Rumor has it that Emma Watson’s ethical fashion aspirations are on hold—that is, if gossip from the Daily Mail is to be believed. An unnamed source claims that the Harry Potter actress, who co-designed three seasons’ worth of styles for People Tree, is disappointed by lackluster sales. “Even at knockdown prices, the clothes were still sitting on the shelves,” the mole told the British tabloid on Saturday.” Despite appearances, Watson’s involvement with the fair-trade pioneer wasn’t your average celebrity vanity project. Watson helped select the fabrics, colors, and silhouettes; modeled the finished looks; and even flew to Bangladesh to visit the slums homes of Dhaka with Safia Minney, People Tree’s founder and CEO.
COMING OF AGE
It was in India that the Hollywood ingenue witnessed firsthand the impact fair trade can have. “Fair trade gives families the option to stay together, rather than one or both parents having to move to cities, and they are paid a fair wage,” she said in August 2010 after a tour of Swallows, a fair-trade women’s community in Thanapara that People Tree supports. “It empowers people and doesn’t take away their dignity.”
It was in India that the Hollywood ingenue witnessed firsthand the impact fair trade can have.
A month after her final People Tree line hit stores in February 2011, Watson debuted a sustainable capsule collection with Italian designer Alberti Ferretti. The young actress, it seemed, was on a roll, even talking to her bosses at Lancome, the cosmetics firm she fronted, about a possible eco-friendly makeup collection.
Any reined plans on the fashion front could be the result of time constraints. Watson, after all, isn’t just a working actress. She’s also commuting between Brown and Oxford Universities, where she’s pursuing her bachelor’s degree. On that account, the Daily Mail source agrees: “She’s… stalled on plans to do more with Ferretti because she doesn’t have time.”
Minney and People Tree, for their part, see little to be disappointed about. “Emma is a very good actress and a sensitive person with an ethical and ecological vision that perfectly embodies People Tree’s vision and philosophy,” Minney tells Ecouterre. “The collection was amazing, was received very well by clients and press, and sold well. We are very happy about this opportunity with Emma.” Not only did People Tree close 2011 with a 10 percent increase in online sales, Minney adds, but it also increased its orders of fair-trade and organic cotton by 150 percent in 2012 alone.
Watson wasn’t available for comment at press time.