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Laura Francois

Laura Francois, co-founder of The Spaceship

Most of us, when we have a cause that we feel strongly about, donate to a relevant charity. Laura Francois took it one (or many) step(s) further and made it her life’s work. “I kickstarted my journey when I stopped believing in the ability of non-profits to solve the global issues we face. Impact can – and should – be created everywhere, through all industries and sectors, especially through business,” she shares.

She found her perfect starting point in the most problematic of all industries: fashion. “It represented the interconnection between human rights issues and planetary ones. It was the best place to illustrate the systemic change I was working on, one that required the removal of separation between social and environmental concerns.”

Laura Francois
Laura Francois, co-founder of The Spaceship

So strong were Francois’ convictions that in her early twenties, she left Canada for Malaysia with no clear plan, contacts or connections, guided only by a dogged determination to bring herself closer to the fashion industry’s supply chain.

Fortunately, the gamble paid off and birthed a number of endeavours. The most attention-grabbing of these is probably Clothing the Loop, which seeks to spark conversations about the impact of the fashion industry through larger-than-life art installations constructed out of donated or discarded clothing. So far, it has built the ‘largest closet’ in the world in Egypt, and created a three-part installation in an abandoned garment factory in Cambodia, featuring a tornado, a tree, and a waterfall made out of 2,500 pieces of textile waste.

Most recently, Francois has found a new way to spread her message through The Spaceship, an educational programme she launched targeting entrepreneurs who want to build businesses that make a difference. She declares: “For real, tangible change to happen, we need companies to realise their potential for creating exponentially more good than bad in the world.”