This week marks the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more.
Fashion Revolution is an organisation that campaigns for a clean, safe, fair, transparent and accountable fashion industry. Their focus this year is on rights, relationships and revolution:
"Human rights and the rights of nature are interconnected and interdependent; we are part of the wider living world and our right to a healthy environment depends on the health of our planet."
Here at Kite we are active supporters of this mission, and we strive every day to produce clothing as positively as possible and to minimise our impact on the planet and its people.
Read on to learn more about where and how we make your clothes, the strong relationships that we have with our suppliers, the certifications that underpin our production, how we have worked with our supply chain to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, and how you can do your bit to help change the fashion industry for the better.
Where we make our clothes
We produce our garments in Turkey, India and China, working with seven factories in total.
That might seem a lot (ask Jenna our garment technologist and she'd definitely agree!) but each factory focuses on different types of clothing depending on their expertise.
For example, our socks and tights are made in a specialist hosiery factory in Istanbul and our jumpers and cardigans are made at a dedicated knitwear factory just outside Delhi.
Strong and long-term relationships
We've worked with each of our suppliers for more than five years, and with some since the very beginning of Kite more than ten years ago.
Our factories are relatively small, and owned and operated by people who share the same values as we do. They're not just our partners, they're our friends too.
In normal circumstances, we visit them every six months to plan, create and deliver each collection.
Seeing and taking part in daily life at the factories gives us confidence that workers are being treated fairly and that their rights are considered in the decisions that we make.
We believe that having such stable, long-standing and close relationships is not just the right thing to do from a human perspective, but that it also helps us make better quality clothing.
Independently audited and certified
We're proud to be certified by Control Union to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
While GOTS is well known as the leading organic textile standard with demanding environmental requirements, the certification also requires strict compliance with social criteria, based on International Labour Organisation (ILO) norms.
As you would expect, these norms include guaranteeing clean and safe working conditions, paying fair wages, ensuring working hours are not excessive, and not using child labour. You can read more here.
The past year has been incredibly difficult the world over. We and our suppliers have had to face into the dual challenges of the pandemic and the subsequent global shipping crisis.
The positive and flexible relationships that we have with our partners have allowed us, and them, to navigate these difficult times successfully. Together we have been tested more than ever before, but the strength and depth of our relationships have helped our partnerships to survive and thrive.
Despite the struggles, we believe that one positive of the last year is that COVID-19 has encouraged more people – like you – to reassess what is meaningful to them.
This includes exploring new relationships with their clothing, valuing the people at the heart of the manufacturing process, and recognising the impact of that process on the planet. We hope this increased awareness will help to accelerate further positive change in our industry.
What can you do?
Here are five positive things you can do to reduce your impact on the planet and its people:
1) Buy from brands who source responsibly and have strong ethical and environmental credentials.
2) Consider the cost. If something seems too cheap it probably is!
3) Think longer term. Buy quality clothes and hand them down.
4) Change how you wash your clothes. Wash at lower temperatures and look for eco-friendly washing products.
5) Talk to your little one about where their clothes come from.
We hope this blog has helped you understand more about where your clothes come from, and made you think about how you buy clothes for yourself and your little one.
If you have any questions or want to discuss further any issue we have raised, please do get in touch with us on social @kiteclothing or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.