Global non-profit organisation Fashion Revolution has praised brands that have endorsed the transparency campaign and published a list of their suppliers.
Since the #whomademyclothes campaign launched in 2013, the number of companies disclosing where their clothes come from has increased from 40 to 152.
Fashion Revolution founder and creative director Orsola De Castro said: “Transparency is visibility. We want to see the fashion industry respects its processes. We want a clear, uninterrupted vision from origin to disposal to foster dignity, empowerment and justice for people who make our clothes and to protect the environment we all share.”
Fashion Revolution urges companies to publish lists of their suppliers, which helps NGOs, unions, local communities and workers alert brands of any human rights and environmental issues in the supply chain.
Transparency in the supply chain not only helps the company and relevant parties to understand what went wrong, who is responsible and how to fix it, but also helps the customer understand where their clothes come from.
The movement was introduced after the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed on 24 April 2013. The Bangladeshi incident was dubbed the fourth largest industrial disaster in history after 1,138 people died and 2,500 were injured in one of the five garment factories in Rana Plaza.
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Since the incident, Fashion Revolution says “people from all over the world have come together to use the power of fashion to change the world”.
Transparency in fashion industry aims to educate consumers about the journey clothes go through before ending up in stores.
According to Fashion Revolution, approximately 75 million people work to make the clothes in our stores and 80% of them are women between 18 to 35 years old. Themajority live in poverty, unable to afford basic necessities and many are subject to exploitation, verbal and physical abuse, and work in unsafe and dirty conditions.
The survey scored brands out of 250, with points awarded for public disclosure across policy and commitments, governance, traceability, know show and fix, and spotlight issues. Fashion Revolution then translated the points into percentages.
adidas, Reebok, Gap, Marks and Spencer and H&M have been awarded the highest percentages for transparency. The top five biggest movers to publish more information were The North Face (+22%), Timberland (+22%), Wrangler (+22%), C&A (+19%) and ASOS with +18%. Brands in the lowest bracket include Dior, Matalan, Forever 21 and Amazon.
IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary Jenny Holdcroft said: “Knowing the names of major buyers from factories gives workers and their unions a stronger leverage, crucial for a timely solution when resolving conflicts, whether it be a refusal to recognise the union or unlawful sackings for demanding their rights.
“It also provides the possibility to create a link from the worker back to the customer and possible media to bring attention to the issue.”
While more big brands making the effort to be more transparent and share more information about their suppliers and social and environmental policies and practices, many of the major brands still lack transparency with many publishing information that is difficult to review.