Okay, maybe not all the time, but our youth tend to be a lot smarter than what we give them credit for!
Humiform is designed by kids with 100% of their profits going towards youth education. Every tee has en emphasis on social causes such as human rights, sustainability and gender equality.
We wanted to learn a bit more about Megan, the founder of Humiform, to find out more about her journey and how our youth are pulling in the right direction!
And if podcasts are more your thing, listen to the audio version of 'Striding Forward' on your preferred podcasting platform :)
1. What is Humiform and what was the motvation behind it?
Megan: So I started human form because I've worked in sustainable fashion now for seven or eight years, but I've also worked in education for about a decade.
I went to the first climate strike that we had in September 2018 and I was really inspired by the students and what they were doing. And I thought, well, 'what can I do to help amplify and strengthen their voice with the skills that I have?'.
And that's really how Humiform came about!
2. So this question might sound a little bit facetious, but have you found working with kids, teenagers and youth activists easier than working with some are 'not so easy' to deal with adults?
Megan: 100%. Young people are so much fun to work yet and so much easier to get on with to be honest.
Grownups seem to have a lot more baggage and more reasons for why they can't do things. Whereas young people are so motivated.
I've had some absolutely ridiculously amazing conversations with twelve year olds about democracy and what a privilege it is. All of these things like nonviolent direct action and all of these incredible things that I don't think I could think about with most adults.
3. What are some of the sort of more than values and messages that you think us adults can learn from kids? What are some of those values we can take on board?
Megan: I guess it would be to stay curious.
Don't let your ego get in the way of of learning new things and and admitting you're wrong and changing the way that you're doing things. I think that one of the best things about working with young people is that they're so open to learning new things and questioning what they already know.
And I think adults tend to have more fixed views on the world. I think we should always be learning; we should always be curious about what is going on in the world?
4. All Humiform tees have powerful slogans on them, and in general, there has been an explosion of people wanting to wear slogan tees. What do you put that down to?
Megan: Yeah, I think it's great that people want to wear their values instead of just another pretty thing. Not the pretty things at resending run with pretty things, but they're they're wearing things that they're choosing, things that support and spread awareness of issues that they believe in, which I think is amazing.
I do worry, though, that the story behind the majority of these t-shirts; that how they were made doesn't really align with the messages that are splashed across the T-shirt.
5. Are able to share some of your favorite slogans that have been on Humiform t-shirts? They can be past or present.
Megan: One of the crowd favourites has been the equal 'celery' for equal work T-shirt that we've had. So it's got to an animated celery on the front and it's kind of a pun. Celery instead of salary. So that was really cool.
We had a great one that was really, really quite powerful which was "as the seas rise, so will we".
"Plant more trees" has been a very popular line, especially in light of recent events. So yeah, I think there's a lot of meaning behind the designs that are on our T-shirts.
6. Not all slogan plays are created equally and what are the different approaches that you've come across?
Megan: So they're kind of a few ways that people are creating slogan tees. The first way is what we've seen a lot now, is that the story behind them (how they are made) doesn't really align with the message that is splashed across.
So I came across a brand that was promoting feminist values and had a lot of feminist slogans on their T-shirt. And I thought, oh, this is great, but then when I went to the website, I could find nothing about how the T-shirts were made. I couldn't find any information about the fabrics.
And when I contacted them, I didn't I didn't get any response back. So that was kind of a good indicator that they don't really know the story behind their clothes.
I think empowering the women wearing the clothes is great, but if your disregarding the women who made them, it's not really good enough.
The Greens last year released some T-shirts in time for the climate strike. Yet again, I went to their website and you would expect in an organization like the Greens to really value the environment and people and and all of those things that you would expect them to have covered their bases and made sure that their T-shirts are made ethically.
But again, there was no information on the website when I contacted them.
What we are trying to do with Humiform is to recognize that there is no perfect way to slogan tee, basically. But we strongly believe that the clothes we wear should reflect the world we want to live in.
So we're creating T-shirts that really connect people with the story behind their clothes through the ethical manufacturing by Dorsu in Cambodia. The people that are designing, we want to connect them. That's the intention behind their designs with the people that are going to buy and wear these clothes.
We're really trying to address every part of of this, I guess, a very complex issue of fashion, creating fashion in the world we live in today. Definitely not perfect yet. But, gosh, we are trying very hard to make this work.
7. In terms of transparency and ethical fashion, can you shed some light on Humiform's supply chain?
Megan: So we work with Dorsu. I'm very good friends with the founders. I have visited the workshop and I have so much trust. We have a great relationship that is built over many years.
A lot of brands don't know who's making their clothes; they don't know the suppliers, they don't know where it's located and they've never visited. Dorsu really prioritizes ethical fashion production in a country where a lot of low skilled workers are being exploited by the garment factories there.
These guys are doing everything they can to make sure that they're producing them ethically and treat their workers fairly and responsibly. It's not easy for suppliers in these countries to do the right thing. And yet the system is kind of set up to do the wrong thing and makes that easier and cheaper. But these guys are pretty incredible.
Over the years, they've faced some immense challenges and they have dealt with them with such grace and integrity. They make our clothing from remnant fabrics from the garment factories that are in Cambodia.
Garment factories don't actually use all of the fabric that they import, and so Dorsu uses that that fabric. So we're using up what already exists rather than creating fabric.