Everything You Need To Know About Our Transparency Value

by: Rosie Dalton | 8 months ago | Features

Image: one of Transparent brand Veja’s cotton farmers. Image source.

The fashion industry supply chain is one of the most complex in the world. Which means that it has traditionally been relatively easy for ethically dubious brands to obscure certain undesirable facts from the consumer’s view. Perhaps even more problematically, many of those brands often don’t take the time to investigate what’s going on in their supply chain – which can lead to catastrophes like the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. “Perhaps just as shocking as the events that transpired,” Business of Fashion wrote of the fatal disaster, “was that many of these brands, including Joe Fresh, hadn't even the slightest clue that their own production was taking place in that facility. Their auditing system failed. They just didn't know.” It is for this reason that we have made Transparency one of our eight core values underpinning the Well Made Clothes website. 

These values represent the framework that informs our company’s ethics. All brands on Well Made Clothes must first adhere to a rigorous code of conduct, which requires them to meet minimum labour and environmental standards. Then on top of this, each brand must meet at least one of our core values; each of which is governed by a strict set of minimum requirements. To meet our Transparency value, for example, a brand’s raw materials and facilities – including Cut, Make, and Trim (CMT), dyeing and printing facilities – must all be completely traceable and known to business. Which means that when you are complimented on your transparently made top, you will be able to tell your mates that you can trace that garment from the clothing producer, right down to the raw materials.

We believe this is incredibly important – especially given the recent reports about fast fashion brands like H&M housing millions of dollars worth of deadstock inventory. Not to mention the allegations about those retailers burning these unsold clothes. In a fashion industry where speed is paramount and greenwashing is becoming more rife, then, shopping from brands that practice transparency remains one of the best ways to determine how your clothes were really made.

Fortunately, things have improved a little since the Rana Plaza collapse. The Australian Fashion report conducted by Baptist World Aid and Not For Sale Australia, for example, showed that, in 2013, a whopping 61% of Australian companies surveyed didn’t know where their garments were made. By 2015, those figures had improved a great deal. According to Advocacy Manager at Baptist World Aid, Gershon Nimbalker, “the 2013 factory collapse sparked the collective conscience of consumers and retailers to know more about the people producing our clothes and how they are treated." However, “while an increased number of companies know the factories where their final manufacturing takes place, only nine per cent have traced down to the people picking their cotton.”

Which means that we still have a ways to go when it comes to demystifying the fashion industry supply chain for good. And the best way that individual consumers can help encourage brands to be more transparent about their sourcing practices is by shopping on sites like Well Made Clothes and going directly to the brands to ask for more information about their supply chain. Not only does this mean that your wardrobe will be more traceable, but it can also help implement widespread environmental and social change as well. When brands practice transparency, it doesn’t mean that they are perfect, but it does mean that they are committed to opening up an honest dialogue with their customers. And that is the very first step in responsible production. "Designers and brands have a responsibility to provide transparency information to consumers," reiterates fashion consultant Tim Gunn. "Otherwise, it's just a lying deceptive shell game."

 

You can shop our Transparent brands over here.

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