The third UDIT + Manteco Academy's MANTECO SUSTAINABILITY AWARD was won by "The Bread & Roses Project", made by GINA CANTO, PAULA GARCÍA, PAULA LÓPEZ, RANIA MOHAMED

The Manteco Sustainability Award is a fashion contest for all those students who want to test their skills in terms of eco-design and circular fashion. The amazing students of UDIT were given an exclusive lesson by Manteco® about circular fashion and then were asked to do a project that represents their idea of circular economy and sustainability in fashion.

“The Bread & Roses Project” is a project by GINA CANTO, PAULA GARCÍA, PAULA LÓPEZ, RANIA MOHAMED, is inspired by and dedicated to one of the most serious, safety-related disasters that have happened in the fashion industry: the fire at the “Triangle Shirtwaist Company”. The students highlighted how, no matter all the tragedies the industry has lived, we are all still making the same mistakes: overproduction and inhumane working conditions. “The Bread & Roses Project” wants to emphasize the importance of acquiring skills to contribute to a more sustainable future, by focusing on the creation a modular design for clothes and accessories, where everything is produced from deadstock/surplus fabrics, or any other scrap.

The name of the project is extracted from a statement by Rose Schneiderman: “What the woman who labors wants is the right to live, not simply exist—the right to life as the rich woman has the right to life, and the sun and music and art. You have nothing that the humblest worker has not a right to have also. The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too”.

The fire at the "Triangle Shirtwaist Company", March 25th, 1911, Manhattan

The social media presence of the project and the project itself will focus on raising awareness on sustainability, labor work and the fashion industry in general; and on keeping the memory alive of all of those workers from the “Triangle Shirtwaist Company” fire and all of those who still to this day are victims and are being swallowed by the epidemic that is the fast fashion and consumerism culture.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory employed arround 500 workers, mostly immigrant young women from european countries between the ages of 14 and 20 years old, and it was specialized in producing the shirtwaist blouses. There were no labor legislations, no minimum wage laws and no sanitary regulations. Society was pressuring retailers, and retailers were pressuring manufacturers into producing this high demand products quickly and cheap. These thoughts resulted in a new mindset where productivity was above everything, even safety. Locked doors during the working hours, limited bathroom breaks, limited to none lunch breaks, uncleaned and cluttered spaces, overworked and under compensated environment.

ON SATURDAY MARCH 25TH, 1911, a dropped cigarette on a bin of fabric scraps inside the factory along with the poor sanitary conditions, overflowed pieces of cotton and other highly flammable materials, helped the fire spread rapidly across the factory. All of this factors made the fire the tragedy that it was, with 146 women killed. They were previously pointed out by inspectors and advised to be improved for the safety of the workers and the factory which were ignored. All of these measures were previously complained by the workers on a strike in 1909. They were demanding a worker’s union that looked after the worker’s safety conditions. But these demands were ignored by the bussinesowners because, at the end of the day, production was their main priority, not the workers wellbeing.

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