Finding ethical factories can be a daunting task in and of itself. Most people do not know what standards a factory should have to be considered ethical in the first place. But if you are just starting out you not only need standards, you need a factory willing to offer lower minimum production orders. Some factory minimum order quantity is 2,000 units per style per color...yep that's a lot. Here's how to find a low minimum ethical factory overseas.
There is an underlying assumption that "Made in USA" is synonymous with high labor standards and good working conditions. Many people choose to support "Made in USA" products because it boosts our economy and avoids the exploitative labor practices seen on the news globally. But does an address automatically ensure high labor practices? No. The US faces factory labor issues too and that is why we always encourage you to dig deeper and do your due diligence.
We get a lot of new brand inquiries to go into production for the first time. We love helping new brands launch, but we see one commonality with almost all of our new brand inquiries. They are missing the key item that they should have before they approach a factory. Here's what you need for a ready made garment factory inquiry.
It has become common knowledge that the fashion industry is a major contributor to the world's pollution. This has created a demand for sustainable fashion in the last five years as consumers seek better alternatives for people and planet. However, what it takes to achieve this goal is a higher price. Is sustainable fashion elitist? Let’s take a look at the components that factor into the higher standards that correlate to higher costs.
It’s easy to see the many negative effects COVID has had on the fashion industry as retail and factories have shut down leaving millions unemployed. However fashion, a notoriously slow and labor intensive industry, is now being forced to go digital fast to overcome travel bans and increase speed to market. This shift could change the face of the production process, making it easier for teams to work together, regardless of distance. Here’s how you can communicate with your factory online and keep your production running right from your couch.
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.
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.
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.