Transparency is a big issue in fashion. Do we really understand where are clothes come from? Or the conditions of the factories they are manufactured in? Transparency or more precisely lack of is an issue which needs to be tackled especially if there is to be a future in fashion. There are countless labels and lines available on the market that claim to be eco/ethical but as there is no internationally agreed standards for what should be considered eco, sustainable, green, environmentally friend and organic are we really to know where are clothes come from? And lets not even start on most high-street garments which leave everything to the imagination except for the washing instruction label which also holds three words in tiny print saying “made in …”
This is where ‘Honest by‘ comes in which is a company unique in the fact that they communicating its supply chain and pricing. Honest by was founded by Bruno Pieters after a sabbatical from the fashion industry in Southern India where the experience affected his personal philosophy and views on fashion. He noticed on his travels how native people wore clothes that were grown, woven and sewn from sources they could identify around them. Honest by is a platform that offers designers and brands a chance to share their own design processes. Every collaboration is completely transparent from yarns and buttons to store mark up.
Honest by wants to shed light on the questions: Where is it made and by whom’
Honest by does extensive research into the sources of raw materials and trace back the origins of every fabric and trimming to insure that every element is as environmentally friendly. In fact the information they give the consumer is a lot to take in; it tells you everything including where the safety pin attaching labels was manufactured. It can be quiet easy to be sucked in reading such minute detail infact I am actually feeling a little overwhelmed with the amount of information they give you having decided to test how transparent they actually were by reading up on this (below) mens shirt by Honest by CALLA. I can now tell you not only where it was made but the factory it was manufactured in too, I can also tell you they have 70 members of staff hired at this factory and it took 235 mins to assemble. I can also tell you that at the designs studio it took 7 hours to design this shirt and there were 3 fittings.
And when I read that they were honest about the price mark up part of me was like “yeah right your hardly going to tell us the astonished amount of profit you make” but they really do, it tells you that said garment cost 70.03 euros to make and the designer times this by two and then there is a further retail mark up of times two-point-five. They truly are transparent because in my opinion if you can share something which you might not otherwise want to disclose you truly are staying true to your values. When they claim to be the world’s first Transparent company I believe them as they share more than just a couple of words about the background of there garments. I am not sure how viable it is in the current market to be transparent about there market but there is evidence that Peiters is at least staying true to his values after he cancelled orders with big department stores after he realised they would not allow him to make there mark up public.
Honest by CALLA
Honest by makes it really easy to find the type of garment you are after with simple colour coordinated filters; organic, vegan, skin friendly, recycled and European. This allows you to get straight to your priority as you don’t have to sift through loads of garments to find that skin friendly one and it also allows you to identify the qualities of each garment quickly and simply. This easy menu option is what makes Honest by so appealing as it allows you to sort through all the facts quickly but you still have the option of the long read if that’s what it takes for you to trust the labelling. Honest by are as of yet to obtain an organic certificate but they hope to be GOTS (Global Organic Textile) certified very soon. But don’t let this taint your image of Honest by as they are moving in leaps and bounds to achieve transparency and don’t hide away from the lack of certificate but tell you openly.
One problem Honest by have had is sourcing zips in an interview with the Telegraph earlier this year Peiters said “how unavoidable it is to have china involved” and saying that despite all his efforts to source a European company that manufactures zippers he cannot find one. But this element of the supply chain is out of necessity rather than choice. One question that was raised when talking to another fellow blogger was “just because its made in china does this automatically make it bad” I don’t have the answer to this question entirely but its clear that Transparency would being us a step closer to solving this issue as we would be able to understand the wage, conditions and the hours that these workers work in the factory better.
Honest by Bruno Peiters
Honest by Bruno Peiters
I hope to see many more brands follow Honest by’s example in transparency. I feel this is a platform that is very forward thinking in it’s ambition. Honest by philosophy is:
We believe Fashion is about beauty and that the story behind fashion can be equally beautiful.
We want to give our customer the opportunity to shop with complete awareness of what they are buying.
We want to produce all of our products in a life friendly way.
We believe in the health of our clients skin.
We want the impact of our products and activities on the environment and human health to be as small as possible’
And I couldn’t agree more, the beauty in fashion shouldn’t be limited to the aesthetic just ecological fashion is more than intention. I believe that ethical/ecological intention goes hand-in-hand with aesthetic and Honest by hits this mix heads on with it beautiful designs paired with its transparency . Transparency is key in allowing us to make educated choices, maybe your not that interested in ethical fashion but there is no doubt that you would benefit from transparency. Transparency is about being honest and Honest by does that so well.
How important is Transparency to you?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi