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Safia Minney interviews Emma Watson as they visit the women at Swallows, one of People Tree's Fair Trade partners in Bangladesh.
SAFIA MINNEY What has been your experience of Bangladesh?
EMMA WATSON I wasn't sure what to expect when we arrived in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. I was expecting it to ber very busy, and hot, but the first thing that really struck me was the noise, and the traffic!
Our journey from the airpoort was unlike anything I have ever experienced: no one sticks to the lanes; everyone constantly beeps their horns and generally ignores traffic lights! Soon after arriving we visited the slums in Dhaka where the garment factory workers live.
Again, I had some preconceived ideas but nothing prepared me for the reality. It was upsetting to see the conditions in which these people live, but I was incredibly moved by their spirit and friendliness in spite of such apparent adversity.
SAFIA I guess one of the reasons why these workers in Bangladesh have been protesting for a living wage is because of their appalling living conditions in the slumns. Can you describe what facilities people have there?
EMMA Facilities? There are no facilities there to speak of. In the building we visited, I saw one shhower, one cleaning place and one hole in the floor which was the toilet. This was for the whole floor.
That floor had maybe eight or nine rooms coming off it, and each room housed a whole family, that is 32 people to one toilet.
SAFIA Their minimum wage is 1,62 taka - so that's about £6 per week. They're campaigning for around three times that much.
EMMA Even though the cost of living is much less in Bangladesh than the UK, £6 a week is appaling, especially considering the hours that they are working. They seem to work around the clock and still do not have enough money to buy food to feeed their family, or live any kind of life at all.
I really do hope that they achieve their goal of 18 a week. If they can, it would be life changing for them.
Following my summer collection for People Tree, I wanted to visit Bangladesh with Safia to see the difference Fair Trade makes.
The contrast between the slums in Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) where the people who work in the garment factories live and Swallows (the Fair Trade community supported by People Tree) was all too apparent.
You can read a short interview of my thoughts on the trip below, but I still find it hard to convey what Fair Trade means to those producing our fashion - it's just so impressive to see how the women have used Fair Trade clothing to escape poverty and empower themselves and their children. I was very moved and inspired.
Although I wasn't centrally involved in the design of this collection, I had great fun in helping Safia select some gorgeous Fair Trade textiles - a dogtooth hand woven check, cable knits, soft organic jerseys and the first Fair Trade hand woven brushed checked fabric which has been made into easy tulip skirts, dresses and shirts.
There are even a few party dresses, such as the little black satin tulip dress which can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion! I have picked out some of my favourite pieces which I have modelled for People Tree.
I want to congratulate People Tree on this new range and really hope people continue to buy these clothes and to support their great work in the promotion of Fair Trade.
EMMA WATSON'S People Tree collection will make its catwalk debut this September - not at London Fashion Week but at The Prince of Wales' eco festival, A Garden Party To Make A Difference.
The fashion show of the actress' spring/summer 2011 collection will take place on September 12 at 3.30pm and will be held in the historic Friary Court of St James' Palace.
Watson created her first collection for the Fair Trade and organic clothing label last year, frustrated by the lack of clothing aimed at people her age.
"I'm so thrilled that People Tree will be showing the spring/summer collection at A Garden Party To Make A Difference. I think The Prince of Wales' initiative is such a brilliant idea and I'm thrilled," says Watson of her involvement with the event - at which she will introduce the show via a video message as she will be unable to attend in person.
The twelve-day festival will also feature performances from comedians and musicians.
"This festival aims to give people of all ages a fun day out," says HRH The Prince of Wales. [Source]
Harry Potter star Emma Watson will unveil her new collection of ecologically sound fashion at Prince Charles's Garden Party To Make A Difference.
The 20-year-old actress is the latest big-name backer for the event and will show the clothes she has helped design for fair trade fashion company People Tree.
Her autumn-winter designs will be unveiled next week, with Watson giving the first exclusive preview here, right. But visitors to the Prince's eco-fest will get the chance to see what will be in the shops next spring.
Watson said: “I'm so thrilled that People Tree will be showing the spring-summer collection at the garden party. I think the Prince of Wales's initiative is such a brilliant idea and I'm thrilled.”
Watson became a creative adviser to London-based People Tree after admiring one of its T-shirts and being introduced to its founder, Safia Minney.
The actress has recorded a greeting for the event but she will not be able to attend in person as she will be continuing with her studies at university in America.
People Tree organised the fashion show after organisers of the garden party made contact.
Company spokesman Antony Waller said: “We suggested doing something with Emma's collection because the garden party is an event for families and people of all ages.” [Source]