Kate Middleton, Recycling, and Secondhand Markets in Africa

Let’s talk about recycling.

At the Royal Wedding this past weekend, Kate Middleton was said to have recycled an Alexander McQueen dress that she wore twice before, once at Princess Charlotte’s christening and once at the Queen’s birthday party. She’s received a lot of praise but also some criticism for this choice.

If she did, I commend her! She not only tried to take the attention off of her, respecting her new sister-in-law, but she also did the unthinkable for people with money and titles. It was a bold yet simple move and I think we should all follow her direction by recycling clothing items.


It’s better for the environment. 

Americans throw away over 14 million tons of textiles a year and about 99% of that can be reused or recycled but 85% of it ends up in landfills which takes the materials many years just to biodegrade. When they do finally biodegrade, they release chemicals into the environment. thereformation.com

Ways to Recycle/Reuse:

1. Donate gently used clothes. 

Most of us do this but we also do it wrong. We donate items that are not gently used, often filled with holes or stains. These clothes just end up being thrown out so it does more harm than good. With these ‘holy’ items, you can make them into something new! (See number 2).

2. Make the item into something new.

We all love Pinterest. If you’re tired of something the way it is, look up ways to transform into something you like. I’ve done this with my jeans. They were too long and boring so I gave them an uneven, frayed hem. 


3. Hand-me-downs.

I’m a big fan of hand-me-downs.
My cousin and I would have “trade days” as kids. We would get together once a month or so with all of the stuff we didn’t want and trade with each other. She would get my Barbie’s used bikini and I would get her hot pink nail polish.

In college, my best friend would give me her clothes she didn’t wear anymore and I would make them into something new. I took the tie belt off of one shirt and made it into a sort of ascot necklace that I wear now. 

4. Re-wear clothes. Obviously.

I’ts OK to wear an outfit twice. Kate Middleton, a member of the British royal family, has publicly done so; I think its fine if we follow her lead. If you must, spice it up by wearing it in different ways. I do this all the time. After moving to two different countries in the past year, I’ve had to downsize my wardrobe quite a bit so I re-wear many outfits (just look at my IG). 

Here’s a question:

I’ve read a few articles (website URLs below) that have differing opinions about the second hand clothing market across Africa. Many clothes from Europe, USA, and China end up in Africa to be resold. 

Those who are against feel that locals purchasing and reselling discarded and
unwanted clothes (clothes too shabby for Goodwill) from ‘developed countries’, stifles innovation within that country. They feel that it continues the dependence these countries have on ‘western’ countries and prevents them from creating clothing brands of their own. This market isn’t sustainable because many locals can’t afford the prices so the merchants either break-even or lose money. It’s not a consistent form of income for many of these merchants and they have to have quite a sum of capital before starting for the items and for the rental space to sell. 

Those who are for feel that it creates jobs for the otherwise jobless and boosts the local economies. They also feel that its better for the environment because it allows for discarded clothes to have another chance at surviving rather than being thrown out into the landfills. 





My Opinion:

I personally love thrift shopping in Nairobi. My favorite is Toy Market. I’ve found some quality pieces for a decent price but I will admit that a lot of it is too expensive and most of ends up in landfills anyway. My friend, a native Kenyan, and I were talking about this issue and she agrees that it stifles innovation in her country but she also feels that she can’t buy clothes anywhere else that can compete. To buy new items is expensive and the quality isn’t good. To buy second hand is somewhat reasonably priced and often better quality clothing. So what’s the solution? 

Are you for or against? Why or why not?

Feel free to post any articles you may find in the comments.

Ankara – A Complicated History

Ankara fabric is usually associated with Africa or worn by Africans because of it’s tribal like patterns and bright colors. HOWEVER, Ankara’s history is complicated and interesting and has nothing to do with Africa.

