Have you ever wondered how your clothes came to be and the journey they’ve been on? One of the fashion industry’s greatest challenges to becoming more sustainable lies in the traceability of its supply chains.
The number of parties involved to create even one garment is substantial; from raw material producers, yarn and fabric mills to the dye houses, component manufacturers and right the way through to the final factory where it's made. If we multiply that with the demand of a global population, the scale is astounding.
This has been an opaque and impenetrable system for decades and is something we have been acutely aware of inheriting since entering the fashion industry.
As fashion supply chains are historically long and complex, acquiring traceability is crucial for driving meaningful change. Having clear visibility of our suppliers allows us to assess the ethical and environmental standards of each, as well as ensuring we receive the highest quality of materials to then produce our pieces.
We are currently in the process of obtaining greater visibility through our own supply chain, by having direct contact with each of the different tiers within the chain.
Tier 1 (manufacturers)
We currently have strong relationships and clear visibility with our factories and those involved with making our lingerie. We perform a robust assessment of their ethical credentials prior to using them and work with them on a continual basis to discuss and take action on both social and environmental issues.
Tier 2 (finished materials and dye houses)
2020 has been a monumental year for us with regards to gaining greater transparency with our suppliers in Tier 2. These suppliers act as a bridge between Tiers 1 and 3; they are responsible for knitting our fabrics, laces and elastics, and for providing our components (such as hook and eyes). We’ve set up direct relationships with the suppliers, who are all based locally to our factory. At present, we have full visibility with 72% of them.
Tier 3 (fabric mills)
Tier 3 suppliers are the foundation of the entire supply chain. They provide our Tier 2 suppliers with the materials needed to create our consciously selected fabrics. In 2020 we have began to establish relationships with these suppliers, and look forward to strengthening our connections with them in 2021.
Our goal is to have full traceability on all three tiers by the end of 2021.
Locality is equally as important as traceability. If materials aren’t sourced locally to the factory this can result in multiple flights just to transport the fabrics to the production facility. This is a key reason why we produce our lingerie in China. China has local access to every fabric we may need for our lingerie - ranging from lace, all the way through to metal hardware you find on our bras. The suppliers in China also have a high number of sustainable materials, which in turn allows us to use responsibly sourced fabrics into our collections as quickly as possible, without the need to fly these in from abroad.
Read more about our plans of how we’re putting sustainability at the core of what we do here.