Where Does It Come From?
Clothes with a transparent supply chain
Artcile by Jo Salter, Founder and CEO of #ORBmember Where Does it Come From?
Our project (October 2018): www.crowdfunder.co.uk/african-tunics
Our website: www.wheredoesitcomefrom.co.uk
Responsible and Transparent Clothing
Where Does It Come From? is a clothing brand that tells the stories behind clothes – creating responsible and transparent supply chains so that we know exactly who is making our garments and how they are doing it. We ensure our clothing is made with respect to the workers and to the environment, with fair trade processes and eco-friendly production methods. All our clothes come with a code on the label so that our customers can explore their garment journey and get a deeper connection with the people and processes. We hope this will inspire people to love their clothes more and build their own stories with them – which all contributes to positive mental health too.
Since 2013 Where Does It Come From? has worked with social enterprises in India to create basics for all the family – shirts, scarves and children’s clothing – using environment friendly processes and benefiting hundreds of marginalised workers. Harnessing traditional skills such as hand weaving and block printing, we’ve created beautiful, unique garments that look and feel fantastic, and do good at the same time.
The exciting news is that we are now widening our impact into Africa – creating a range of African inspired designs that tell their creation story. We’re partnering with a charity, Proudly Made in Africa, and two social enterprises working in the region. The first production will be stylish tunics – a real statement piece and versatile wardrobe basic. As part of our strong zero-waste philosophy we’ll be using the offcuts to make other accessories too – pocket squares for men and hair scrunchies.
Building a Responsible Supply Chain in Africa
Cotton has become known as the ‘dirty, thirsty crop’ because of the toxic chemicals and huge amounts of water used in its mass production. The cotton being used to create this production is organic which means that there are no harmful pesticides used. It’s also kinder to our skin and to the workers and environment.
This organic cotton is produced in regions of Uganda with enough rain to water several crops per year – countering the ‘thirsty crop’ issue naturally and ensuring no precious water is wasted! The crops are ecologically farmed and harvested by hand which is beneficial to the land and ensures that only the cotton is picked so the land is not depleted of nutrients. Crop rotation also protects and improves the fruitfulness of the land.
Responsible Production in Malawi
Much of the African garment industry has already been hit hard by war and mass migration. It’s now facing the challenge of cheap imports from Asia, who copy traditional tribal designs using non-environment friendly Asian cotton and mass factory production. This has caused African factory closures, job losses and led to small independent farmers losing their livelihoods.
Where Does It Come From? has partnered with the Malawi based social enterprise Mayamiko. Set up in 2008 it trains local impoverished people with business skills to enable them to create and sustain livelihoods and communities. Skills that are supported include tailoring, beekeeping and selling solar lights.
Be Part of the Journey
To make this happen Where Does It Come From? is running a crowdfund. This means that you have the opportunity to pre-order from the first run of the new garments (at discounted prices!) or make a donation. It’s better for us than borrowing the money as we already have customers signed up, plus it means that you can keep up to date with what’s happening all the way through production.
We’re looking for people and businesses to join us on the journey. The tunics and accessories are high quality and beautiful – plus they come with their story. They would make fantastic staff outfits for hotels and spas or fantastic to sell on to your customers if you run a shop or online retail outlet. Wholesale and retail prices are available so please click the link below to find out more. Come and join us – Look good and do good at the same time!
Pledge today at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/African-tunics