what is transparency? Part 2 of 3
why is transparency important to revolutionizing the clothing industry?
By demanding transparency in the clothing industry, we are telling companies that we will hold them accountable for how they choose to make their products.
what is transparency?
Let’s start with what transparency is not. Transparency is not showing some photos of factory workers sewing your clothes. Before you get to that step at the factory there were about 20 other steps before it, probably in different parts of the world, not even the same country as where the sewing is happening. Where did the fibers come from, where did the yarn come from, how was the fabric made, how was it printed and dyed, where did the tags come from, and the trim like zippers and buttons, what about the packaging? True transparency offers information into how every component was made. At virtue+vice we research every step of the production cycle starting on the farms where our cotton comes from.
If a company is claiming to be sustainable or ethical, look beyond the cleverly worded mission statement, and official-looking documents about company policy and ask to see the proof.
It is important to remember that lack of transparency does not mean a company is unethical or unsustainable. It is important not to jump to conclusions. Supply chains are long and complex and not always a direct line from A to B, there can be subcontractors and stops along the way. For larger companies formatting all of that data into a document, consumers can understand can be an overwhelming task.
where can I find more info on supply chains?
Every year Fashion Revolution compiles a list of 100 of the biggest global clothing companies, they then rank them on their transparency. The guide is free for download, and the findings are not very shocking (most of these companies are not very transparent).
The DoneGood web plugin extension is another great tool to find ethical and sustainable alternatives to regular fashion choices. Just download the plugin and run it in the background of your web browsing. Shop like you normally would. If there is an ethical, sustainable company that has what you looking for you will see an alert in the corner of your screen. It will take you to the alternative option from an eco-brand you might not have heard of yet.
You can also ask companies directly — tweet them, message them on facebook, send them emails, and ask how their clothes were made.
Remember, your voice is important and necessary to effect change. Take action and ask companies ‘who made my clothes?’.