Ankara is traditionally made from an Indonesian wax-resistant dyeing technique called batik. The goal is to keep the dye from reaching all of the cloth which creates a pattern. The Dutch began to mass produce it which is why it’s sometimes referred to as “Dutch Wax”. They intended it for the Indonesian market but it actually turned out to be more popular in West Africa (because the Indonesians didn’t appreciate the imperfections within the machine printed cloths and the West Africans preferred that no two cloths would look the same) and now it has spread to other African countries. I’ve visited Rwanda and lived in Uganda and now, Kenya. Each of these places have an abundance of Ankara fabric within their fabric markets.

How did it become popular in West Africa? In the mid-19th century, the Dutch enlisted West African men for their army in Indonesia. While in Indonesia, the men were attracted to this batik craft and took it back to their countries. 

Stella, Ankara, and Cultural Appropriation…

Stella McCartney’s Spring 2018 Collection featured Ankara fabric worn by predominantly white models. She received a lot of backlash with critics screaming ‘cultural appropriation’ for her to use Ankara fabric especially without many black models. OkayAfrica even accused her of “fashion colonialism”.

Her Response: “The prints were about celebrating a unique textile craftsmanship, its culture and highlighting its heritage. We designed the prints in collaboration with Vlisco in the Netherlands, the company that has been creating unique Real Dutch Wax fabrics in Holland since 1846 and helps maintain its heritage.”

My Opinion:

Though Vlisco has had it’s fair share of problems throughout history, I personally don’t believe this was cultural appropriation and “fashion colonialism” is just too harsh of a term to use. OkayAfrica explained their comment further by expressing that many designers take African designs, call them their own, and sell them for incredibly high prices. I agree that many designers do this, however, we cannot say that Ankara is an ‘African design’. It’s a design that is most popular in African countries but given the history, it’s origin is of Indonesian decent.

West Africans loved the fabric, took it back to their countries, and made it their own. I call that admiration of another culture’s traditions and mixing it with your own; something that every group in the history of the world has done. I think it’s beautiful that we can learn from each other and admire each other’s culture by adopting their traditions into ours.

It is important to research the history of a fabric or design or technique before we use or imitate it. If it’s not properly researched then that it is what I would consider to be cultural appropriation especially if it’s sold or mass-produced. Give credit where credit is due.

What are your opinions on cultural appropriation? Was Stella right or wrong to incorporate Ankara into her Spring 2018 Collection? Has she lost her credibility as a sustainable fashion designer?

Negative Reactions get you Nowhere – Real Change means Collaboration

Kim Kardashian West is the first person to receive the CFDA’s Influencer Award. Their award show is on June 4, 2018. https://www.vogue.com/article/kim-kardashian-west-will-receive-cfda-influencer-award

Many sustainable fashion advocates are outraged. They feel that in the current state of our world, the CFDA should have chosen someone who has had more of an influence within social fashion like Stella McCartney or Emma Watson or Livia Firth.

I disagree. Yes, those women have used their platform to bring awareness to the horrible state of our fashion supply chain and deserve many awards, but Kim K is an INFLUENCER. Everything she wears is immediately bought or the style copied. Her own sisters dress like her and copy her looks all the time. (See Kylie’s recent transformation.) There’s no denying that Kim K is an influencer when it comes to style and trends. If we really want to create positive change within our supply chain, Kim K is exactly who we would want to collaborate with.

Being negative gets you nowhere. As sustainable fashion advocates, we are trying to create positive change, shouldn’t that also translate to how we react to news like this? Don’t be outraged. Be encouraged to encourage Kim. She won this award because she is an influencer. Let’s use her influence to dramatically transform the fashion industry.

Kim K wore this outfit to the Met Gala after party on May 7, 2018. Guess what?

This 1992 Versace Black Bondage dress is already sold out in just 5 days!

Think about the impact she could have if she were a sustainable fashion advocate?

Ways to Provoke Collaboration:

1. Tag and hashtag Kim K, CFDA, and CFDA committee members (see list below) on all social media, especially twitter, congratulating her and asking her to use her influence for sustainable fashion. Remind her of the Vivienne Westwood she wore to the 2017 Met Gala. Mention collabs with designers and celebs like Stella and Aurora James.

Tweet Example: 

, congrats on the influencer award! Now that you’re the top celebrity influencer in terms of trends and fashion, please influence designers and other celebs to wear . You wore a gown to last year’s Met.

