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The Walpole Awards

It was a tremendous joy to receive the prestigious Walpole award for the most socially responsible luxury brand of the year. It is a wonderful thing that there is even such a category among the awards, showing such changing attitudes in the business. Perhaps in the past the idea of luxury stood at odds with ethical business practice, but it is so exciting that today we can see strong moves by many companies to change practices in all areas.

I am so proud that the work we have done with traditional communities who have little access to outside markets, with the Afghan craftsmen and women with Turquoise Mountain who have limited opportunities, and the work with the Fair trade foundation and ethical gold mine in Bolivia may have helped raise awareness about working with people in a different way.

All designers in this creative business of fashion owe so much of our inspiration and even techniques to traditional and indigenous communities, it is important to acknowledge their talents and roles. They live far from the international scene in which we operate but I’m trying to bridge the gap between these communities and the global market in a fair and transparent way. We call it ‘ethical’ but it really is about relationships with extraordinary people in extraordinary places, we learn from each other. And we as a business, will continue to be committed to this approach

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