It’s been 2 years since Connie Howes created Poème Clothing, a Canadian-owned ethical, bohemian clothing range that draws inspiration from elements of the natural world. Her designs invokes youth, freedom and an aesthetic, appreciative connection to the beauty of the wilderness. Poème Clothing draws elements from the sunset skies, opulent oceans, foliage and flowers. Read on to learn about their ethical culture and story.
Connie’s ethical vision came from her desire to “make the right decisions” for her brand. After a good friend gifted two insightful books on the fashion industry (Fixing Fashion – Michael Lavergne and Magnifico – Kate Black), Connie Howes knew she could raise awareness within the fashion industry by shifting the way people view their purchases.
“It is important to me that people feel connected to their clothing, the story, and the people behind them. I feel that this connection will help consumers to be more thoughtful of their purchases.”
“Ethical business is really the only way for me to run a business, and feel fulfilled.”
Poème Clothing’s bohemian range is made by a small, family-run business in Bali. Connie personally knows the women and men who make her clothing and she maintains a good relationship with them because she enjoys having that personal connection that sets Poème Clothing aside from commercial competitors. When asked why Bali, Connie shares with us the thoughts behind her choice.
“I was drawn to Bali because of the sense of peace, tranquility, and strong creative energy that the culture holds. I also liked the fact that in Bali, women are respected and treated equally to men. Women are often the breadwinners and heads of household; that really spoke to me.”
Poème Clothing is a small but sure blessing to this family in Indonesia. In a country where annual leave and minimum wage isn’t offered to every worker, Poème Clothing undertook the social and responsibilities recognised in the Western world so that employees can be looked after and shown that they are appreciated. Connie offers her employees:
- Monday-Friday (8.30am-4.30pm) workdays
- 2 weeks annual leave
- respect for religious holidays
- Health insurance for employees and their families
- Pension payments
- 3 months maternity leave
When I asked Connie if she finds offering the above to have increased productivity, Connie replied that productivity was not even a concern as she would not think of running a business in any other way.
“The women and men who make Poème Clothing are kind, thoughtful, and gracious. They go above and beyond for me and to be honest, I don’t know if this is in their nature to be this way or if it is because of how they are treated. I just know that I appreciate them and consider them a part of my Poème family.”
Inspired and deeply connected to nature, Connie was a registered acupuncturist with a degree in Chinese Medicine before she became an entrepreneur and a designer. Linking the philosophy of that medicine with how she views the world, Connie ensures to connect herself, her brand and those who drape themselves in her creations to nature and to our natural surroundings. Her current collection of dresses feature a rich canopy of patterns and motives of the botanical world.
Connie’s aspirations for Poème Clothing is to continue to grow and create more clothing that makes people feel beautiful, inspired and gives back to others. Along with that she hopes that as her brand grows, she can continue growing her Poème family in Bali and support even more artisans.
I’m wearing the Manon Wrap Dress in Green. Find this dress and other earthly clothing here at www.poemeclothing.com.