Fashion Revolution Follow Up: 2016

SPELL_1

The result.

It’s been a long time coming but I can finally announce the results of my Fashion Revolution campaign. This year I targeted three brands; Tigerlily Swimwear, Arnhem, and Spell Designs. Tigerlily was in contact with me during last years campaign and explained that they are still working on the ethical manufacturing documentation they will provide on their website. It was lovely to hear from them again so early in the campaign and although they are only graded ‘C’ in the 2016 Australian Fashion Report, it is nice to see that the designers are quick to respond to customer inquiry. The let me know they are still working on the document and hope to release it soon. I contacted Arnhem last year and this year via social media and email and have hear a big fat NOTHING from them two years running. A very disappointing result and it doesn’t fair well for a brands reputation to ignore customer inquiries. Although the two items I own from this brand were purchased secondhand I won’t be promoting their products to anyone until I hear or see something from them in regards to their manufacturing processes. In the mean time, anyone who inquires about my secondhand goodies (and it happens every time I wear them) will be sent to Foundling, a company that offer a simmilar lifestyle aesthetics but will talk ethics with you. Sorry Arnhem. You are in my bad books.

Spell Reply

The reason for the late Fashion Revolution follow up is that I’ve been patiently awaiting a response from Spell designs. During fashion revolution Lizzy, one of the head Spell designers, said she would get in contact. It’s taken a little time and an email prompt but this is the response from the Spell team in regards to #whomademyclothes?

Hi Katie,

Thank you for contacting us and the introduction lovely.

I do love that you have reached out and are asking these questions! I too am a big believer in ethical production and you’ll be happy to know that Elizabeth and Isabella have high standards too.
We also applaud brands that are transparent about their practices, and you’ll be happy to know we are currently working on information regarding our ethics and sustainability (including photos etc) and will be sharing this on our website soon – stay tuned for more.
In the meantime I am more than happy to share some information with you. All of our clothes and jewellery are designed here in Byron Bay, Australia, and are manufactured in a few places overseas; Indonesia, China, Peru and India. Until recently we had around 90% of production coming from Indonesia. We have worked with one family owned business there for a long time – in this time Spell has become such close friends with the owners that they are like family. It is so beautiful because they started out when Spell was still small and their business has grown hand in hand with Spell!
After the growth we’ve experienced in the last few years we have had to explore other options as the factory in Indonesia couldn’t keep up with the demand, and the girls didn’t want to overwork them. They still account for around 25% of our production and this works perfectly for them
I know there is a lot of stigma around products made in China, however I can assure you that the factory we use there is very ethical. Sarah and Olivia from our studio in Byron went over to China to choose a factory so they could be certain of the conditions there.  They searched for the most ethical company they could find and they were actually surprised by how great the standards are there. The factory is clean, has high OH&S standards, and recycling systems in place for all the water used during the dying processes.  The staff there are looked after extremely well, only working short shifts and of course taking breaks.
Recently one of our production assistants went over to China too and said that she loved it and shared her experience with us all. She said it was a really nice environment, for instance there were ladies sitting around a table chatting away and laughing whilst hand making our tassels
I hope this gives you some insight into the kind of business that we are. Please let me know if you have any more questions at all!
Kindest,
Lulu

While it is early days yet and we won’t know the extent and depth of these ethics and sustainability  documents from Spell and Tigerlily until they are released it is really exciting that some of our favourite brands are starting to think about sharing the whole story of the garments they create. These small milestones should be celebrated and encouraged. Hopefully Tigerlily and Spell work extensively on these documents and set the bar high for other Australian mass-market designers. When companies like these start to show they care about the long hours and hard work that goes into the manufacturing of their items then others will follow suit. I can’t think of anything more magical than being able to see where the fibres of my garment are made, and the hands and faces that stitch them together. While it’s dreamy to look at beautiful models and enchanting editorial (something both brands do exceptionally well, a Spell example in the video and image above) and the sneak peek behind the scenes of the design process, there is no denying that the real magic is in the making of a garment. I for one can’t wait to see the Spell and Tigerlily boho dreams being made.

A huge thank you to Spell and Tigerlily for being honest and open for discussion. Here’s hoping that these small steps by some labels in the right direction turn into industry leaps for the better of people and planet!  Did you have any success in your Fashion Revolution campaign? Let us know below.

Author: Katie

Katie Roberts is a self confessed 'write-a-holic' Environmental Scientist with a passion for Sustainable Fashion.

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8 Comments

  1. Wow I am very disappointed to hear one of the brands flat out ignored you – NOT okay in this day and age at all.

    Pleasing to hear the other two are thinking about all of this good stuff. I hope twenty years from now all these brands will be certified and we can rest assured what they are saying is indeed correct :-)

    Love your work Katie!

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Katherine!

      So nice to hear from you. I eventually heard from all three brands with great news! About to do a second follow up post now. So pleased with the great customer service :-)

      xx
      Can’t wait until we get to catch up.

      Katie.

      Post a Reply
  2. This is so great to see and I love you for being such a crusader for those who have no voice.

    I too sent quite a few emails to shoe brands like Wanted and Tony Bianco (As I’ve been on an ethical winter boots search) but have had NO response yet
    Of course I got the automated ‘we’ll be in touch in the next 24 hours’
    Well that was over a month ago now
    It seems that no response silence says a lot about their ethos doesn’t it
    Praying they step up soon
    (Pun definitely intended!)

    Post a Reply
    • Gotta love a shoe pun Faye!

      Have you attempted contact again? It’s worth doing another follow up. You have some pulling power with your social media, it might be worth setting the challenge again online? I think many labels miss the posts through social media. I don’t think there are too many excuses for missing the emails when you have a customer service obligation, but sometimes emails don’t work how they are supposed to an divert info to junk mail.

      Best of luck. Let me know if you want me to ask too. It might work if they get more emails on the same topics.

      xx

      Katie

      Post a Reply
      • Hi beautiful
        I have left them a note on insta but maybe they need another push and yes maybe one from you too!!

        Post a Reply
        • Hey Faye!

          Adding it to the list right now. Will let you know if (I dare I say WHEN) I hear from them.

          <3
          Katie

          Post a Reply
  3. Beautiful video and very interesting article! Sad to hear that some of the brands didn’t even respond, that should be the case nowadays with all instant communication tools that exist. Keep up the great great work!

    Our conscious journal @ http://www.epitomeofnow.byem.com
    Scandinavian casual chic slow fashion coming soon @ http://www.byem.com

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for getting in contact!

      There is an additional post that follows this one to show the response from all THREE brands. It just took a little longer for Arnhem to respond than the other two.

      You can click here to read the second ‘wrap up’ post for the fashion revolution.

      xx
      Katie

      Post a Reply

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