Things are really moving for Fairtrade cotton on the school uniform front.
The Biggest Fairtrade School Uniform Order in History??!!
In October 2017 Imberhorne School, West Sussex, a Fair Achiever school, placed with Koolskools what we think could be the largest ever single order for Fairtrade cotton school uniform in history – 3,250+ school-logo’ed polos!!
This wonderful Fairtrade-supporting school are converting Years 7, 8 and 9 to Fairtrade cotton polos for the school year 2018/19, the first wave of which will be supplied in May/June 2018. Years 10 and 11 Imberhorne students will start wearing Fairtrade polos in 2019 and 2020 respectively, so the entire school of
approximately 1800 students will be wearing polos made with Fairtrade cotton by 2020!
Koolskools and Imberhorne: A True Fairtrade Partnership
We first visited Imberhorne in 2014 to do some of our unique Fairtrade
education work. The school’s Fairtrade Group immediately embraced the idea of introducing Fairtrade uniform as part of their mission to enhance the school’s practical engagement with Fairtrade.
After supplying Imberhorne with over 100 Leavers’ hoodies for the second consecutive summer in 2017, Fairtrade uniform proper seemed the logical next step for the ambitious Fairtrade Group, guided by the school’s enthusiastic Fairtrade teacher, Rob Langstone.
Koolskools showcased our bespoke Imberhorne-logo’ed sample school uniform to the school Governors during Fairtrade Fortnight 2016, in a joint presentation with the Fairtrade Group, led by the incredibly enthusiastic Henry Grubb. During that meeting our inspirational Fairtrade-licensed factory seamstress, Pamela Intelligent, was able to give the Headteacher and Governors a first-hand account of how Fairtrade had changed her life. We believe that this was a watershed moment in moving the school’s hierarchy towards embracing school uniform made with Fairtrade cotton.
One happy, Fairtrade-friendly Headteacher!
Martin Brown, Imberhorne’s Headteacher, was present at the 2016 Fairtrade Fortnight presentation, and has remained supportive of the initiative, together with the school’s Bursar, Jill Botting. Speaking about the Fairtrade polo order recently, Mr Brown said the following:
“Imberhorne school’s Fairtrade journey over the past 5 years has been hugely rewarding, and our students have become more enlightened Global Citizens as a result of their engagement with Fairtrade. We are proud to be a “Fair Achiever” school, and we are always looking for ways to convert what our students are learning about Fairtrade and its social values into practical support for Fairtrade business…
…the introduction of a Fairtrade cotton school polo is a logical next step, and we are particularly delighted to be working in conjunction with Koolskools on this exciting project, as Koolskools have also had a tangible and sustainable stake in the Fairtrade education of our students”.
A New Year Boost for Koolskools Managing Partners, Mike and Andy
Reflecting on the significance of the Imberhorne polo order in the context of Fairtrade uniform in UK schools the Koolskools Joint Founding partners, Mike and Andy, declared the following:
“This sizeable Fairtrade cotton school uniform order from Imberhorne represents a big statement of support for Fairtrade cotton farmers and their communities and for our Fairtrade-licensed clothing factory workers.
In 2016 the Imberhorne School Governors and Headteacher heard the first-hand personal account from one of our seamstresses, Pamela Intelligent, of her erstwhile life in Mauritius sweatshop factories before finding Fairtrade. We believe that this, together with some effective and informed lobbying on the part of the school’s Fairtrade Group, impacted positively when the school decided recently to convert all of its polos to Fairtrade cotton.
This takes our Fairtrade relationship with Imberhorne on to a new and very exciting level, and we are hoping that other big UK Secondary schools will follow suit.”