Thursday 28 February 2013

The Ethics Of Copyright

Ethics in fashion is a wide-ranging subject. Sure, we can point at dodgy work practices, or attempts made to cover up environmental damage from clothing factories, or not paying suppliers a fair wage for their goods and services.
But sometimes, unethical behaviour comes from unexpected angles.
Brandon Stanton is a New York-based street photographer whose work has been featured in magazines and websites across the globe. His work is intuitive, spontaneous and heartfelt.
He was recently approached by DKNY, who wanted to feature his photos in their stores window displays. The amount they were willing to pay, though by no means chicken-feed, was wildly under the standard fee for this sort of promotional work. Brandon took some advice, and asked for more money. DKNY said no.
Months pass. Then Brandon gets an email with a photo attached from a friend who was visiting Bangkok. The photo is of a DKNY store window. Covered in Brandon's photos. Used without his knowledge or permission.
The story hit the tubes, and I'm glad to say this story has something of a happy ending. Faced with the bad publicity, DKNY admitted their fault, and donated $25,000 to Brandon's local YMCA. Things, you could say, have worked out.
The thing is, this sort of exappropriation of intellectual property is part and parcel of the fashion biz. Everyone copies everyone else. Anything remotely innovative will be pounced on, tweaked a little bit, and rolled out to the shops post haste. With that, and the ongoing misbelief that if you post it on the internet then it's public property, and you can see where Brandon's situation came from. Sadly, it happens an awful lot, and there's little the ripped-off photographer can do--apart from, as in Brandon's case, shout and hope you get heard.
Check out more of Brandon Stanton's work on his website, Humans Of New York.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

A Very Green Dress On The Red Carpet At The Oscars

The Oscars are, if I'm wearing one of my other coats as a film blogger, something of a big deal (you can read my thoughts on the results here). But for the Pier, there was only one question that mattered.
What would the dress worn by Naomie Harris look like?
If you're a regular reader of the blog, you'll know that I'm talking about the Red Carpet, Green Dress Initiative, that allows a new designer to send a dress made with the cradle-to-cradle ethos in mind to the Oscars, worn by a movie star. This year's winner, Michael Badger, was worn by Bond Girl Naomie Harris, and as you can see, it's something of a stunner!
Let's run the numbers. The gown is made of a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic silk crepe de chine. It was embroidered with vintage glass beads and, whimsically, chocolate candy wrappers. The zips are reclaimed. The dying process employed golden rod and a renewable biodegradable natural plant source, camomile. That's right, the stuff you put in your tea. No water pollutants or chemicals were used, which meant that any waste produced could go straight into the compost bin.
The green credentials even stretch to Michael's design process. He sketched the original concept using a recycled notebook, and used hemp watercolour paper for the final drawings. You have to admire the dedication to the cause.
Greenpeace's Detox Fashion campaign have fully endorsed the design. Tommy Crawford, its Creative Director says:
"The gown created for this year’s Red Carpet Green Dress contest proves that even the most intricate design, subject to the highest levels of scrutiny, can be as sustainable as it is beautiful.”

The dress is currently being assessed for full cradle-to-cradle certification, and has helped the Red Carpet, Green Dress Foundation to raise over $12,000 for Muse School CA, a non-profit educational facility.
Read more on the Green Carpet Red Dress website.

Monday 25 February 2013

Swap Till You Drop

I'm still seething about Mud Jeans and their verging-on-ripoff denim rental scheme (that last nearly got autocorrected to scam. Whoops.) So it's interesting to read about another new venture that seems to be much more sharply in tune with the eco-aesthetic.
RockMyClothes is a startup that's designed to free your wardrobe, by opening it up to a new audience of interested fashionistas. In essence, it's an online version of the M&S shwopping idea, or Patagonia's eBay shops. Only here, there are no restrictions on brand. It's an upscale internet swap meet, where rather than putting your stuff up for sale, you simply offer it in exchange for an item you've fallen in love with on the site. There are items to buy if nothing rocks your boat in the shopping areas, and money-off vouchers for your favourite online retailers. The site is also looking to host swapping parties. Clothes-swapping parties, you dirty-minded bunch.
It sounds like fun, but at the moment there's a fundamental problem at the heart of RockMyClothes: there doesn't seem to be anything on the site to buy or swap. There's quite an entertaining blog, and some of the discount vouchers look useful, but I can't see anything in the shopping or swapping areas at all. I'd imagine this should change as the community grows - after all, it only launched last week.
I'm going to be charitable. There's a neat idea at the heart of this venture, and early glitches are to be expected. If nothing else, RockMyClothes is a bold experiment that deserves to succeed, and it's one that I'll be following and reporting back on for you. Let's wait and see what happens when they get some clothes on those virtual racks...

