One of the most common questions we get from brands is, "Where do I find factories?" it can be hard to go from idea to product when you have to find a fabric suppliers, notions, labels, and a cut and sew factory, not to mention freight carrier, logistics warehouse and everything else it takes to build a brand. COVID hit early in fashion because of our manufacturing ties to Asia. So by March pretty much all manufacturing and sourcing had halted as we all figured out how to stay safe and stay in business. Now that manufacturing is moving again, where do you begin to find a factory? Here are some resources.
The fashion industry is fundamentally built on a system where supply is ordered based off of predicted demand prior to any factual determination. Trends are determined seasons ahead of time, demand is hypothesized and the orders are placed by brands before they can know the actual consumer demand. A system like this has proven to be unsustainable over the years and has resulted in overproduction in the garment factories. In a study released by the SAC and Higg Co in April it is stated that, “Further back in the global supply chain, a survey of over 500 manufacturing facilities across all main production regions...shows 86% of all facilities have been impacted by cancelled or suspended orders. As a direct consequence, 40% now struggle with paying employees, leading to layoffs and factory closures.” Yet there are still some garment factories managing to keep their doors open despite the hardships and how they are doing so might surprise you.
It is common knowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic is upending the fashion industry. From a 27-30% global revenue contraction to mass amounts of employees being furloughed, the fashion industry has taken a serious hit. So what are sustainable fashion companies doing to stay afloat? It would be natural to think that one of the first things to go in a time like this are their sustainable and ethical practices that are more expensive than their alternatives. Examples of this may be producing at manufacturing facilities that don’t enforce fair wages, benefits for workers, and other ethical practices or perhaps switching from organic cotton to regular cotton to cut costs and save money during this financial crisis. Anything to avoid bankruptcy, right? Looking at a few different companies that employ sustainable and ethical practices, their experience took a different turn and the reasons might surprise you.
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused many sustainable fashion brands to halt or pivot their operations. With the increased need for essential resources, companies have stepped in to produce supplies and aid those in need. Whether it is masks, hospital gowns or donations to various charities, sustainable brands are doing their part. Here are 10 sustainable brands helping during COVID-19 that can inspire you to do the same.
COVID has affected everyone and every aspect of life, and fashion is no exception. Early on in the pandemic we covered the changes happening in the fashion industry because of COVID and now we are checking back in to see how brands have shifted and are seeking to move forward. In a more positive light, COVID has encouraged a lot of innovation in the fashion industry however, some of these rapidly changing aspects will have long-lasting effects.
While humanity was brought to a halt for 3 months and millions of people across the globe were quarantined, the environment seemed to be experiencing a period of resurgence. Cities such as Los Angeles, New Delhi, Manila, and Paris experienced sharp declines in air pollution and emissions, causing their normally smog-filled skies to be clear. The before and after images of these urban centers have not only emphasized how human activity impacts the environment, but also have highlighted the good that can come when we take a step back.
Last week was a hard week for America as we continued to weather the uncertainty of COVID-19 while collectively mourning yet another black man killed by the very people who exist to serve and protect. (This topic is nuanced and deserves attention, so for more education and ways to be involved please visit Black Lives Matter). As you find ways to take a stand we wanted to shine a well-deserved spotlight on some black-owned ethical fashion brands who are killing it. We've encouraged everyone during this COVID season to support small brands whenever possible and the same rings true as you support black owned ethical fashion brands who are doing their part to address ethical employment and sustainable supply chain practices in fashion.
Slavery became illegal in most of the world by the end of the 19th century, but that does not mean that’s when it ended. What actually happened is slavery went underground to a black market and today there are an estimated 41 million people in slavery worldwide. To give you perspective, the transatlantic slave trade of the 15th-19th centuries saw 12-15 million people in slavery, which is just about 1/3 of the forced labor we see (or don't see) today. Of the 41 million people in modern day slavery, fashion is estimated to have $127.7 billion of garments at risk of including slavery, imported annually into G20 countries that account for 80% of world trade. With such catastrophic numbers, why isn't anyone doing something to stop slavery in fashion? Well the short answer is, it's complicated. To understand more, you must first understand how human trafficking gets into the fashion supply chain in the first place.
We are living in strange times as most of the world is on lockdown trying to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The fashion industry in particular is taking the hit hard as we begun feeling the effects of Coronavirus in our shut down supply chain in the winter in China. Now, as retail stores are all closed too, it is a very real worry what this global pandemic will do to our industry and our global economy.
While we wait out the news each day, here's a list of grants and resources for small businesses to help you weather this unprecedented time. We hope this gives you a positive place to focus your energy, pay your employees, and stay in business so when this is all over you come out more nimble and ready to grow.
Finding the perfect garment manufacturer to produce your clothes can feel impossible. There is an overwhelming amount of options online but most factories have awful websites making them difficult to find. In fact, finding a garment factory is often still conducted via word of mouth. And that's just finding a factory, not assessing their ethical and sustainability standards and quality. So once you've done the hard work of finding a garment factory, what do you do to get the highest quality production possible? Creating a great relationship when working with your garment factory is key to great production, and here's 5 ways to manage that.