The Transparency Conversation
Transparency is mentioned a lot here on The Good Wear, because it is a foundational concept surrounding responsible style + the fashion industry. The transparency conversation is important to help us prevent broken labor laws, sweat shops and poorly sourced materials - all with our purchasing power. It holds companies AND us accountable to create and wear goods that do good.
- The visibility that a company promotes into their supply chain
- An action that things are being done, behind the scenes, to produce an ethical supply chain
- Helps consumers, like you and me, know where are clothes are from and who made them (ie, factories, materials, etc)... so we can wear them proudly
- Helps open the conversation of sustainability and making sure we are being responsible towards the environment to prevent waste, chemical pollution, etc
- Holds companies accountable to do better for those workers unseen
- It's good for business and promotes a good brand reputation
How to look for it:
1. Check out the company's "About" page to look for details on their products and sourcing
2. Scroll to the bottom of the site homepage, look for pages with the wording like product info or brand info or even FAQ's (companies sometimes list more information here about their fabric, factories or product)
3. Search their product offerings. Do they have badges on their images listing out fair trade options or sustainable materials?
Examples of company transparency:
*Transparency does NOT mean that all steps have been created and executed to be an ethical company. Transparency is sometimes the beginnings of conversations of doing better within the supply chain. (ie) brands like H&M and JCrew seen above
The ongoing conversation
The Good Wear is pursuing the transparency conversation by reaching out to companies we all admire, but maybe lack the info on their sites to explain their supply chain. Through several outreach emails, I've been able to speak to companies about their manufacturing, factories, and supply chain processes (which has been so cool!). I've received various responses always condoning the effort to care about what we wear, but also receiving comments like "we have good relationships with our manufacturers and think very highly of them". Which is very vague and prevents us from labeling this brand as "ethical" and, for The Good Wear, means we won't purchase from them.
But one response, with Outdoor Voices, was an awesome beginning to a conversation. This brand creates incredible technical apparel for all shapes and sizes to be confident and go out #doingthings. Truly, they're product is great quality and looks awesome. While looking for supply chain info for The Good Wear, I searched through their site and couldn't find any specific details. I decided to reach out and got an amazing response that offered information on their sourcing AND ways they are looking to improve.
Outdoor Voices spoke on how production started in the USA but with higher demand, they started branching out overseas. Their team visits all manufacturing facilities to ensure gear is produced in line with their values as well as continuing sustainably sourcing their Merino wool and Recycled Polyester (made from water bottles) and other USA made goods. They also stated how their team is working to communicate this information through their site and social media.
This is the transparency conversation we should be encouraging and challenging between all companies and brands!
If you are interested in hearing more about brand transparency from a company you love, send them a quick email and see what they say. Here's a quick template for you...
I am reaching out because I am a huge fan of your brand. I read through your company info, but noticed some info missing about your product. I believe it's extremely important that a company cares about transparency and ethical practices within their supply chain. I'd love to continue to wear your brand proudly, but am wondering if you could answer a few questions for me.
-Do you follow certain guidelines in choosing the factories you manufacture in?
-Are your factories up to code with inspections in work environments and labor?
-Are your materials sourced from responsible locations/farmers?
I appreciate all your help in providing whatever information you can. I understand the slight hesitation to provide these details that affect production and competition, but I believe transparency can help transform the industry!
Thanks so much for your time.
What ways can The Good Wear help you learn more about transparency?
-Let us know!