Talk Inspires Change
This week, as you will have seen in yesterdays post, if Fashion Revolution week. The revolution, built as a direct response to the Rana Plaza Disaster, is all about starting that conversation with the people who make the clothes on your back to find out where and how they were made.
As consumers, we are key part of changing the global supply chain. Brands respond to consumer trends, the whole fashion industry is based on this! A couple of decades ago large fashion design houses would dictate trends from the top down to us, since the wide adoption of the internet and the subsequent social media developments that have followed, the bottom up influence has really dominated. Most designers, while still working with one eye on the ‘top down’ trends, draw their inspiration from street style, blogger/influencer, and other recurrent purchasing patterns or trending hashtags.
Brands want your patronage because without money they are no longer a viable business. As a consumer you have the right to ask questions about your products, you can ask where they are from, how they are made and what conditions they are made under. All labels should be open to politely share this information with you as part of their customer service policy.
Let’s look at what #whomademyclothes enquiries can achieve!
#whomademyclothes Consumer Empowerment
Each year, on the 24th of April, when you stop to ask your favourite brands #whomademyclothes, you are asking them to step up and share what they should be sharing all along. Many brands operate with some degree of mindfulness towards people and planet but most have failed to acknowledge that this information on their manufacturing practices needs to be public.
Fashion Revolution Success Updates!
Here are some of the great things that are happening with some of the key brands I’ve been fortunate enough to be in communication with over the course of Fashion Revolution. There are so many fabulous advancements to celebrate and there is big kudos to all three of these wonderful labels for really encouraging their customers to ask where their clothing has come from!
Amelia and The Team embrace Fashion Revolution!
Tigerlily clothing easily dominates the majority of my non-vintage closet space. I’ve bought most of these items secondhand and wear everything on high rotation but as someone who is wearing the label I’m still a representative of the brand and their ethics and sustainability even if I haven’t purchased ‘new’ often. The first time I reached out to Tigerlily and asked #whomademyclothes in 2015 I was pleasantly surprised that the beautiful creative director Amelia Mather got in contact with me, and said she and the team were working on Ethics documentation for the website. She was super pleasant and kind and made my enquiries feel welcome and valid.
In my 2016 follow up with Tigerlily they hadn’t yet launched their documentation and had scored a ‘C’ grade in the Australian Fashion Report that year. Again, when I asked about it the team were accommodating, apologetic, and responsive and said they were still working to making it live. Amelia was still very kind, honest and open with me and made me feel like my Fashion Revolution enquiry was being worked on. Tigerlily blossomed into Fashion Revolution awesomeness in 2017 when they launched their very own Fashion Revolution campaign, sending out emails to their mailing list explaining the movement and their commitment to grater transparency by providing more manufacturing information on their website.
This year the Tigerlily team announced that they were working harder than ever before to continually improve their production processes (it’s actually quite good timing as Amelia just sent me through a message on Instagram to point me towards their updates on the website). Their message came off the back of a series of images of the team on a garment factory visit and the following 2018 improvements
- Close to 50% of our swimwear launching in 2018 is made using recycled fibres
- Over 60% of our print fabrics are certified by OEKO-TEX® which confirms that no toxic chemicals have been used in their production
- We have increased our 2018 offer of Indian hand-loomed textiles to 30%
It’s such an exciting time for the Tigerlily team (who now have a very cool set of ‘Responsibly Sourced’ tabs on their site to explore) and I for one am impressed with the efforts they have gone to in order to encourage consumers to ask #whomademyclothes. Thank you Tigerlily- can’t wait until next years updates.
A Brand On A Sustainability and Ethics Mission!
Spell Designs has really cemented itself as part of the Australian boho lifestyle becoming a bit of an iconic go-to for girls who want to have fun in free flowing style. I approached Spell a couple of years back on social media, and then ended up following up with emails after the social route didn’t work. The team were super friendly, interested in the Fashion Revolution message and forwarded my enquiry on to Elizabeth (the fabulous designer) who emailed me back to chat.
The last two years Spell have been really focused on celebrating the Fashion Revolution message, and like Tigerlily they have chosen to participate in the campaign (via their email list and through social media) that gets their customers to ask more questions about manufacturing. Spell have really invested time into working on their Sustainability and Ethics transparency by building up a People and Planet resources section on their website.
Products With Earth Love
Arnhem are yet another iconic Boho Australia label that like Tigerlily and Spell, occupy quite a considerable amount of my closet space (I will admit that all of mine are thrifted). My Fashion Revolution communications with Arnhem did take a little while. It was a bit tricky to get a hold of them (most of us are busy folk) and when I did they were super friendly, polite, and like Spell, quite excited about Fashion Revolution,
Arnhem, love to focus on the Enviromenal side of production (something I deeply appreciate as a bit of a greenie) and were working on an organic cotton range at the time of last years Fashion Revolution campaign. Yet again, the team are launching a new Sustainable Fashion range to coincide with Fashion Revolution week and also provide a bunch of great documentation here
A massive thank you to these brands for embracing the Fashion Revolution message, encouraging open communication, and for continually improving their business practices with open hearts and minds.
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