Of course, the answer is not that simple. Sure, a lot of people are involved in the production of your/our clothes, which we could not list in detail. Nevertheless, we asked ourselves last week: Who actually makes all the clothes (damn it)?
Fashion Revolution Week was born out of the aftermath of the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh, where 1135 people were killed and 2438 injured on April 24, 2013. Under the keyword RANA PLAZA, the fashion industry remembers this tragedy every year at this time and thus show the effects of the industry behind our fashion consumption.
Even if Manitober is only a tiny cog in the gears of the global textile market, we have used this week to think and explain. Thinking about what needs to be done better and explaining how we work, produce and think. Because only if consumer behavior, knowledge and awareness change, the industry can really change too.
You can always ask manufacturers or brands that you wear or that you like. Take your time and ask where the things we all consume come from and what the conditions are under which they were produced. Forms and other very useful content can be found here: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/resources/free-downloads/
We also asked ourselves this question when producing our products. Finding manufacturers that meet our requirements is not that easy. And mostly they are more likely to find us. We work with an agency that searches and suggests a suitable manufacturer for each product. Since we do not have a large variance in our products, these are mostly the same, unless we want to do something completely new or a manufacturer can’t/doesn’t want to accept an article for various reasons. This happens quite often and it’s usually simply due to different product groups, certain fabrics or materials that have different requirements. We therefore regularly visit the factories to get an impression of their work and the conditions. We do not have a catalog of requirements or a contract that both sides have to sign in order for cooperation to take place. The reason for this is explained quite simply: Even if we had them, we could never prove whether our requirements are met. We therefore trust the information that is made available to us and what we see on site. Of course, these snapshots can’t reveal any violation of labor law, but they are hardly ever found in Portugal anyway. Certifications are good ways to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
Small textile companies like the ones we produce with are actually not able to cover costs that some certificates come with. In addition to the globally known certifications, there are also local awards, such as from textile associations, regions or certificates of excellence. These are actually a little more interesting for us: Because even though these awards are rather representative, they draw a lot of local attention to these companies and this is rather unfavorable for someone who has something to hide.
What we want to say: At the end of the day, we have to build a relationship of trust that enables cooperation on an equal footing. Nevertheless, we want to make our requirements and criteria more transparent and understandable in the future, so that our customers know what is actually going on and where the products are manufactured. We have already developed some ideas and hope to be able to provide you with more useful information about the respective factories in the future. Until then, you will find a short description of the respective manufacturer for each product. If you want to know more, you can write us an email at any time.
But the social aspect and working conditions are not the only point to keep an eye on when asked.
We live and promote alternative approaches both in the corporate concept, in design or in purchasing. For all products, materials and ideas we try to go new ways or to find a more efficient approach. Most of the time there are several solutions for a task and of course it can also be that normal procedures are justified, but then we looked at them in detail beforehand. There is no number one procedure for fair and ecological fashion.
Many companies do something like 'green washing' by tagging their clothes with positive attributes such as 'sustainable', but if you research more closely you can see that the conditions are not really sustainable in an integrated way.
Of course, that doesn't make sense to us. A simple example of a more valuable way of thinking is our striped pants and tops, which we offer this season. We took a look at our manufacturers’ fabric warehouse and found something suitable. The fabric is not certified organic and yet it is the most sustainable we have. Why? Because we are already ‘wasting’ resources in a new provision and also saving additional resources through necessary recycling. You have to improvise, weigh up, judge and make a decision based on your own convictions. For this we want to give you a suggestion and the necessary knowledge, because this is the only way to further develop the entire industry! You can get the tools for this from us here on the blog.
We see it as our responsibility, especially during the Fashion Revolution Week, to point out how important it is to use the resources fully and how important it is to support companies that are committed to fair working conditions within the textile industry.
Anyone who is interested in the content of last year's Fashion Revolution Week can also find it there. Just turn back a bit!
Everything will be fine!