Rachel Castillo : “I support fashion brands to respect Human Rights”
Rachel Castillo is a Human Rights consultant. Originally from the Netherlands, she embarked on a career dedicated to ethical fashion after an internship in India, where she researched working conditions in textile factories. Her journey led her to pursue a Masters in Responsible Management in Berlin, deepening her commitment to responsible business practices. Following a project for the Dutch government, this entrepreneur, with seven years’ experience in human rights in fashion, continues her advocacy of ethical decision-making in the fashion industry. In this interview, she explains her vision of the world and her commitments.
What is your business based on Human Rights in the fashion industry?
I believe that Human Rights, in essence, are about a dignified life for all. With my services to companies, I propose a reflection on what an ethical company could be and the decisions it needs to make to get there. I also suggest that they develop responsible strategies with a practical action plan. And what I like best: projects with a local impact. Most fashion brands produce in other countries. To make a difference, it’s important to truly understand the root causes of social problems, so conversations with suppliers are crucial. In these conversations, we value trust, equality and vulnerability, and through these values, we can work on Human Rights.
Could you describe the current panorama of Human Rights in the world?
Let’s start with a few positive points! I see more and more ethical fashion initiatives emerging. Some for brands, others for consumers. In addition, there is an increased emphasis on transparency. Some brands are becoming more transparent about their supply chains, enabling consumers to make informed choices. With the companies I work with, I see an increase in fair trade practices, where workers receive decent wages and work in good conditions.
There are also areas for improvement. Overall, I think there’s a lack of responsibility on people’s part. Just as a human being. If you experience more pain and fear than love, then you’ll probably act on those feelings too. And so we remain in the company as it is today. When I look around the world, I see a lot of social injustice, discrimination, gender inequality and health problems. Which, in my opinion, is the consequence of a lack of love.
“We lack love for ourselves, for our loved ones, for people in other parts of the world and for nature itself.”Rachel Castillo
What are your plans for this year?
From September 2024, I’ll be traveling the world with my boyfriend. For work, but also to explore more of this beautiful planet. Before that, I’ll be in Amsterdam, organizing events almost every month. I love being connected to people with the same intrinsic motivation to make a difference. And so I share my space with people who would like to join us. If you’d like to join us, contact me to keep up to date with our upcoming events.
This year, I’m working mainly on a local impact project in India. I work in partnership with various NGOs, a brand and their suppliers to ensure ethical working conditions. The NGOs are based in India, so they understand the culture and language. In such projects, we always work with a network of people we create in the country who can support the suppliers.
And for the first time, I’m working directly with a supplier instead of a brand. I’m going to help this supplier better communicate its ethical activities and value chain so that brands can do the same.
Photo: Rachel Castillo