Being an ethical fashion brand has become a must in today's world (and rightfully so) but what is rather interesting when it comes to Rated 18 is that our why, which is empowering child marriage survivors, came long before the how, which ended up being fashion; and by choosing fashion as our conduit for changing lives it meant being an ethical and sustainable brand started encompassing many other aspects too. As a small business we aren't able to cover every single facet of sustainability that exists but we make a conscious effort to ensure our operations and existence brings about positive change in as many ways as possible, and this is how we are doing our part to build a better world:
Empowering Child Marriage Survivors
Supporting women and girls, specifically those who have been subjected to or are at high risk of child marriage, is Rated 18's reason for existence. We hire women who survived child marriage to craft our handmade shoes and pay them above local wage rates; cover their transport and meal costs so being at work is not a personal expense to them; and ensure a safe, flexible and comfortable work environment. By providing these women with decent work, a reliable income and training without any education or experience prerequisites, our aim is to promote their advancement toward becoming economically independent.
Additionally, Rated 18 invests 100% of profits in survivors' and at risk girls' education as we know that education, in varying forms, is a vital tool for empowering women and young
girls and can go a long way in uplifting communities.
Upcycled Tire Soles
With over 1 billion used tires disposed of every year, the earth is suffocating under piles of waste. Our aim is to use fashion as a force for change and good and ensuring future generations inherit a clean and beautiful world we are doing our part to clean it up a little by upcycling used tires, that would otherwise end up in landfills, and giving them a second life as the sole of our sustainable shoes.
Our cotton fabric and leather is sourced in Zimbabwe from local farmers. The leather used in the production of our shoes is only byproduct from existing agricultural activity and our cotton fabric is hand block and screen printed by the ethical production company Kudhinda
Our collections are based on design, not season. When it's winter in Zimbabwe it's summer somewhere else, so as an international online store we don't have the pressure of conforming to the weather. Our shoes can be sold where ever the style is appropriate for the current season and we continue to sell until stock runs out, so nothing is ever thrown away.
Zero Emission Production
Our shoes are handmade, from start to finish, so the only energy consumed within our workshop is used for lighting, the sewing machine and the heater. And with our facility being solar powered and by using a small 5kg LP gas canister for the heater, our production process is truly emission free.
Crafting handmade shoes is a labor of love that requires meticulous attention to detail and care; so both by design and by default, we only produce small quantities only ever maintaining limited inventory.