Guest Post Contributed By: Megan O’Malley, Team JUST
Soon high streets and shopping malls alike will be filled with budget friendly Fashion Week inspired pieces for the masses. They come at us hard and fast, tingling our sixth fashion sense and showing us what we MUST have for the upcoming season.
But hold up a second! What do we actually know about the designers, sewers, dyers, farmers, suppliers, and the countless other people behind all that cheap as chips clothing? What do we know of how the item was made or of how the people making it were treated? The answer in most cases is… nothing. We can read the tag and work out where the pieces were stitched together. But anything beyond that is a mystery so complex that even the exceptionally resolute detectives of Law & Order could not solve it.
In an age where, thanks to the joys of technology, we have access to more knowledge than ever before, isn’t it a little strange that we don’t know very much about our clothing? How can we be so disconnected from something that we use to express our identity? And it’s not just consumers who are in the dark, small designers and giant apparel manufacturers are equally unaware of how their products are made.
This is where JUST comes in.
At JUST we love fashion as much as the next well-dressed person, but we believe that fashion should be inherently ethical. In order to make this a reality, we’ve created an exciting (we’re very excited!) and engaging online tool that communicates real-time information to connect the best-in-class ethical sustainable suppliers, designers and consumers like never before.
Picture this: the sun is shining, you’re looking fabulous (naturally) and you are ready to purchase something beautiful. You come across an item that was obviously made for you, but because you are a gorgeous human being you pause to wonder about the where, the what, the how and the who behind the garment. Then you notice that it was made using the JUST program and realise that all of this information is at your fingertips! Yippee! You can easily track the supply chain and learn about the various processes your potential purchase has gone through and who helped to create it in a positive social and environmental way.
You will no longer need to question if people were treated fairly, if conditions were safe or if the fibres were sustainably farmed. You can judge for yourself, with access to information on what percentage of factory workers are satisfied with their job, what their average wage is, carbon emissions, renewable energy use and so much more.
JUST gathers information from suppliers through a number of different means. The first is by anonymous phone surveys sent out to the workers in the factories and farms. This ensures workers are consistently satisfied with the conditions and are treated fairly and paid on time. Secondly, suppliers provide logistical information such as progress on orders and other necessary business-like essentials. Finally, on the ground community partners or NGOs are required to write regular reviews on conditions in the factories and on the farms and the impacts on the community.
Designers have access to all of this regularly updated information from their home or work computers via an online user-friendly dashboard. And consumers can use their phones to scan the QR codes on clothing in order to discover the wonderful story of how the product came to be. Isn’t technology a magnificent thing? The JUST supply chain is as transparent as the air we breathe! As transparent as those funky umbrellas that all of the cool kids are carrying these days (you know, the see-through ones?). As transparent as a newly washed window. As transparent as… well you get the idea. Very transparent.
When you support good practice in the fashion industry you are casting a vote for how you want that industry to be. Transparent, accountable and ethical. You are telling the industry that you believe farmers, garment workers, their community and the environment should be respected not exploited.
And when your friends compliment you on your remarkably fabulous outfit, instead of responding with “Oh my goodness, I got this half price in the sale!” you will be able to share the story of the garment and demonstrate what a splendiferous human being you are for purchasing it. Sign up HERE on the JUST website, to get involved and show your support.
All Photos Courtesy of JUST