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.
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?
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 themI 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 tasselsI 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.