Who Made My Clothes?

May 25, 2019by Jacqui - F&F
One of our values here at F&F is to make ethical decisions and that’s why we only stock ethical fashion and clothing brands. Prior to bringing a new brand on board, we do lots of background checks to ensure the brands are ethical. We ask each brand about their workers' conditions, pay rates and health care. 
So, what’s the issue with fast fashion?
If you’re not familiar with the term, fast fashion can be defined as the rapid production of on-trend clothing that is made with the intention to be inexpensive and available from mass-market retailers. This means that for clothing to fit these criteria, it needs to be produced cheaply offshore. As fast fashion garments have a low price tag it’s easy for people to purchase and we often don’t think how these clothes are made. For production, companies usually opt for offshore production in countries such as Bangladesh as they can provide very cheap labour. This can, not always, result in the exploitation of human rights in exchange for an unlivable wage. It’s common for manufacturers not to exercise strict working conditions and can often mean children 14 years and under are working extremely long hours. It can also result in no health care being provided or reasonable working hours being determined, with many employees working unrelenting hours each week without adequate breaks. 
Not only is fast fashion a social issue, but it also poses a significant impact on our environment. The material sourced, and garments produced, quickly end up in landfill as a result of going ‘out of fashion’ or simply falling apart due to their poor quality, not to mention the water and resources used to produce them. 
So, what can we do to break the cycle of fast fashion and shop better?
Choose to shop ethically and make a conscious effort to know where and how your clothes are made. 
Here at F&F, we ensure that all of our brands are ethically sourced and manufactured. This includes our suppliers explaining their employees working conditions and ensuring they’re not being exploited. Tasi Travels, Torju, and Etiko are three fashion brands we stock and we absolutely love their dedication to ensuring ethical working conditions for their employees. So let’s find out more. 
Tasi Travels are an ethical Australian brand based on the Sunshine Coast, QLD. All of the Tasi Travels pieces are made here in Australia and over the last 2 years, have run their manufacturing on a make-to-order model. This means that as they receive an order, they will make the pieces specifically for the customer. Currently, Tasi Travels employs one full-time seamstress, two part-time seamstresses and also have three manufacturers in Melbourne, Australia. 
The manufacturers Tasi Travels works with in Victoria are located in Sunshine West and Brunswick. The manufacturer they use in Sunshine West is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia who has strict rules around wages, working hours, leave and conditions. The second manufacturer in Brunswick does not have accreditation, however, is very well respected in the industry and have been manufacturing in Australia for decades. Tasi Travels is hoping to get accreditation from Ethical Clothing Australia and are working hard with their Brunswick manufacturer to achieve this.
Tasi Travel Workers & Factory
Torju is a wonderful Australian brand and the makers of beautiful contemporary fashion made from the finest organic materials. They work closely with their manufacturers and ensure that all standards are met. Their range of clothing is made to the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) which ensures their garments are free from dangerous chemicals and dyes. 
Torju works with two offshore factories, located in India and China. Both factories are aligned with the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) and SA8000 compliant, or the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). 
These standards ensure:
  • They prohibit the hiring of employees under the age of 18. At the time of recruitment, employees must provide proof of ID card to ensure that they are over the age of 18. 
  • Holidays are offered along with national holidays & festivals. 
  • One day off is provided for every seven-day period.
  • Paid leave is available for all employees.
  • A safe and healthy workplace policy is in place. This is mandatory with health & safety laws (Factory Act 1948). These policies are closely monitored and regulated to ensure standards stay consistent. This also helps to minimise the occurrence and risk of accidents, injury, and exposure to health risks.
  • Employees are not forced to work more than they should. The factories prohibit the use of all forms of forced labour, including provision labour, bonded labour, slave labour and any form of human trafficking.
  • With the help and support of a consultant from a Non-Government Organisation (NGO), they assess the average living wage, on the basis of local food and living costs, and pay an appropriate living wage.
The Torju Factory & Workers
Earlier this year, we posted the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report Card and were thrilled (but not surprised) to see Etiko top the list with an A+. Etiko is extremely transparent about their workers' conditions and ensures that all employees receive great care to help eliminate the cycle of poverty. 
Etiko was founded on the basis of bringing fairness and justice to factory workings in the apparel industry. At F&F, we stock Etiko t-shirts, underwear and shoes. The entire Etiko range is Fair Trade and they aim to encourage others to be aware of where their clothes are really made. They strive to positively impact the lives of their factory workers and their families. Currently, Etiko has factories in India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and use Organic Certified Fair Trade Cotton from India. They specifically use factories in typically exploited regions, to try and break the cycle of poverty. Their goal is to ensure the production of every single product they manufacture reduces poverty and inequality. 
In addition to a Fair Trade Certified business, (they were actually the first clothing company in the Southern Hemisphere to do so), the cotton they use in all of their clothing and footwear is Certified Organic GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and also accredited by USDA's National Organic Program. Etiko is also a Certified BCorp; a group of people using business as a force for good. The BCorp Certification means that Etiko has met the highest standards in terms of social & environmental performance, transparency and accountability. 
We’re thrilled to support Tasi Travels, Torju, and Etiko at F&F. We also stock a range of ethically made accessories including Matt & Nat and Urban Originals. Stay tuned for our next blog; Who Made My Accessories. You can shop our full range of ethical clothing online now at Flora & Fauna.

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