There’s a common misconception that being socially responsible is only for larger enterprises. But it's even more important for smaller brands and businesses to promote their social values, as they can have a more direct, personal influence on their local communities.
It's well known now that consumers often research whether a company is being authentic about their stand on social or environmental issues. Many small businesses and corporations have made changes as a result - but sadly a lot of these gestures are only skin-deep - making changes to appeal to their target audience in the hope of making more sales and improving their public image instead of ACTUALLY understanding the impact they can make.
Ultimately, each business has to be responsible when it comes to their social impact, no matter how small they are. If you're a designer, freelancer or artist, you're not exempt! While you may not think you can make a difference like the bigger corporations can, the impact you can have is a little closer to home - look to what's happening in your local community and you'll realise how much of an influence you have at that level. We've found the perfect example to share with you - grab yourself a cup of coffee and have a read:
Oscar’s on the Square is a favourite hotspot for local people in St Leonards looking for good, homemade American comfort and barbecue food - and it's the perfect spot to watch the sun go down over the sea with a glass of vino (or a cup of coffee, choose your poison). It also regularly transforms itself into the venue of choice for many different occasions. Recently, Oscar’s took the shape of a runway to showcase talented local fashion designers whose work puts an emphasis on sustainability and upcycling. Guest Writer Emily Bridger reported back:
"Upon arrival we were greeted by hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary glass of bubbles whilst we got settled into our seats ready for the show to begin. Caragh Jane Logan opened the show with an introduction to the night. You could tell from the way she spoke that she is truly passionate about making fashion sustainable, demonstrating just how much can be made with pre-loved and recycled items."
"I personally loved seeing the mix of different fabrics and styles put together in a way that I would never have considered- the result was some truly unique outfits that looked both effortless yet put-together. This combination of hat, bandana, dungarees and an off the shoulder long sleeved top looked playful, eclectic and refreshingly different to the cookie cutter outfits most of us are guilty of wearing every day. "
"The mix of non binary styles was a breath of fresh air. I love that the designers created looks using crop tops and skirts for men, as well as using more traditionally masculine and structured looks for the women."
"As a fashion show novice, I have to admit I was slightly concerned the styles would seem ‘inaccessible’ or that there would be a higher message that would just go straight over my head- but I loved seeing the models enjoy themselves on the runway and have fun with the clothes they were in. This event really felt like an opportunity for self expression and even on top of promoting the designers' wares, there was another level- feeling good in the things you wear and experimenting to reveal your individual style. All of the looks were so unique, yet were perfectly coordinated with the models."
"I'm thankful for my boyfriend, who is a big fan of sailing, because for the life of me, I struggled to figure out what these next outfits were made from. It turns out that this section of outfits was crafted from boat sails! Which apparently are a huge source of waste in the sailing industry due to the fact that one small hole and the whole sail is unusable- the result being they normally ends up in landfill. Using this material to create clothing is a fantastic answer to the problem of this wastage and I loved the lines and colours on each of the outfits, making each one unique."
"Now for the aforementioned message that I was worried I wouldn’t understand. Safe to say, I could very easily comprehend the message conveyed by the models here and I have to say it was quite moving to watch. It made me feel uncomfortable to see everyday waste caught up in the nets, something that happens every minute of the day across the world."
"Plastic waste consumption is a huge problem, as we all well know, but seeing it there, in front of you, at an event that felt so far removed from the harsh realities of what is going on at sea mere meters from the venue really brought home how much of an issue it really is."
"It’s such an important message that was so expertly executed by the designer- these outfits made a huge impact and put us all in a thoughtful mood."
"The finale was a celebration of all the fantastic designers who took part in the show- out came the bright colours that would not have been out of place at a festival in Rio- fruit on the model's head and flower garlands ended the evening on a high. After the show the party carried on until the small hours, with a DJ and flowing drinks aplenty."
Social responsibility can help strengthen your brand by enforcing your credibility within your local community and empowering sustainable growth.