Friday 22 February 2013

You Don't Own These Jeans

We've all, at some point in our lives, come up against the concept of clothes rental. If you've even been on the top table at a wedding, you'll understand the acute squirming embarrasment of paying a small fortune for uncomfortable clothes that don't quite fit.
In some ways, though, clothes rental makes sense from an eco-point of view, especially if you bear in mind the mantra of Pier Crush Vivienne Westwood's Climate Revolution: Buy Less, Spend More, Make It Last.
Dutch company Mud Jeans are taking this model to the streets, by offering a package which lets you rent a pair of their designer jeans for a year. Here's the breakdown. 20 euros for deposit and admin, then 80 euros spread over twelve months. At the end of the period, you either keep the jeans, send them back, or pay a bit extra and get a new pair. The jeans will either be washed, repaired and reused or shredded and returned to the factory. They're made from fine Turkish organic cotton, and come in several fits and styles. Great idea, no?
Well... no. I get the concept, but the idea simply hasn't been applied to the real world. What happens if you get the jeans and they don't fit properly, or you simply don't like them? What happens if your body shape changes over the course of the rental period? What happens if the shape goes catastrophically off-style, or your tastes change? What happens if, as is the case with most of the pricier jeans I've worn over the years, the seams start going after six months? And why on earth would you pay more money to simply send the jeans back after a year, leaving you with nothing for your €120 investment?
The idea sounds great for Mud Jeans, but I'm worried about the impermanent nature of the enterprise. Renting clothes for a one-off occasion makes sense, but for a long period you'd need to be wearing the jeans all the time to make the investment worthwhile, leading to increased wear and tear. And if they start looking tatty, you're more likely to stop wearing them, and all of a sudden you're paying five euros a month for something that's just taking up hanger space. Couching the idea in green or sustainable terms doesn't make it any less of a bad idea for the consumer.

In fact, if you were feeling uncharitable, you could level the accusation that Mud Jeans were designing their rental clothes to fall apart over the course of the year, making the customer more inclined to carry on spending their hard-earned on a new fresh pair while returning the old goods for repair or reuse. A very cheeky way of building a cradle-to-cradle model, don't you think?
As you might have guessed, I won't be investing in a pair of Mud Jeans, although I'll be interested to see if the idea takes off. The subscription model can be made to work--I'm an enthusiastic user of Spotify, the music streaming service. But then, the sounds I choose to listen to are always fresh and there's a ton of choice. Unlike Mud Jeans, which will offer me one pair of denims that's going to look very battered very quickly. I know which model works best for me.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Sex Sells, And We're Buying!

Type "American Apparel controversy" into Google, and be prepared for a long and entertaining read. Pier32's latest clothing partner is extremely adept at letting the news media do some heavy lifting when it comes to keeping the brand in the public eye.
Their adverts, which frequently feature young girls wearing very little clothing, have provoked ire from some commentators who see the images as exploitative, if not downright sexist. AA were the first US clothing retailer to publish a print ad featuring a fully topless model, and their roster has included adult film stars such as Sasha Grey. Urban myths that the company uses under-age girls in their campaigns continue to circulate even today, and their big banner ads are still regularly paint-bombed in New York. None of this is unusual, of course. Just look at Calvin Klein's campaigns. But there does seem to be something about the AA approach that keeps them in the news.
The company ran into trouble a few years ago with Woody Allen. Their unauthorised use of a still from the director's iconic Annie Hall led to a lawsuit and an out-of-court settlement running into the millions. A painful hit--but priceless exposure in the editorial pages of every newspaper.
Charismatic and eccentric, the founder of American Dov Charney has come under flack on more than one occasion for his unusual behaviour. Famously relaxed in his approach, there are stories that he's taken business meetings in the nude, and accusations that he screens employees for attractiveness have been fodder for the opinion pages for years. The company's support for immigration reform has attracted some sideways looks as well, as the sweatshop-free factory they run in California is largely staffed by Hispanics. Do American Apparel employ illegal immigrants? Not proven.
In the UK we see little of this. The company keep a lower profile, and their stores look like a slightly cooler Top Shop. Over here, it's the quality of the clothes and the ethics that matter most. That, of course, is the reason why Pier32 chose to partner with them. Their basics, hoodies and accessories are super-stylish, ethically sound and designed to last. We, at least, were not swayed by the adverts.

