Does Transparency in the Clothing Supply Chain Matter?

by , 03/11/13   filed under: Ask a Designer

Honest By, Spring/Summer 2013 Collection, Bruno Pieters, Belgium, transparency, Ask a Designer, supply chains, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style

Last January, we celebrated one year of Honest By. Twelve months have passed and Honest By is ticking over nicely with enough buyers to ensure that the collections are selling out. While many companies consider publishing their mark-up and the names and addresses of all their factories and suppliers as commercial suicide, it is working for us. Some people in the industry describe Honest By as “out-there” thinking or as an interesting experiment. One thing is for sure, the worse the recession is getting, the more we are selling. I love that quote from Coco Chanel when she said hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity. That is what our customers find in Honest by, values. Not ours, but their own.

PREVIOUSLY ON ECOUTERRE: Honest By is a Game-Changing Label That Offers Supply-Chain Transparency

DO UNTO OTHERS

Complete transparency will not be a one brand experiment for long I think. In a few years everyone will offer it. Because in the end it is normal to know exactly what we are buying. The opposite is not normal. Not knowing what we’re investing in and expecting everyone to pay for that is something that I believe will not continue for very much longer.

“Transparency is the only way we can be sure that a product has been made in a way that is in sync with who we are.”

Just like sustainability is becoming the new “normal.” And with “normal” I mean that it is in our nature to want those things. We are human beings. There was a moment in my life where I forgot what that meant. Where I didn’t remember who I was. There are a lot of books out there that can help us answer that question. But sometimes a simple reminder of what is written about us in our dictionary is all the enlightenment I need.

A human being is a kind, compassionate, and loving entity. That is all I am. That is what I believe to be my truth. And that is what I think is my purpose in life. When I realized that my mission on earth was as simple as being that which I already am, I wanted my whole life to be in harmony with that awareness.

I would treat others with the same respect I would treat myself. I would work, love, eat, and dress as a humane being. One-hundred percent transparency is the only way we can be sure that a product has been made in a way that is in sync with who we are. That’s why every brand will do it eventually. It’s unavoidable.

Honest By, Spring/Summer 2013 Collection, Bruno Pieters, Belgium, transparency, Ask a Designer, supply chains, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style

VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS

Many of us are becoming conscious of our unlimited power as individuals. We have created a world where money is a No. 1 concern. A priority which is making us, the consumers, the key for change. The unconsciousness and greed of some has given us this unprecedented position of control.

“At the moment, we’re paying designers, brands and companies to be unsustainable. We’re encouraging them not to be open and honest with us.”

Through the purchases we make, we’re able to shape our world. At the moment, we’re paying designers, brands and companies to be unsustainable. We’re encouraging them not to be open and honest with us. The moment we become aware of that everything will shift.

A government can never make this happen and maybe that is a good thing. Only I, only you, only we can create change. That is where our freedom lies. Our freedom lies in our responsibilities.

Mahatma Gandhi’s mantra, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” is still my driving force today.

I believe it is one of the most empowering quotes I’ve ever heard.

Honest By, Spring/Summer 2013 Collection, Bruno Pieters, Belgium, transparency, Ask a Designer, supply chains, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style

CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT

Change lies in our own hands; we do not need anyone’s permission. As a designer, I’ve created many images that made my customers dream. I myself lived in a dream for a while. Dreams never last forever. Sooner or later, we wake up.

When I woke up, I realized my dreams had been a nightmare for millions of others. That awareness created Honest By. The story behind a garment needs to be as beautiful as the design. There is nothing that makes me happier than sharing that with our customers. Whether the outfit costs $100 or $100,000, the story needs to be one that fits with who we are.

“The story behind a garment needs to be as beautiful as the design.”

A few weeks ago, I read some old interviews I did last year and many of the things I was saying felt like they came from a place of fear. Fear of the consequences we all would face if we didn’t wake up soon. Fashion made me dream as a child. As an adult, I felt like I had to wake up so that the dream could continue.

I still believe that is true but at the same time I have faith today, I trust that life is kind. It isn’t here to teach us a lesson. We’re free to learn from our decisions. There is no right or wrong in the world, only choices made.

I believe it’s up to each and everyone of us to become aware of the consequences of those choices and ask ourselves if they correspond with who we are. Why 100 percent transparency? Because anything else wouldn’t be the truth. It wouldn’t be us.

+ Honest By

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