Content warning: Discussion of domestic and family violence.

 

“At the Irrelevant Society we want to see an end to violence against women”

In 2015, my mate Ie Erlina Lie launched Irrelevant Society.

The heart of Irrelevant Society is not only to raise awareness about family, domestic and gender-based violence, but to also provide opportunities for men to speak up and to partner with women in ending it.

I’ve had the privilege of partnering with Irrelevant Society from early on in its inception and taking photos for them (you can see photos from past Irrelevant Society shoots here.) This has meant that I have worked pretty closely with Ie, which has given me some great insight into how she and Irrelevant Society are thinking and going about their mission.

One of the standout aspects of Irrelevant Society is their approach to engaging with the issue. This is specifically in their threefold emphasis on:

1. Twenty percent of their profits are donated to organisations that educate and provide support to women facing violence. This has included services and programs such as, Bonnie Support Services, White Ribbon, Communicare’s Breathing Space Program, The Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria, Women’s Community Shelters.

2. Their clothing is made in safe and fair work environments, places with fair wages and fair working hours. All of Irrelevant Society’s clothes are made in India, Bangladesh and Turkey.

As Ie explains, “Each of these suppliers have been members of the Fair Wear Foundation since 2004. This means that these companies are regularly audited for social compliance and their programs are monitored to ensure that they meet the standards set by the International Labour Organisation, the Ethical Trading Initiative and other international bodies. It also means they release an annual social report, do not use forced labour, provide a safe and healthy working environment and legal labour contracts, do not discriminate, have reasonable working hours (making sure employees have time with family), and absolutely no child labour.”

This strong emphasis on ethical fashion is what, in my mind, makes Irrelevant Society authentic in its approach to this issue. As Ie has said “We believe supporting ethical fashion is important, and it’s more closely related to the cause we fight than you may first think.”

3. They seek to ‘tread lightly on the earth’ stocking carbon neutral organic cotton and bamboo products, meaning it requires less fuel, water and energy to grow the raw product. The suppliers that Irrelevant Society use source their materials from organic farms, which as Ie points out, “means better health for the farmers and the environment.”

I find Ie a truly inspiring, creative and prophetic voice in the campaign to see the end of family, domestic and gender-based violence. I’d love you to support her and Irrelevant Society in their mission.

The photos below are a selection from the shoot for the 2019 Summer range we shot at Oak Park beach, south of Cronulla.

For more information and statistics see the AIHW.

If you want to read about another incredible woman working in a similar space, go check out what my mate Erin, a poet and academic, is doing with the organisation Common Grace.

Do you need support?

The following Domestic and Family Violence support services are available:

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