Monday 18 February 2013

A Perfect Fit: Introducing American Apparel

What do you think of when you think of American Apparel? Well, if you've seen any of their ads you probably have a fair idea of what they're about. Girls in tiny, figure-hugging tops and bodysuits prancing around in the California sunshine. Print and viral ads that tread a fine line between taseful and downright naughty. They go for controversy, for a sexy, vibrant image that keeps everyone talking about the brand.

Which is damn clever of them. If you remember, when I was discussing the Source Brand Preview a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that one of the big themes emerging out of the conference was the way that smart brands were focussing more on the clothes and less on the ethics. In other words, attracting people to the goods not because they were sustainably produced, but because they were well-made and looked great.

See, the thing is that American Apparel are very ethical indeed. They produce everything in the catalogue from their factory in LA, which is sweatshop-free, and pays a very fair living wage to the workers. Their cotton is organic and locally-sourced. They're part-powered by a huge solar array on the roof, which in California makes all kinds of sense. Ordinarily, American Apparel would be the poster kids of the green revolution. Instead, no-one talks about the ethics and everyone talks about the ads and buys the clothes. Which is kind of understandable, when as a way of showing off their solar roof, they come up with a stunt like this...

American Apparel - Factory Tour - The Roof from American Apparel on Vimeo.

It's a little remiss of me to take this long to talk about American Apparel, but I have a very good reason for doing so today. I have exciting news.

Pier32 is very proud to announce that you can now buy and customise American Apparel clothing through us. Their huge range of basics and hoodies is available for you to give a clean, fresh look to your brand, club or charity. Once again, let's do the rollcall: these clothes are ethically produced, made from organic cotton and built to last. American Apparel is a perfect fit for us, and we think they will be for you too.

To find out more, check out the American Apparel landing page on the Pier32 website. But before you go, check out a little celebratory video I put together to announce the news. Relax: it doesn't feature me jumping around in my scanties.

Friday 15 February 2013

Watch Renewable World This Sunday

You may recall that in December I mentioned that our friends at Renewable World were to be featured as part of the BBC Lifeline Appeal. Well, the time has finally come, and the programme about the charity's amazing work in Nepal will be shown on BBC One this Sunday.

Presenter Gethin Jones travelled to Muralibanjyang in the Dhading district of Nepal, in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, to see the work that Renewable World is doing, and to meet with the people for whom that work is making a real difference.

Renewable World installed a hydraulic ram pump, that sends water from streams on the valley floor up to the tiers where the people of Muralibanjyang live and work.

Gethin says:
One remarkable woman I met yesterday, Sumina - a mother of three, with a husband who has been very poorly, explained the effect the water pump has had on her family's life. Having water pumped to fields and her home, rather than spending a huge amount of time and effort collecting it means so much. She can provide a nutritious diet for her children. She can sell some of her produce in the local market, which in turn means she can afford to send the children to school (instead of them helping in the fields all day). And, she can grow her vegetables ALL year round.
The approach that Renewable World take is simple, yet effective; use exosting, cheap technology and install it at the point where it can best help rural populations to make real, palpable improvements to their lives. When you don't have to spend your whole day fetching water, you can do so much more with it.

Renewable World is a charity that we have supported enthusiastically here at The Pier for a while now, and it's great to see their work getting wider exposure.

For more details, check out the Facebook page, or go direct to the Renewable World Lifeline Appeal page on their website.

The BBC Lifeline Appeal, featuring Renewable World, will be shown on BBC at 4:20 this Sunday, 17th February.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Rip It Up And Start Again: Patagonia And A New Way Of Doing Business

