London | Pants to Poverty
sOCiAl EnTREpREnEuR bEn RAMsDEn is sAYing pAnTs TO pOvERTY.
With his unruly hair and perfectly relaxed manner, you could be forgiven for thinking Ben Ramsden is just another hippie surfer who spends most of his time chasing waves. So it may come as a surprise to learn that the 33-year-old is actually a social entrepreneur who started his first business 15 years ago as a bright-eyed teen. After a lot of success in the telecom industry, it seemed like Ramsden was on track to become the next Alan Sugar, but a fateful trip to South America spurred him on a quest to rid the world of bad underwear – that is, underwear made from cotton contaminated with harmful pesticides and manufactured under unethical working conditions. It may seem like a drastic life-changing decision but it
was one Ramsden made without a moment’s hesitation. “I realised there were a lot of things wrong in the world and we needed to do something about it,” he reflects. “I got involved with Make Poverty History and from there Pants To Poverty was born in 2005.” Later that year Ramsden took his revolutionary pants to Glastonbury Festival and gained support from many celebrities including Joss Stone, Goldie Lookin Chain and Gail Porter. But the progression he’s made in the five years since is nothing short of extraordinary. Today, his ethical underwear is sold in over 20 countries, providing financial support to some of the most poverty-stricken parts of the world as well as influencing other major fashion brands to follow suit.
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