Page 78

But that’s not all. The outspoken exhibitionist has used his love of getting his kit off to show support for Fair Trade and Trade Justice by organising large-scale ‘good pant flashes’ at influential institutions like the Houses of Parliament, Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and the ICC in Birmingham. Trying to convey what it feels like to disrobe in public, Ramsden exclaims: “It is complete raw energy just seeing the transformation in people! People turn up and they’re fully dressed, then within a few minutes they are semi-naked wearing nothing but Pants To Poverty banners. We all meet in a pub basement and exchange bad underwear for good underwear. Then everyone strips down, we have a shot of whiskey and it culminates in a 15-minute frenzy of mass adrenaline.” The infamous good pant flashes even made it into the Guinness book of world Records a couple of years ago for the most amount of people gathered in just their underpants – 114 people in St Pancras International train station, November 13, 2008. “It was like walking into a media scrum,” says Ramsden with a laugh that suggests he enjoys being a bit of a public nuisance. “Not only were we Guinness World Record holders, our semi-naked bodies were being splashed around the media all over the world.” Ramsden is quick to assert, however, that while having a good time is important, there is always a deeper significance to these spectacles. “It’s a lot of fun but we’ve always done it so it has a powerful message,” he says, using a stern tone for the first time. It is not all halfnaked frolicking and grabbing headlines. Despite his world record-breaking success, Ramsden is the first to admit that establishing Pants To Poverty has not been without its difficulties. “Setting up a whole supply chain was the hardest part because it took a huge amount of work,” concedes the Worcester-born visionary. “It was tough turning it from a concept into a proper business.” Less than five years after the birth of the brand, Ramsden acknowledges that a lot of late nights still lie ahead but a relentless dedication emanates from his every response. “It is only going to get harder,” he admits, undeterred. “We have still got a long way to go.” But he is not giving up anytime soon. Ramsden is currently charging into uncharted territory with Pants to Poverty by


supporting the Zameem Organic Farmers Organisation in India that represents 5000 farmers producing organic and Fair Trade cotton. In another initiative, Pants To Poverty will donate a pound from sales of every pair of their ‘Condom Pocket’ pants to the Treatment Action Campaign in Africa – an organisation fighting for the rights of people with HIV and AIDS. What’s more, Ramsden is also working closely with the Pesticide Action Network and the Environmental Justice Foundation to ban the use of Endosulphane, commonly believed to be one of the most harmful pesticides in the world. “We are trying to build a sustainable planet, but that is impossible unless we address the way that trade is done,” says the ethical pioneer who believes that tackling one side of the issue is simply not enough. “Unfair trade is the vehicle that is driving climate change and mass poverty around the world. I believe that if we can fix that it will be a catalyst to creating a sustainable planet.” Keen to encourage others to follow in his footsteps, Ramsden offers some advice to ethical fashion brands of the future. “If you are starting an ethical brand, you’re on the right track,” he says positively. “If ethical fashion is not there now it is going to be there in five years time. You need to make sure the product represents your values. You’ve got to make sure the way you do your business reflects your ethics. It needs to focus on quality, fashion and price.” And as if he hasn’t got enough on his proverbial plate, this year Ramsden will be working relentlessly to strengthen the impact of his cause. “We are setting up a new charity,” he announces matter-of-factly. “We are going to take all of our learning and build a golden supply chain so that other companies can have the supply chain we have. We are also going to continue to expand internationally and make it into a proper fashion brand.” Listening to Ramsden talk about Pants To Poverty and what he hopes to achieve in the future, you cannot help but be affected by his infectious enthusiasm. You start to find yourself agreeing with everything he says; perhaps proving that he’s always been a shrewd and gifted salesman. But more than that the motivated individual leaves the impression he really can improve the world we live in, one pair of pants at a time david mCnamara



The Dream Factory  
The Dream Factory  

The Dream Factory