Are you happy? Do you feel like you're spending your life the right way? Or do you get through the week trying to make enough money to pay the bills, put food on the table, have a bit left over for a nice holiday or a treat?
We live in a society where the pursuit of profit is engrained as the only pathway to success. But of course, that might not be true. And as we start to see that old business model crumble round the edges whilst scandal after crisis engulf us, the question is being asked: is there another way?
Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company who have been questioning the very idea of consumerism for several years, are about to step up and face down capitalism itself. Fresh from their controversial "don't buy this jacket" campaign and the recycling initiatives and Ebay club it set up last year, the company is about to embark on a two-year mission exploring new ways of running a business. Ways that don't depend on selling ever larger amounts of clothing.
Sound crazy? Don't be so quick to judge. Vincent Stanley, who co-runs Patagonia with his uncle, founder Yvon Chouinard, is looking at consumerism as a whole, and seeing something that's frankly unwell. He likens consumerism to an addiction, and one that requires several steps to cure. The first is realising that there's a problem in the first place.
He says:
"Our head of environmental initiatives says prosperity tied to growth is the elephant in the room that nobody is really prepared to talk about. Certainly businesses would be reluctant to talk about it. So I think it's time to talk about the elephant. I have been meeting with college students as well as customers at Patagonia stores and the response to this is very strong, I think people are looking for a deeper conversation than we have been having about what business should be doing or can be doing."
Once we start to see that there's something wrong, then we can identify the issues and start asking the right questions. What does prosperity mean? What does growth mean? If you take economic activity out of the equation, then suddenly all sorts of new definitions and ideals come into play.
The notion of a happiness index, a measure of how content we are with our lives, is becoming as important a metric as financial gain. The simple matter is that happiness doesn't increase past a certain level of monetary security. In fact, the opposite is true. A recent survey using the happiness index showed that the richer you are, the more unhappy you're likely to be. The old saw that money can't buy you love is dead on.
So why do we spend most of our time chasing the bigger house, the faster car? What happens if we look beyond that, to a model based not on profit, but on quality of life and recognising the value of nature's services, and using our expertise to protect rather than exploit them?
Here's where it gets tricky. There's a good chance that an immediate knock-on effect will be that things get more expensive. Respect has a cost, too. But then, as Pier Crush Vivienne Westwood says, Buy Less, Choose Well, Make It Last. Can we continue down the fast fashion route when the impact these clothes have on the environment is so blatantly, obviously harmful? Of course not. Vincent points out that the jacket that Patagonia urged us not to buy last year had problems. It's long lasting, and made from 60% recycled materials. But it still costs more than it was selling for. Making the jacket uses enough water for 45 people and generates 20 times its weight in CO2 emissions. That's unsustainable--which is why Patagonia have never called themselves a sustainable business.
We have no real way of knowing where the path Patagonia are taking will lead them. But one thing's for sure. It's a journey in which we all have a vested interest. A changing world needs a change in attitude and maybe Vincent and Yvon are onto something. Maybe it really is time to look beyond the profit line, and towards a future that will make us rich in a very different way.

Monday 11 February 2013

Streetlife: Saŋk●tuary on the streets of Telford

Saŋk●tuary are a small volunteer group based in the Shropshire town of Telford, who are taking the notion of the Good Samaritan and applying it to everyday life in a surprising way. Every Saturday night, they go out and make sure the clubbing kids of the town have a safe place to go if they get in a bit of trouble, or just need somewhere to catch their breath or get a warm-up before heading home. They run a cafe in the local church hall, where there's free hot drinks, soup, toast, basic first aid and a sympathetic ear. Meanwhile, at the gates of prominent nightclub Pussycats, they dole out free lollipops, flipflops for girls having problems with their six-inch stack heels, and blankets for those unwise enough to venture out without a coat. There's no judgement, no expectations.

Telford girls looking good in their free flipflops!

Like any British club on a Saturday night, there's some drama, usually a fight or two, always some tears but laughter as well. Saŋk●tuary are there to help. On a night before Christmas, first aider Sean (pictured below) was on hand when a girl coming out of the club had an asthma attack and stopped breathing. That was a story with a happy ending, and they have plenty more. The Twitter feed is worth checking out, not just for an overview of a night's events, but for the clubber's reactions to the "street angels" and their free flipflops and soup.

Saŋk●tuary: out on the streets!

Saŋk●tuary have been a fixture of the night-time streets of Telford for over four years now, celebrating their fourth anniversary on the 21st of December. I'm very pleased to say that Pier32 could help with the celebrations, as we've supplied the team with padded body warmers, first aid bags and branded hats. Deborah Reck, a long-time volunteer and blogger for the team, offered up these kind words:

“Our volunteers are incredibly pleased with the new uniforms so thank you very much!! It makes a real difference to all of us to be clearly visible especially as we work outside in the middle of the night and often in dark corners of car parks trying to help vulnerable people. The clothing is all of excellent quality and as a Christian project we really value the ethical nature of Pier32. We are very grateful to Ian and all of the team at Pier32 for all their hard work and their support which has continued long after orders have been delivered. We will be coming back to Pier32 again and again with future orders and highly recommend them to anyone who wants excellent service and ethically sourced goods from truly lovely people!”

