an average item of clothing only between 0.5-3% of the cost goes to the worker who made it. Workers are not being paid a living wage, despite producing for some of the largest western brands.”

Ania plans to present solutions and new ways of working within a 'guidebook' for designers, brands, educational facilities and industry to use. The aim is to offer businesses implementable strategies and connections between manufacturers and suppliers, that ensure ethical and sustainable working practices. This guidebook will be created in mentorship with some of the worlds leading sustainable fashion experts and professors, and will be beneficial to any fashion brand wanting to innovate responsibly. “I want to see exploitation eradicated from the fashion industry, and I’m hoping that this research will educate and inspire others to create more thoughtfully.”

After her studies Ania aims to help clothing brands implement ethical and sustainable systems within their supply chains and businesses. She wants to become a supply chain specialist, not only assisting brands in their practices, but also working with NGO’s and governments to create legislations that value the life of each worker.

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FOLLOW ANIA'S JOURNEY

Because of the high fees involved with international study, and lack of funding options available to Australians studying in the UK, Ania is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help her fund some of the required tuition fees. You can view and support the campaign HERE. Every small donation counts, and would help Ania to achieve her dream of contributing to an ethical fashion industry. You can also follow Ania and her journey toward building ethical supply chains via:

Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/zoltkothelabel

Twitter | @Aniazoltkowski

LinkedIn | Ania Zoltkowski

Instagram | @zoltkothelabel

Zoltko Website | http://www.zoltkothelabel.com

Crowdfunding Campaign | HERE