How can I make my clothing brand ethical?
How can I make my fashion brand more ethical? It’s a question more and more brands are considering as consumers continue to become more aware of where their clothes come from and the environmental impacts that result from manufacturing processes.
If you’re an established fashion brand or are in the process of creating one, there’s a good chance you’re considering what positive impact you can make on the industry. We’re here to offer advice for how to add ethical elements to your business model.
Determine your target market
The first question you should be asking yourself is who is your customer? Create a spreadsheet on who your customer is to define their demographics. Take into account the following:
- What are their interests?
- What is their yearly/monthly income?
- What are the most important global issues to them?
- Visit locations where your ideal customer would shop and speak with customers to learn about their clothing wants and wishes.
Once this information has been collated, use it to inform your business choices and values. A lot of consumers are moving away from the fast fashion movement due to its impact on people and the environment, so you can focus on unique, expertly crafted pieces which will last a lot longer than most fast fashion garments and can be reworn again and again. If you find that your customer is concerned about the cost of ethically sourced fashion, you can reiterate to them that a garment purchased from your brand may be more expensive than the high street, but in the long term, they will be saving money by re-wearing items.
You should work with a factory that is eager to answer enquiries and be completely honest about its production methods. This could be a red flag if they can't offer you a clear answer about how their people are treated and their production managed. The facility that provides sampling, pattern making, cut and sew services, knitting services, and, in some situations, design consulting, will be your manufacturer. You'll want to make sure the manufacturing facility you're working with follows all safety regulations, implements ethical manufacturing practices, and pays their employees a decent and fair living wage.
At THE-CØDED, we are fully transparent about where our clothes come from and how they are made, and we offer this information to our consumers. By doing so, our consumers are making an informed choice about where they are purchasing their fashion from, and contributing to the ethical fashion movement. A fashion brand will benefit from displaying information about how the garments are made and who by, as it gives the customer a personal insight into your brand values. Make sure to dedicate a page on your website to explaining the values behind your brand, and most importantly, where your clothes are coming from.
You need to get the materials right, as this will define whether consumers will want to buy your product. Does it look and feel well-made? It's vital to be meticulous while looking for the perfect textiles to construct your products. Examine certificates, authenticity, and quality. How does it drape, and is it comfortable to the touch? In 5 years, how will the cloth hold up? You might choose to use organic materials, such as organic cotton, linen, hemp and soya fabrics, to name a few. By using these materials and promoting it as part of your brand values, you’ll be taken seriously as a sustainable brand. Organic clothing is produced safely and without chemicals, which makes it eco-friendly and is a huge selling-point in the ethical fashion movement.
The garment itself is what your customer will be buying. By getting the materials and the branding right, your business will benefit from being a reputable brand for years to come.
The most important thing you can do to support factories is to ensure they are getting a fair price from the profit you make from the garments they produce for you. This should be discussed directly with factories before any manufacturing processes take place. Communication is key. Make sure you are offering your factory support and address any issues that they may have. Our ethos is to always put our factories first.
At THE CØDED, we partner with a large number of factories. We can connect your brand to talented partners, who hold values similar to your own, and who work in a way that you will find easy to collaborate with. You can find out more about our directory here. Work with us and join the ethical fashion revolution. Contact us through our online form for any other queries.
We invite you to read our story and learn what we want to do, and why we want to do it. We hope you’ll be joining us on our journey.