Peace Boat US is proud to announce it has joined the Advisory Board of the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network, a United Nations hosted online platform for industry stakeholders and partners worldwide to accelerate the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which is working to “engage the fashion industry to accelerate action in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” Peace Boat US is excited to continue with our sustainable fashion projects as well as develop new ones with the support of the network.

The Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network is a United Nations hosted online platform for industry stakeholders, media, Governments, and UN system entities. The network showcases and enables collaborations that accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Considering the fashion and lifestyle sector’s significant impact on societies and the environment, the Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network fosters transparent, inclusive, and transformative engagement of global stakeholders to drive urgent action for sustainability. The network provides an impartial platform for the industry and the UN system. Its key objective is to mobilize expertise, innovation, technology, and resources towards a sustainable and inclusive COVID-19 recovery, with the Sustainable Development Goals as a guiding framework.

The Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network is a joint initiative of the United Nations Office for Partnerships, the Fashion Impact Fund and the Division for Sustainable Development Goals – United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The leading entities of the network convene periodic events aligned with key meetings on the UN calendar and publish reports on the network’s achievements.

The fashion industry is responsible for approximately 8-10% of carbon emissions20% of wastewater worldwide, and 35% of microplastics in the oceans. Peace Boat has always put sustainability and furthering the SDGs at the forefront of their work, and supporting sustainable fashion is a large part of that. The organization has worked on multiple fashion sustainability projects in the past, including working alongside DAWN – the Development Action Women Network, donating sewing machines to the Kuna indigenous community, and creating events with the theme of Fashion x Oceans during Earth Day and the UN World Oceans Week in New York City. 

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DAWN – Supporting local fashion with the Development Action for Women Network

The Development Action for Women Network (DAWN) empowers migrant Filipino women in Japan and helps those who have returned to the Philippines reintegrate back into society. 

Most of these women have been abandoned by the fathers of the children they had while in Japan. DAWN helps these women set up sustainable income primarily through sewing and handloom weaving in an alternative livelihood program called Sikhay. Through this program these women create Fair Trade fashion products such as wrap-around skirts, bags, scarves, and more. It gives these women the skills necessary to run these businesses on their own so they can develop confidence and independence.

Peace Boat has worked with DAWN in advocating for the rights and welfare of Filipino migrant women and their children for over 25 years. Peace Boats sells the products these women create as part of a fair trade project and donates 100% of the profits back to the women in the community.  

Fair Trade Fashion with the Kuna Indigenous Community

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The Kuna are one of seven indigenous tribes in Panama and have been historically marginalized. The tribe specializes in making the beautiful Mola, a vividly colored cloth used in traditional outfits that expresses their culture. The women in the community who weave the Mola use elaborate techniques such as layering cloth like appliqués and sewing them with threads as if drawing a picture. Each Mola tells a special story and shares a cultural aspect of the Kuna indigenous ancestral practices.

When visiting the village where they live, the Kuna community leaders taught Peace Boat volunteers the traditional techniques of the Mola. This is not typically shared with people outside of the tribe, and the Kuna held this workshop as a sign of the mutual friendship and respect between Peace Boat and the local community artisans.

Peace Boat US’s special project entitled the Music & Art Peace Academy (MAPA), together with partner non-profit organizations Parties4Peace, and DCTV have been fundraising to provide requested materials for the women in the village to continue their work.

Peace Boat has also donated eight sewing machines to the local community center to make the Mola traditional designs with the indigenous community leaders as a part of the UN Women’s Step It Up initiative. They continue to support the Kuna women in their Fair Trade Mola handicraft.

Fashion x Ocean 

At the Global Fashion Exchange “Swapteria” Earth Day event, designers came together to exchange clothing and raise awareness for sustainability, as well as combat fast fashion in the industry. Peace Boat’s exhibition, Fashion x Ocean, which was started as a program during the United Nations World Oceans week to showcase sustainable fashion from designers worldwide, with a particular focus on ocean plastic and pollution. 

People who donated clothing were given a token to swap for another sustainable fashion item at the event. The swap signifies a less wasteful way of obtaining clothing. These items live full lives from closet to closet instead of being discarded after a few uses. Fashion x Oceans is an ongoing sustainable fashion initiative made by Peace Boat and continues to educate on the importance of conscious fashion and lifestyles.

Peace Boat US is eager to continue to support sustainable initiatives in the fashion industry as a new addition to the Advisory Board of the United Nations Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network–to ultimately achieve the twelfth Sustainable Development Goal: Responsible Consumption and Production.