Astor + Orion featured on Remake's list of approved brands
Posted on August 13 2019
At Astor + Orion, we are vigilant about our sustainable and fair manufacturing processes, so we were especially honored that Remake, a site dedicated to setting a high bar for ethical fashion practices, chose us as a featured on their list of approved brands.
As a sustainable fashion brand in Seattle, our mission is to create modern, ethical jewelry that helps build a fair and beautiful future for us all. Being featured by Remake as a brand upholding these standards confirms that we are on the right track.
Who is Remake and why does this matter?
“We are a community of designers, IG addicts, feminists, storytellers, and all around fashion aficionados, who believe that fashion can be a force for good. We’re using our purchasing power, our voice, and our creativity to make the invisible women who power the fashion industry visible. We are committed to breaking up with fast fashion and have taken the pledge to buy better, remaking our closets with clothes that respect women and our planet”
Re/make spent five months developing a stringent system for evaluating whether a brand held up to their claims of environmentally friendly and humane practices. Then they took that further to not only include sustainability but also environmental and humane improvement with a better future in mind.
From their site:
“Each brand is evaluated by its efforts towards the categories of sustainable production: transparency and traceability, maker well-being, environmental sustainability, sustainable raw materials, and leadership. Our brand assessment uses public information on each company to create a clearer picture of what the entity has to offer, filtering data through each category.”
In order to be chosen as a sustainable brand of ethical jewelry, we were vetted and screened on how well we answered 5 crucial questions (taken from their site with our answers below).
- Can you tell where a product was made and who made it? We look at product traceability and transparency to assess what kind of connection the brand has to the makers who produce their products.
Working with responsible manufacturing partners has been baked into the Astor + Orion DNA from the very beginning. We took the time to investigate and visit factories that were certified to meet the standards set out by the International Organization for Standardization for quality, worker safety, and environmental protections. The factory that produces our jewelry holds current certifications for ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
“When I was looking for the factory to produce our jewelry, it would have been really easy for me to use a Chinese factory. I lived there for almost a decade and I know good factories there. What pushed me to choose our current factory was their amazing attitude. Not only did they do all the work to attain these certifications and gave me top-notch samples, but they were busy with many other projects to positively impact their local community.” -- Astor + Orion founder, Karen Hartman
- Is the maker better off? Protection of labor rights as well as health and safety is a must! We go beyond that and focus on maker well-being asking, “Is she better off?” As a result of earning a living wage, she receives increased access to essential services, education, and other opportunities as well as investments in her community.
We are proud of the way our factory takes care of their workers. They have worked hard to put programs in place to not only help their employees maintain stability, but to thrive. A few ways they do this is by offering free, healthy lunches, yearly check ups, automatic pay raises and maintaining two soccer fields on the factory grounds. Because of this, they have won enough trophies to fill three cases (displayed proudly in their lobby) and the average employee has been working there for over two years.
The factory is certified by a 3rd party for ISO 9001which measures quality and safety. The result is a great quality product and many local awards for going years without serious worker injury. It is also certified for OHSAS 18001 or health and has passed the SEDEX ethical audit.
- Was the product made with the future of the planet in mind? We look for products that are paving the way for a more environmentally sustainable industry- not only by minimizing negative impacts (on climate, water, and landfills), but are also made with cleaner, less resource-intensive processes and materials.
When our factory was built, they put in a state of the art environmental control system that made sure the air inside and outside of the factory was clean, and also maintained tight control of the waste water. This system was eventually certified as ISO14001 compliant. Their filtration is so good that they use their water to keep the factory’s soccer field green all year long.
When they put this system in, they were not required by law to have such a system, they just felt that it was the right thing to do. When the local government inspected the factory, they were surprised and happy to see such a good system. It has now become the model for all new factories being built in their province.
- Do the raw materials that went into the product meet the same values? Whether they’re made from cotton, viscose, lyocell, rubber, etc., we look for products that are created using sustainable raw materials and improve the lives of growers.
We use recycled stainless steel in our designs instead of other materials (like stones) so that at the end of its lifecycle, our products can be simply melted down and recycled without any extra processing. Our products are designed to be endlessly recycled or composted to regenerate the earth.
- Is the company a partner in the ethical fashion movement? We know that being a leader isn’t always easy (especially when it may eat into profits) so we recognize companies that are using their voice and influence to advocate for a more ethical, sustainable fashion industry.
We have just started a take back program where we will be giving credit for returning any jewelry that you aren’t wearing or that has become damaged or unwearable. Instead of it ending up in a landfill, we will either refurbish it or melt it down and allow it back into the resource loop of the Circular Economy.
Simply email us at closetheloop(at)astorandorion.com to start a return.
As you can see, at Astor + Orion, our mission to create ethical jewelry is central to everything we’re doing. Through thriving workplaces, happy workers, and materials that are kind to the earth, we are seeking to improve the world we live in and the lives of the people in it one beautiful pair of earrings at a time.