ABOUT THE COMPANY
Hessnatur is an ethically focused design company founded by Heinz Hess in 1976, a man whose belief was that “pure was better, organic was healthier, that man and nature should exist in harmony.”
In his biography it says that the breakup of Heinz’ career “… coincided with an ecological surge within the country. Germany was shaken by the oil crisis, and many people began to reflect upon the worth of the natural world. Many were deeply troubled by the realization that human beings were making themselves ill through poisons and synthetics, and destroying nature in the process. More and more people wanted to nourish and care for themselves wholesomely, and live their lives in a healthy, clean way.”
Though he died in 2006 his dream continued to create a company with a conscience. They are a not-for-profit organization producing beautiful, natural, organic clothing.
The company is based in a village called Butzbach in Germany, in a building designed and built to reduce environmental impact and save energy. Such as by using of non-toxic paints and materials.
Hessnatur are seen as influential in setting the standard for humane labor conditions in the clothing industry and developed a system for humane production inspection with the Clean Clothes Campaign. It was in 2005 that Hessnatur became the first German company to be certified by the FairWear organization..
As demand increased for conscious clothing such as Hessnatur apparel Hess began to initiate organic cotton farming projects. Since 35 years ago Hessnatur mission was to create pure natural clothing that is pure, natural and fair from the crop cultivation all the way through to production. So this strategic movement led Hess to create the world’s first cotton project in Sekem, Egypt, and after that similar projects in Peru, Senegal, Turkey and Burkina Faso. The cotton fibre are organically grown and cultivated without artificial fertilizers and pesticides that are harmful to not only those who wear the cotton but that can also be extremely harmful to those farmers who grow it.
HIFA2012_Ausschreibung eFlyer image – stevenjamesscott.com/blog
Hessnatur tell us that
“Respect for the planet and for its people is fundamental to the way we do business, interact with our partners and each other. We will not compromise our environmental integrity or our design aesthetics. We believe you should know everything about the clothes you choose. Everything. That’s why our entire “textile chain” – from the way the fibers are grown, to how the fabrics and clothes are produced, to the conditions of the people who cultivate and manufacture them – is transparent. We don’t create nice stories, just beautiful clothes.”
Either by working to change living conditions in developing countries or creating opportunities for local organic farms, Hessnatur stands firm on their belief that they can change the world by one project followed by another. These would be those like their Organic Linen project in Germany, their NEPRA Project in Nepal, the infamous Grameen Project in Bangladesh, to name a few. Even more relative to Africa Fashion Guide and our readers is their Organic Cotton program in Burkina Faso.
By partnering with the well-respected independent development company Helvetas, a team of agricultural advisers, financing by project partners they began this Organic Cotton in Burkina Faso in 2005 with a goal to “help West African farmers create a brighter future”. The hand-picked organic cotton guarantees more jobs to the community as well as assuring the highest quality cotton. The cotton seed is pre-financed by Hessnatur and Helvetas who also pay for the necessary organic certification, and the farmers receive a purchase guarantee for their entire harvest from them plus an organic and fair trade premium of 40% above the price for conventional cotton which gives value to the product they grow.
Through setting this up more than 1000 farmers cultivated organic cotton on nearly 3000 acres and provide the farmers with sustainable farming methods on how to protect the environment. For example up to 50% of a farmers farm is cultivated to grow organic cotton and fruit, vegetables, peanuts and other crop is grown on the remainder of the land. This method of multi-crop farming is a great safeguard for the farmer against typical market uncertainties and is a way to also ensure optimum utilisation of farmer resources. In January 2008, for their work in Burkina Faso, Hessnatur was rewarded with the Public Eye Positive Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland.
ABOUT THE AWARD
The great work as Hessnatur now brings the 2012 edition of their Humanity in Fashion Award. They created the first award to help endorse the realization that fashion “can and should be a reflection of the balance between man and nature.” . This competition stems from the respect Hessnatur have gained from being leaders and pioneers in innovative sustainability projects such as initiating the first worldwide organic cotton farming project. They are examples of transparent textile supply chains, and are praised for their integrity in caring for the environment and the workers who produce their apparel.
So this competition is directed to rising young designers from across Europe with a vision and a commitment to reflect their talent and creativity by creating a womenswear collection that responds to the reality of global crisis. Such designers are invited to participate in the first design award for green fashion. The goal of the Humanity in Fashion Award is to create greater visibility for ecological and fair clothing. It aims to prove that you don’t always need to make a decision to choose between trend driven fashion and sustainable fashion but wishes to show that the two can sit together aesthetically.
The award is for clothes designed with sustainability at the core and celebrates clothing that celebrates comfort as well as function and creativity. The winner of the Humanity in Fashion Award will possess the ability to create ethical, ecological and wearable fashion and for that will receive a 25,000 euros award and an exclusive contract to create a women’s capsule collection for Hessnatur.
Eligibility for entering this award:
To be eligible to apply for this competition, you must be a fashion school graduate or recently established a business with your own collection within the last 2 years. A design team is counted as one applicant and multiple applications are not permitted. If you fits this category then we encourage you to apply. It would be great to see designers who focus on African production and/or sourcing entering this competition. Think outside of the box but make a stand with your African focused designs with an ethical and/or fairtrade focus.
The deadline is September 15th 2011
Download the application form from this link.