Fashion Revolution Week
It's Fashion Revolution Week! This is the week that we work to educate and advocate for fashion being a force for good. It was started in response to the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1100 garment workers.
To be honest getting our campaign up and planned this year has been tough. But as a former manufacturing agent this topic is so important to me personally and to Astor + Orion as a brand.
If you can just hear one thing, it's this: There are brands who truly care about the well being of their customers, workers, and the planet. Anyone who says injured workers or polluted rivers are an unavoidable outcome of modernity is lying.
I'll be doing several more posts but what I love the most about this week is the opportunity to engage in conversation with the public on the realities of the global supply chain. So please ASK ME ANYTHING. Again I lived in China for almost a decade. I have seen the good, the bad and the in between and am happy to share about that. I am also currently working on a professional certificate in sustainability. So happy to answer questions about that as well.
To join in the conversation, click through to our Instagram
Or Keep Scrolling for a recap of of the questions and answers.
Q: The Stylist Way: This warms my heart! I have two questions. One, why do you think it is so important for the public to know who is making their products? Two, why do you think some companies struggle (or refuse) to be transparent about their supply chain?
A: Those are great questions! I think it’s important for the public to know who is making their products because it’s puts the humanity back into the relationship between the consumer and the maker. There is this pervasive misconception that “factory made” goods are created by machines without any human input. That’s just simply not true. So much much of marketing is about creating a positive image for a brand and honestly we have to ask, “how positive is that brand really if their workers are being forced to work in unsafe conditions for starvation wages?” Can you really feel good about wearing a brand if they do that?
2nd question: why do some brands struggle with transparency? This is tough to answer in short format but in the simplest sense it’s because their business model demands exploitation. American corps have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to maximize profit in any legal way. You can’t get the impossibly low fast fashion prices without “cutting corners”. Because those corners are cut in another country, it’s legal. The term for this is Externalization of Costs. Rich countries are reaping the benefits of low prices while those in poor countries are paying the price with their lives and destruction of their local environment. There is no motivation for brands working this way to pull back the curtain and let the light shine. From their perspective it’s waste of time to look too carefully at the supply chain as long as it is delivering sellable products.
Q: Samjoyy: Thank you for posting! I’m very familiar with organizations that help fashion brands source/operate/benchmark sustainably, but have been trying to learn more about jewelry-focused initiatives. I’ve had trouble finding information about the effects of the jewelry industry, what the key problem areas are, and who’s working towards scales solutions. Would love any insights or tips on where to dig deeper! ♥️
A: Thanks for the question! Yes the jewelry industry has some unique issues due to the fact that raw materials are often mined in developing countries with less structure around the environmental and human impact. In addition, some wars are being funded by “conflict gems”. So it’s in this context that organizations are working to establish chain of custody of the materials. Organizations like the Resposible Jewellry Council and Fairminded Association are good. Gems can be sourced from conflict free countries but it’s hard to make the case that mining is good for the environment. That’s why I don’t use any gems in our designs and use recycled metals.