Afshan Khan is a young woman entrepreneur from the Bay Area, San Francisco. She along with her sister Drakshan started Purple Impression, a sustainable, artisan-made online apparel brand using high fashion to provide employment opportunities to women in Pakistan. Previously, we had covered her personal journey in this article.
In this hangout with me, Afshan and I spoke about issues related to lack of transparency in the fashion industry, how her venture is trying to make a social impact by connecting its consumers with women artisans, challenges she faces in her business, and her views on the role of women entrepreneurs in the society.
Some titbits from Afshan during the Hangout:
Rana plaza incident was like a wake up call for the fashion industry
Lot of these big, fast fashion retailers have lack of transparency
They don’t take the time to research whether the factory that they are working with is operating under the right kind of safety regulations
Ethical fashion takes into consideration the entire supply chain
There’s only about 16% of big, fast fashion retailers that actually do go ahead and they put out a list of companies and give out their sourcing
One of the reasons we wanted to be transparent was not only just to get the story out but also to keep ourselves accountable
We try to send out a hand-signed card by the woman who has produced it; with each product her picture is there,her name is there on the website, so people can actually go back and see, there is a person behind this
When you are putting out the stories of these women, you are showing the consumer exactly how their purchase is making on somebody’s life
We try to cap our profits, we try to cap our margins and then make sure that women are getting paid fairly
Governments at some point need to get involved and they need to regulate this industry a little bit more
There certainly is a distinction (between men and women) specially when it comes to trying to raise funds. You are not taken as seriously
I also see that a lot of women entrepreneurs are in the realm of making social change
Here’s the full Hangout