Shoppers are increasingly turning to clothing labels for more than just size information.
Designers and shops are being asked to increase the transparency around where their clothes are made for Fashion Revolution Week (18th – 24th April 2016).
So we asked the people behind new and developing sustainable fashion companies why they are committed to ensuring they can honestly answer the question: who made your clothes?
Raquel Wallace from ethical.market said: “It’s easy not to have to think about where something is made, it’s out of sight and out of mind, but with the high street giants churning out new designs every day ‘who made my clothes?’ is a question we should all be asking.
“I’m just not comfortable with the concept that someone else has to pay the human cost, in order for me to have another item to add to my wardrobe. It’s 2016 and I think enough is enough, this exploitation of people and the environment just can’t continue in the way it has, something has to give.
“When I’m asked why we do what we do, a quote by a garment worker called Shima from ‘The True Cost’ movie always resonates with me: ‘I don’t want anyone wearing anything, which is produced by our blood’, quite frankly neither do I.
“I just can’t see the appeal in fast fashion, aside from the human ethics, I don’t really want to spend my hard earned money on something that isn’t meant to last or that everyone else is wearing. I’m not saying we ban brands, but we should put more pressure on them to make some changes or at least stop the greenwashing so there is more transparency for consumers to make an informed decision.
“One of the problems with ethically made products is accessibility and affordability, our goal when building ethical.market was to create a platform where hundreds of brands could come together and offer an unrivalled selection competing with the high street.
“All our brands have to sign up to our strict terms and conditions ensuring that they have traced back items through their entire manufacturing chain, ensuring fair working conditions at every stage.”
Tom Cridland said: “My brand begins and ends with knowing who makes our clothing. We toured Europe to find the suppliers we’ve partnered with and are proud to be transparent about our supply chain.
“Tom Cridland clothing is made by world class tailors and seamstresses from Portugal and Italy. They make my designs a reality at a level of quality I am proud to put my name to.
“The people who put together our clothing are amazing at what they do and I’m happy to say their working conditions are excellent. I would encourage the fast fashion world to try and do more to avoid disasters like Rana Plaza re-occuring.”
Cho Hmone, Tiffany Rose web developer said: “From the outset, the Tiffany Rose team has been transparent about our supply chain and we are proud to support British manufacturing with each and every garment draped and manufactured in the UK.
“We have a talented in-house design team based in Surrey and a network of skilled manufacturers across England, which enables us to have both production speed and flexibility. Our production manager liaises with our factories on a daily basis, and because they are based in the UK we are able to pay regular visits to where our clothes are made. This enables us to be confident in knowing who made each and every one of our maternity dresses.
“Furthermore, because we manufacture our maternity wear to such an exceptional quality, our maternity designs are treasured by their owners and often have a life after pregnancy, with many dresses used during nursing, passed onto friends or loved ones, or resold and donated to charity.”
Jody Bell said: “I’m committed to investing in community and dedicated to lowering the carbon footprint. I ensure first hand that fair labour practices are employed at the factories and the small family workshops that produce my pieces by visiting them two or three times a week when I have the opportunity to develop good personal relationships, really engage the artisans in the fabrication process and ensure that all those producing my collection are happy and treated fairly.
“I only use local resources in Northern Costa Blanca where my garments, hats and bags are made. I work with local artisans and small factory owners to produce my pieces. There is no global supply chain. The textiles are locally produced with only the lace and tassels sourced outside my region of Spain. Everyone involved in the fabrication process is local.”
Daniel Puddick founder of Sundried said: “The pressures and hidden costs of fast fashion need to stop. If customers understand exactly what has gone into a product it will force large manufacturers to be responsible. Reducing their carbon footprint and improving their ethics. It has to start with the consumer simply asking how has this been made.
“Sundried showing full traceability will hopefully educate consumers to ask these questions of other apparel brands.Traceability is so important to Sundried that when you receive your Sundried purchase it comes with a unique code that allows you to understand the journey of the garment.”
Rose and Willard
Rose And Willard
Heidy Rehman founder of Rose and Willard said: “We can’t have another Rana Plaza. We are committed to ethical practice. We want to be sure that there is no exploitation anywhere along our value chain.
“We now make all our clothes at our London studio. However we have made some product elsewhere in London (the same as one used by Victoria Beckham) and in Portugal and Poland. In each external situation we have visited the factories and investigated their working practices – and taken photos.
“We now make everything in-house. I have exceptional seamstresses and all my staff have very good working standards. No one works longer than an eight-hour day with a full hour for lunch.”
Eleanor O’Neill, founder of Study 34 said: “What gives us the right to ignore who made our clothes?
“At a time when information was less available and the reality of the industry somewhat hidden, a casual disregard on the part of the consumer was perhaps accepted.
“You cannot plead ignorance today.
“I make all the jumpers I sell in the study 34 studio in Newcastle.”