Thursday, April 15, 2021

Do You Know the Name of the Sheep That Made Your New Sweater?

 Transparency has been a buzzword in fashion for what feels like a long time. Perhaps the pernicious influence of Silicon Valley is to blame, or a millennial obsession with all things light, airy, and open-concept. We like transparency because it promises an honest and direct connection

GQ

 with our products. Most importantly, when a company describes itself as transparent, consumers get the impression that they are making informed and therefore more sustainable choices about what they buy. And since supply chain transparency isn’t mandated by governments or regulated by international law, something is better than nothing, right?

The truth, however, is that most fashion brands’ claims about transparency are at best well-meaning but incomplete. At worst, they serve as smokescreens for truly bad labor conditions and massive environmental impact. 

Before your latest purchase arrives at your door, it passes through dozens of steps in production, performed in different factories—and often in multiple countries. Brands will know the factory where their clothes are cut and sewn  and perhaps the mill where their fabric was woven—but learning where the yarn was spun and dyed, where the cotton or wool was grown, or where the buttons, tags, and thread came from are thornier, harder-to-answer questions.


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