Can't say fairer than that, really. Allow me to throw some love back. We think Saŋk●tuary are doing great work in helping out people who some outspoken commentators have chosen to view as wasters or useless. Saŋk●tuary know better. Everyone deserves a little help sometimes, whether that be somewhere warm to wait for a taxi, a cup of tea, a free pair of shoes so you can get home safely, or just a shoulder to cry on.

Team Saŋk●tuary: in from the cold.

They're always looking for volunteers, so if you feel you have something of the Samaritan about you and you're local, why not check them out at their website or Twitter feed?




Friday 8 February 2013

Pier32 Loves You

...and because we love you, we're going to offer another of our Flash Discounts for the most romantic week of the year!

Order £250 of goods from us at any time up to and including Valentine's Day, and we'll give you an automatic 5% discount*. That includes money off the clothing, bags and accessories we offer from over 50 ethical brands, as well as all our screen printing, embroidery and transfer printing services.

Just bear in mind that our usual minimum order quantities still apply. Sorry, we can't offer the discount on purchases of undecorated sample garments.

Check out the Pier32 website for more details, and have a look at our latest mailout for more news on our upcoming plans.

At Pier32 we've got you covered--in hugs and kisses!

*Offer applies until 5pm, Thursday February 14th. £250 is net spend before Carriage and VAT.

Thursday 7 February 2013

Join The Climate Revolution!

As you probably know by now, I bow to no-one in my admiration for Pier Crush Vivienne Westwood, who remains an inspiration to generations of fashion designers and free thinkers.
I didn't think it was possible to think she was cooler, but slap me down with a recycled flip-flop, she's only gone and proclaimed a revolution! The Climate Revolution, drafted partly as a response to the utter failure of the international community to get behind the real change need to address the problem of climate change, is an angry and vibrant call to arms. It makes the case that climate and economic crisis are symptoms of the same disease, and can therefore be treated in the same way. It's pretty straightforward:

"If we want a sound economy we have to have a sound environment.What’s good for the planet is good for the economy.What’s bad for the planet is bad for the economy."
With that in mind, Westwood has set out a series of steps to help us take back the planet. She's devoting a lot of her creative energy to it: her spring collection features Climate Revolution logos, and she's already entered into partnership with high street names like Lush to get the message across. But the message is, in its purest form, something that she's been talking about for years.
Buy Less. Choose Well. Make It Last.
Amen to that. It was interesting to note that the Climate Revolution mantra was cited by quite a few attendees at last week's Source Brand Preview. It coud become a rallying cry amongst the ethical fashion brigades, although to be frank I think they've already got it. The job is to get the word out onto the high street, and start to educate people that if we want a world for our kids to grow up in, we have to take action now.
If you want to know more about how you can join The Climate Revolution, then be like me and click the link below. Engage. Respond. Revolt.
Join The Climate Revolution

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Home Is Where The Heart Lies With Habitat For Humanity


Home is the most important place in our world. It protects us, keeps us healthy and creates space to love, learn and play. It’s where families grow together and communities become stronger.

But for the 1.6 billion people trapped in poverty housing – the shacks and shantytowns of the world - home is a place of danger and disease. It robs people of their health. It denies people the chance to earn a living and receive an education.

That's where Habitat For Humanity comes in. They're a charity dedicated to building safe, affordable buildings for the poorest communities on the planet. Remarkably, new techniques and materials and a collaborative model where the communities put up the homes themselves with a little guidance from volunteers mean that they can house a family for less than £1,500.

The great thing about Habitat For Humanity is the wide range of ways they allow you to get involved. You can donate, of course, but you can also sponsor a house. Or, if you're feeling especially handy, you can join one of their volunteer groups that are banding together to help families out of the trap of poverty housing, providing them with a solid base from which they can start to build a real life.

Habitat For Humanity work in over 70 countries worldwide, from Argentina to Zambia. They do essential work, giving people the small amount of help they need to make a real difference. Pier32 are proud of our association with the charity... And don't our t-shirts look good as workwear?

This February, Habitat For Humanity is asking you to Share The Love, and get involved in whatever way you can. From donations to volunteer work, there's something you can do to help the poorest communities out of slum housing and into a new life. There's a ton of fundraising events, from marathon bike rides to the Hope Challenge, an event where you build your own shelter and sleep in it for a couple of nights.


