Originally published in May 2020.
With the world currently turned on its head and most of us having some form of financial stress, clothes shopping may not be at the forefront of everyones mind. For me it certainly isn’t, with nowhere to go and money I now must saviour due to graduate jobs very bleak. But, that’s not to say there aren’t a few of you out there looking for a little pick-me-up. Of course, with said world on it’s head, it’s easy to forget of other important topics, such as climate change and the continuous need to be Sustainable. As despite global lockdown seeing incredibly environmental healing, there is still far to go for the environment to be completely healed. So, today I want to chat to you about a handful of clothing brands that have incredibly Ethical and Sustainable Supply Chains. For those of you who are in the market for something new, whether that being for a little treat or in a post-lockdown outfit plan.
I recently signed up to take Fashion Revolutions ‘Fashion’s Future: The Sustainable Development Goals’ online course and within it, it has so far uncovered some extremely serious truths on how bad some of fashion industry’s supply chains currently are. This being from Child Labour and bad treatment of Garment Workers in countries such as Bangladesh, to just the sheer amount of abuse women within these factories receive. I won’t go into the entire ins and outs, as this is not the purpose of this post. But, below are five brands I both love and have grown to love by how they help fight the crisis the industry is in. From fair wages for garment works, to championing Sustainability in fashion; below are 5 to take inspiration from the next time you want to add something to your cart.
‘Supply Chain’ [1.] noun
- the sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity (e.g. clothing)
If anyone ever asked me ‘Lisa, what’s your favourite clothing brand?’ every single time the answer is Olive Clothing, their mute tones and ‘rustic-chic’ style make be swoon with ever piece added to their New-in section. The brands transparency when it comes to their supply chain is worth an applause too. They state “our garments are manufactured within OECD advanced economies, by suppliers operating in highly unionised employment environments subject to developed world levels of minimum pay” they therefore have a clear outlook of where they source their garments, the workers are being treated fairly, being paid minimum wage as well as stating they have direct access to areas such as the production floors, which is extremely important.
When it comes to waste too, they have systems in place to ensure they’re combating material waste by limiting the amount of stock they create, and sell on their website. Often, items appear out of stock online, but this is to ensure they do not over-create garments, and thus have to discard them. Therefore, they only create a set number of each garment and then have the option to make more if proving popular, therefore no garment is created and wasted.
[Further Reading: Here] [2.]
Know The Origin
I discovered this brand a few years back, through a university module, with me also visiting their pop-up store collaborating with Lucy & Yak last year, at Old Street Station. The brand can be considered pioneering in the way their structure their website. Each garment they sell has information that is extremely clear-cut, transparent on the items Traceability; clearly labelling which countries the garments have been sourced etc. With this they also note each specific items Ethical Standard, organic cotton, recycled etc.
The founder, Charlotte’s aim was to combat the lack of Supply Chain transparency within the fashion industry and states ‘KTO respects people and the environment at every stage of the supply chain from cotton farming to final factory with traceability’. Therefore, Know the Origin provides both an education as well as complete transparency on where and how each garment was made.
[Further Reading: Here] [3.]
Even if you’re not a fan of high-end, luxury fashion, you will have heard of Stella McCartney, and what I do hope too is, you know how pioneering she is within Sustainability. Stella herself, regularly champions the need for brands to move towards ethical and low-impact fashion, and to have such a big name speak for the cause really is fantastic to aid movement.
The brand itself, have a very clear-cut Supply Chain, from working with carefully selected manufacturers that adhere to ethical standards. Their mission statement states “Each decision we make is a symbol of our commitment to defining what the future of fashion looks like” demonstrating they are aluxury label wanting to promote change within the industry. [Further Reading: Here] [4.]
Similar to KTO, I discovered Veja in all it’s sustainable glory during a university module last year, and quickly fell in love. I’m yet to purchase a pair of my own, but having recommend them to my mum, she has just bought a cream pair a few weeks ago and hasn’t stopped raving about them since! The French brand have a incredibly clear and transparent supply chain, clearly laid out on their website to view. Pinpointing the exact location of their production in Brazil to paying cotton farmers fairly so to provide them finical security. They state “Our VEJA sneakers cost 5 times more to produce than big brand sneakers. Because we use fair trade and organic raw materials”
They even delve further into regularly monitoring the level of chemicals they use to ensure they are not causing any toxic or polluting elements. Veja have an incredibly details Supply Chain, one all footwear brands should inspire to be like, with their product rivalling Nike or Adidas in terms of pricepoints, meaning there really is no excuse to be Sustainable.
[Further Reading: Here] [5.]
This may be a brand you have seen dotted around Instagram, with the brand doing a number of collaboration with influencers. Well, I must say it’s through them and reading into their Supply Chain and efforts that have made them a brand I hope one day, I’ll make a purchase off.
They clearly map out, on their website, name and locate each factory the use; declaring they are ethical factories who do not use child labour and pay a living wage. With this they describe each specific sustainable fabric they choose to use, with space to look into even more; “That means natural, renewable, recycled, biodegradable and or low-impact textiles only”. On the whole, their values lay deep into being as transparent as possible, with this clear to see from their ‘Low Impact Report’ they have, further information on how ‘Fashion is Dirty’ amongst may more reads to full translate their core sustainable and ethical values.
[Further Reading: Here] [6.]
References:[1.] https://www.lexico.com/definition/supply_chain[2.] https://www.oliveclothing.com/corporate-conscience/[3.] https://knowtheorigin.com/collections/dresses/products/lodi[4.] https://www.stellamccartney.com/experience/en/sustainability/themes/mission-statement/
[5.] https://project.veja-store.com/en/single/transparency/[6.] https://us.organicbasics.com/pages/sustainable-practice