By Tamsin Lejeune, CEO, Mysource
Earlier this year, LinkedIn announced their list of the UK's Best Connected Women. To my surprise and pleasure, they let me know that I top the Fashion and Retail list. Apparently, I am the most engaged woman in fashion and retail in the UK.
This got me thinking. There are so many well-connected women in the fashion industry. I am not a celebrated designer, nor a media figure, nor a supermodel. Yet, I have found it very easy to grow a vast network, not just in the UK, but globally. Why should I top the list?
For me, the answer is very clear. My network is made up of thousands of people who LOVE fashion. But, many of them also want more. I connect with people every day who aren't satisfied with the status quo - they are seeking ways that they can make a positive difference in our industry.
Fashion and textiles is now the second most polluting industry in the world - second only to the chemical industry. In addition to this, over half of global apparel brands are doing nothing to ensure living wages.
For thousands of people in my network though, it's not the challenges that inspire them to engage. Instead, it is the opportunities that fashion offers to make a massive difference to people's lives and the environment. From the intrepid entrepreneurs setting up brands and production units that are lifting whole communities out of poverty, to the intrapreneurs in some of the world's largest corporates working tirelessly to improve standards, this is a network for change. And, it is reaching tipping point.
If I am the UK's best-connected woman in fashion and textiles, that means that making a difference matters to most people working in this sector. We estimate that there are 376.2 million people working in fashion and related sectors worldwide. That is one big network. If we can build collaboration across and between those professionals who want to see change, we will move mountains.