Thursday, September 21st, 2017

A Fashion House That Is Making a Difference

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# A guest post by Jules Brooke as a part of the How Real People Bust Out a series of guest contributors sharing their journey’s.

The journey that Australian Frances Carrington took to create her fashion label, Eternal Creation is fascinating. She travelled to India to volunteer for a year and has ended up living in Dharamsala since then. She also started her own fashion business called Eternal Creation there over 14 years ago. She now has an Australian husband, Rory and two children, Imogen and Oscar and Eternal Creation currently employs over 70 staff.


After graduating from the East Sydney Institute of Fashion Design in 1994, designer Frances Carrington registered with Australian Volunteers Abroad, hoping to use her skills in a community in Africa. Instead she was sent to India. She was put in charge of the fledgling tailoring department of the Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala, north India, home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in exile. Her job was to teach newly arrived Tibetan refugees the finer points of tailoring and design. She had overseen the growth of the department from 2 to 15 fulltime staff by the end of that year.

Falling in love with Indian and Tibetan culture, not to mention the fantastic landscape of the Himalayas, she decided that at the end of her tenure she’d find a way to use her skills to continue to benefit the local community in some way. In 1999, armed with a $5,000 loan from her father she started Eternal Creation.

The early days were difficult. Frances started with only 3 tailors, in association with the Gu-Chu-Sum movement of Tibet, an ex-political-prisoners’ organisation based in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala. Gu-Chu-Sum’s 200-plus members are all former prisoners of conscience, some of whom have endured terrible privation and torture at the hands of the Chinese authorities. The organisation is dedicated to improving the lives of recently arrived political refugees by providing jobs, training, health care and accommodation.

The small tailoring unit slowly grew, employing several ex-prisoners and battling with fierce monsoons, water shortages and frequent blackouts, often simultaneously! One of the biggest challenges was training people who had previously led a pastoral or nomadic existence, to understand the concept of delivery deadlines and international quality standards.

With the birth of her 2 children, Frances found herself naturally gravitating towards designing children’s clothes, and sales of her initial children’s collection quickly proved that there was a market for her classical look, love of colour and immaculate tailoring.

As the sales of Eternal clothing grew in Australia, the company was faced with a difficult decision – outsource or expand? Outsourcing would bring with it the ethical dilemma faced by many designers: how do you know your designs are being made under fair labour conditions and not subcontracted to other factories that may not meet these standards?

Frances felt that outsourcing production would ultimately end up betraying the original reasons she started the company. So she decided to increase the capacity of the workshop, which would provide more jobs for the local Tibetan and Indian community as well as ensuring that Eternal Creation’s trademark high quality standards were maintained. In 2005, Eternal Creation opened the Himalaya Tailoring Centre in lower Dharamsala, and today is one of the largest private employers in the area. Eternal Creation products are sold in over 200 stores in Australia, Europe and Asia.

Eternal Creation clothing can be bought from over 200 children’s clothing outlets in Australia or online at www.eternalcreation.com.  You can also go to the website to find out more about the company’s principles and what they offer their staff in terms of employment standards. Of course, you should also go to the website to check out their gorgeous clothes. They are divine!

Comments

2 Responses to “A Fashion House That Is Making a Difference”
  1. bhoutan says:

    I relish, cause I found just what I was taking a look for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  2. bustingout says:

    That’s fantastic! Glad t you found what you’re looking for 🙂 Rx

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