Made in Asia still holds a long established stigma of sweatshops and child labor from exposés in the 80s and 90s. The simplified solution presented over the years has been Made in America, Made in UK, or Made in Italy is the only safe way to produce ethically made clothing. But are factory standards as simple as an address? The answer is NO. With sweatshop factory conditions and illegal pay violations found continually in America and throughout Europe, we need to start recognizing that garment factory standards go deeper than location.
Deadstock fabric became a popular sustainable fashion resource a few years back as Reformation grew in popularity and educated the masses on the opportunity of using leftover fabric for sourcing. In fact, your desk is probably situation right against bins of old rolls of fabric, cute if it weren't for all the fluorescent lighting. Deadstock fabric often comes from large fabric minimum orders from mills and not as much product made that season. The good news is, since it wasn't made into clothing it is primed for new life now. However, many brands struggle to find ways to use it since it's often deadstock fabric is too small a quantity to turn into a new product you can sell many units of, hence why it's leftover. Here are some creative ways fashion brands can use deadstock fabric no matter how small the yardage.
You may have seen signs of support for the cotton farmers protesting in India in the last several months but not gained access to much more information. Today we dive into the world of cotton farming in India and the hardships that come along with it. It is clear some changes need to be made to protect and improve the lives of farmers, but what those changes are have yet to be discovered.
On January 13th the US banned cotton products that were produced in Xinjiang China.Several Major European Brands have spoken out about the cotton grown in Xinjiang and the abuse that is involved. A major group that is involved in this abuse is the Muslim Uighur minority group that is being forced into labor. China is accused of a violated serious human rights violation against the Muslim Uighur people.
Image source: NY Times
One of the 8 standards that constitutes an ethical factory is the right to unionize, meaning, workers can join a union without repercussions in their job. Another key standard is no discrimination which includes political affiliation or sentiment among other things. Which brings us to the recent protests that have been taking place in Myanmar and the news that broke of a garment factory locking workers inside to prevent protest. Here's what happened and how we should respond.
Fashion is the largest employer around the world and also one of the heavier hit industries affected by COVID. As brands and retailers pull back orders and furlough staff to stay afloat, many garment workers are feeling the brunt of the fallout. But with many economies closed, and the future uncertain, how do we move forward? We did a little digging to see how life has been for garment workers in this pandemic and some organizations doing their part to help.
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.
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.