Inclusion of marginalized women in the global ethical fashion industry, leveraging the ubiquity of eCommerce

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Synergy envisions to establish fair employment,production and consumption practices in the industry of fashion through decent work and economic growth for marginalized labor force working in the said industry,by bringing them a global identity.Our mission is creating jobs for socially excluded marginalized seamstresses (less than $2/day earnings) in the ethical fashion industry leveraging the power of ecommerce and ensure at least a doubled income for them to break the poverty cycle.

An eCommerce platform that connects marginalized seamstresses with the global market of ethical fashion,ensuring inclusion through a global identity

Project description

What problem are you trying to solve?
In Bangladesh alone 3.2 million and globally 1.2 billion labour force work in the ready-made garment industry in indecent and unfair working conditions for the fast fashion brands around the world, earning less than $2/day.This practice of modern-day slavery is often life-threatening as exemplified by the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh that took 1138 labours’ lives. It threatens the fulfilment of SDG-8, 12 and 1 as these marginalized labour living in the informal economy (in slums/refugee camps) are invisible to the society because of social and economic exclusion. We aim to ensure that INVISIBLE marginalized people find a GLOBAL IDENTITY in the realm of the internet. We empower skilled, hardworking marginalized women to be entrepreneurs and bring in freedom for them to make choices about their working hours, income and contributions. Our simple digital platform eliminates the hassles for licensing, lack of know-how, lack of connectivity for these entrepreneurs, ensuring fair and decent jobs.

What is your solution to this problem?
Through Synergy’s ecommerce platform, ethical fashion brands/designers can place orders for fair production of their fashion products and apparel. We distribute the order among entrepreneurs living in

three different slums of Dhaka through our ‘hubs and spokes’ model and interested entrepreneurs pick up the orders and work on them sitting right at their home. This ensures a fair and decent work environment (SDG-8) for the marginalized seamstresses living in the slums of Dhaka, giving them the freedom to be entrepreneurs and the authority to make choices. We not only create jobs but also ensure at least a doubled-income through decent employment (SDG-1).On the other hand, our customers can source fairly produced fashion products for the global market of ethical fashion that also promotes the ideology of ‘fair consumption and production’ (SDG-12) through ethical fashion. With us, ethically cautious fashion brands/designers uphold and establish the rights of these labour force, revolutionizing fashion.

What is your latest update on your innovation?
Our startup is in operation since the beginning of 2017, upon a successful pilot run in 2016. To facilitate the placement of orders and sales, our ecommerce platform has been live since 2016. In order to promote the idea of ethical fashion, draw customers and partners-we focused on local and global platforms like TEDx, HULT Prize,Pitch@Palace Commonwealth, European Development Days. In 2 years, we have promoted our startup and ethical fashion in 16

countries, especially in the UK, USA, China and EU; attracting ethical fashion brands based in the UK and USA as well as earning global exposure and awards. To ensure skill-fitness of over 30 entrepreneurs, we ensure training for them through an external channel of NGOs like-BRAC as our partner. Synergy has already been recognized as one of the top 5 social startups in the world by HULT Prize-2016, won the ‘Most Innovative Idea’ award from Peking University and recognized as one of the top 12 startups in the Commonwealth by HRH Duke of York,UK.

Why are you going to win the Best Innovation for Development Award?
We bring the global ethical fashion market at the doorstep of marginalized entrepreneurs ensuring social-economic inclusion and visibility of their contributions. Aside from freedom, a decent job, it gave them a 240% increased income allowing them to break the poverty cycle. Our team has earned global recognition, experiences of the targeted crisis and the knowledge to innovate the perfect solution, combining computer science (Mirza’s expertise) and business (Tasneem’s expertise) strategies for social good.


Mirza Tanzim Sami

Tasneem Omar Ava


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