Habitat for Humanity knows the best way to fight poverty for a family is to help them build a decent home. For little more than 50p per day you can help more families in desperate need.

Fight poverty. Build a home.

For more on Habitat For Humanity and how you can help Share The Love, follow the link below.


Share The Love With Habitat For Humanity


Tuesday 5 February 2013

The Future Is Now With Pier32!

There's an old saying in science fiction circles that doesn't get any less true with age. It states:

"There's nothing as dated as yesterday's future."

Science fiction, especially in the movies, has a dangerous way of looking dated almost as soon as it's been released. Thirties movies like Metropolis, with their flying cars and scary-looking robots. The fifties, when it seemed that everyone would be going to work by jetpack. Gloomy 70s films like Soylent Green, that showed riot control using giant earth-moving scoops.

First Great Western regret to announce delays to all West Coast services, due to a blimp on the line.

Actually, that last one's not too far off the truth.

The thing is, predicting the future is a tricky business, and there's no guarantees as to what lies ahead. Sure, we don't have jetpacks and robot servants. But I'm writing this on a slab of glass and aluminium that's barely as thick as my little finger, and at the swipe of my finger, this article can be read anywhere on the planet. That's something that very few writers managed to see back in the fifties and sixties, when computers took over entire buildings.

The future of fashion is a subject that occupies a lot of my thinking time on this blog. Will we see more innovative uses for new textiles and fabric blends? Is the future locked in the past, as old methods and fibres like nettle and bark are rediscovered? Will we recycle more, shwopping our old clothes for new rather than simply throwing them away? One thing's for sure, we won't be dressing in the way that the SF writers predicted. No silver foil, visors and pointy hats for us, no sir.

Well, hang on a minute. In 1972, Geoffrey Hoyle's book "2010: Living In The Future" took a thoughtful look at our lives 38 years on. He was off the mark with a lot of his ideas, of course.

A Pier32 marketing meeting, yesterday.

But he believed that in 2010 we would all be wearing comfy, hard-wearing one-piece garments that would reflect our enlightened ideals regarding gender and class. Everyone would be dressing the same, in clothes that took a second to put on, looked good and required minimal care and attention.

He might have been a couple of years early, but in 2013, Pier32 is happy to agree with Hoyle that the future is onesie-shaped.


The Pier32 Onesie.


Friday 1 February 2013

Every Conversation Helps Conservation With WWF Wildlife Mobile

The World Wildlife Fund's latest money-raising initiative is one of the most innovative I've seen in a while. In association with Digital Spring and Vodafone, they've launched their own mobile network!

WWF Wildlife Mobile is a SIM-only plan that's incredibly cost effective. Bundles start at £9.50 for a ton of calls, texts and data, and you don't pay a penny extra to donate to the charity. 10% of every call charge is paid by Digital Spring to help conservation causes.

Let's do the maths. A 10 minute call on WWF Wildlife Mobile could pay for six tree seedlings to help restore critical and vanishing areas of tiger habitat. Just two weeks of regular usage could cover the costs of a three-person community based anti-poaching patrol in the field for a day, protecting Tigers and Rhinos in Nepal. That sort of basic usage can add up fast and makes a real difference to vital conservation projects across the globe.

Digital Spring are keen to work with charities like WWF to create complete digital services. It's a whole new way of fund-raising without having to rattle collection boxes, and I can see other big charities moving up to join them. As the system works in conjunction with probably the largest UK mobile service provider, there's no feel that your support for a worthy call means a drop in quality--in fact the whole point is that you shouldn't notice any difference in either picking up a call or to your pocket. As WWF Wildlife Mobile offer some of the cheapest rates around, the effects can only be beneficial.

This is clever stuff, and marks a new waypoint in the way people buy phone and data services. Brand loyalty is, as we know, incredibly important, so why restrict that to phone providers and supermarkets? Donating to your favourite charity doesn't just have to be a phone call away any more--it can be part of every phone call you make. Switching is simple, free and you can keep your old number and phone. I'm tempted to look into this myself when my latest Sim-only deal comes to an end in the summer.

I think WWF Wildlife Mobile are ringing in a new era of smart, effective fundraising. Let's see where it takes us. For more info, and to sign up as either a Pay As You Go or bundle customer, check out the website.

WWF Wildlife Mobile

One of the cute bundle mascots