2. Reach out to CFDA and Kim K personally. There are ways to contact their agencies and PR teams, we just need to be persistent.

3. Do this everyday until June 4.

4. If you’re able, attend the event on June 4 or convince news teams to ask your questions (ex. Kim, congratulations! How will you use your influencer platform to promote sustainable fashion?)

Who is the CFDA? 
Image result for cfdaThe CFDA is the Council of Fashion Designers in America. Their mission is to “strengthen the impact of American fashion in the global economy”. They’re a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1962 with over 500 members of America’s foremost designers. 

Board of Directors
Emeritus Board
  • Michael Kors
  • Marcus Wainwright
  • Mimi So
  • Vera Wang
  • Stacy Bendet
  • Georgia Chapman
  • Dao Yi-Chow
  • Prabal Gurung
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Norma Kamali
  • Reed Krakoff
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Deborah Lloyd
  • Jenna Lyons
  • Ashley Olsen
  • Tracy Reese
  • Kara Ross
  • Italo Zuccheli
  • Linda Allard
  • Jeffrey Banks
  • Leigh Bantivoglio
  • John Bartlett
  • Dana Buchman
  • David Chu
  • Kenneth Cole
  • Francisco Costa
  • Philip Crangi
  • Carolina Herrera
  • Marc Jacobs
  • Alexander Julien
  • Donna Karen
  • Kasper
  • Calvin Kline
  • Richard Lambertson
  • Mary McFadden
  • Nicole Miller
  • Robert Lee Morris
  • Narcisco Rodriguez
  • Selima Salaun
  • Kate Spade
  • Cynthia Steffe
  • Yeohlee Tang
  • Monika Tilley
  • Isabel Toledo
  • Patricia Underwood
  • John Varvatos
  • Gerard Yosca

    "There doesn’t have to be torture in fabulous fashion"

    Since 2001, Stella McCartney has been known for her label to be sustainable in every way, so it’s no surprise that she incorporated that into her designs for this year’s Met Gala. 
    In this video, Miley Cyrus, Paris Jackson, and of course, Stella McCartney are all wearing Stella’s designs and using their platform to promote torture-free dresses. 

    The Fabric:
    In all three dresses, Stella uses silk. 
    According to her website, she has tried using Peace Silk where the silkworms can actually transform into moths. The issue with Peace Silk is the quality. 
    Now, she partners with Bolt Threads, a biotech company in Cali. They study the silk that spiders make and have successfully replicated the process which solves the problems of harming the spider and the quality of the silk.
    “[This process] also produces less pollution, creates long-term sustainability and it is vegan friendly, because it is entirely made from yeast, sugar, and DNA.”
    My Two Cents:
    I commend celebs like Stella and Emma Watson (even if she’s not pictured above, she’s instrumental in her sustainable fashion approach) for standing by sustainable fashion.
    I hope that more designers will take Stella’s lead in completely transforming how they produce their designs.
    I hope that more celebrities will take Emma’s lead in only purchasing from designers who practice sustainable principles within their supply chain.
    By next year’s Met Gala, I hope that more designers and celebrities jump on this sustainable fashion train. If they don’t, and continue to pursue fashion that’s harmful to the environment and promotes modern day slavery, there won’t be a world to design in or celebrities to show off those designs. 
    Sustainable fashion is not just a trend, it’s literally an attempt to clean up the mess that we’ve made in the past to cater to a very individualistic, consumer-driven economy. 
    I challenge all celebrities and designers to use their platform like Stella, Miley, and Paris have. There should be more than a handful of people advocating for sustainable luxury fashion. If more celebrities would get on board, then the consumers will follow. 
    MODIFICATION: It is to my great excitement that Livia Firth (founder of the Green Carpet Challenge from Eco-Age), Gisele Bündchen in her 100% organic silk Versace, Solange Knowles reppin’ a designer known to use recycled materials, some would argue Rihanna in her very intricate Maison Margiela Artisanal gown, and Cate Blanchett recycling a dress she wore in 2014 all wore ethical clothing to the Met Gala in addition to the above. I will say, I wish it was talked about more because the only ones really promoting like crazy are the three women in Stella dresses. 

    Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal – Cultural Appropriation in Fashion

    Picasso said, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal”. What did he mean by that?

    Image result

    Last week, Laduma, a South African designer, sued Zara for a copycat design of his line with MaXhosa. 

    MaXhosa Cardigan

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    No automatic alt text available.         Zara Socks

    Zara is a Spanish brand who claims to run their business ethically. However, when conducting research for a blog post mentioning Zara’s ethical principles, I didn’t see anything that mentioned the borrowing or stealing of designs. Should that be part of the ethical framework a company abides by? Is it cultural appropriation for a Spanish brand to use a South African designed print on their accessories? 

    Back in 2015, a graffiti artist, Rime, sued Moschino for using his art without authorization. Is it cultural appropriation to use a Brooklyn-based graffiti artist’s art for an Italian luxury brand? 

    A Fall/Winter '15 Moschino dress worn by model  Gigi Hadid that possibly lifted artwork without permission from the artist RIME. (Photo: Courtesy of Moschino)  

    What is Cultural Appropriation?

    “Cultural appropriation is a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture.” So in both cases, the minority culture is the lesser-known designer and the majority culture is the corporation or famed designer. If that’s the case, then yes, it would be considered cultural appropriation. 

    I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with admiring another culture by wearing a print or a hairstyle from that culture if the proper research is conducted to understand the tradition. If a company wants to use a particular cultural piece for mass production, they must seek the proper permission.


    In Gucci’s FW18 runway show, they had predominately white models wearing traditional turbans originally worn by the Sikh. They even had a turban on top of a hijab (picture 3). @diet_prada suggested that they should have had Sikh models in their show or at least  have used fashion turbans instead.

    I agree. If Gucci admired the Sikh turbans and wanted to implement them in the show, they should have conducted more research and used that research to showcase the Sikh culture. They should have consulted a Sikh person or two. It’s always better to ask than to assume. I’m interested to hear what Gucci’s response was. Why did they think this was a good idea and who authorized it?

    Image result for gucci vs. sikh

    Picasso is correct. Nothing seems to be original anymore. I often question whether originality and creativity are extinct. We see it in every industry; music, technology, fashion, even food. By the world’s definition of  ‘success’ or ‘greatness’, its about power and profit. If a popular brand steals something from a lesser-known brand and makes money off of it, then they are considered to be ‘great’ and ‘successful’ by the world’s standards. However, I believe that the world’s standards are changing. With the new generation, people are questioning brands about their ethics. People are advocating for other people. The underdog is slowly rising up and corporate wolves are being forced to change how they conduct business. It’s a beautiful sight.

    I’m very interested in textiles because of the traditions behind the different patterns, weaving techniques, and color schemes. It’s more than just looking at it, thinking it’s pretty, and would look good on a potential Met Gala dress modeled by Kendall Jenner. We need to do better at preserving art and originality. This should be a part of the ethical framework of fashion houses and brands.

    My advice is that each fashion house/brand/corporation/organization/designer/whatever category needs to hire one person or a team (depending on the size of the organization) to be a cultural representative. This person or persons will conduct research into the potential culturally appropriate patterns or designs wishing to be used by the company and report how to properly use them, or who to seek permission from, or if they should even be used. This person or team will fall under the department of sustainable and ethical practices (a department each company should have). It’s far more important and cost-reducing to create a department for such matters. 

    Also, doctors, lawyers, government officials/workers, accountants, and HR workers have a responsibility and code of ethics within their different professions they must abide by. I think the fashion industry should have a code of ethics that every business should abide by as well. This should include environmental practices on raw materials and factories, empowering wages among all employees, safe working conditions and hours, no child labor, protection of artists and cultures, etc. I understand that we have a free market economy and that by creating a code of ethics to be followed by every fashion business, obstructs the business’ rights to conduct business without government interference, but its needed. Businesses have taken advantage of the free market system and now the world we live in is slowly dying, people are being exploited and treated unjustly, and the owners are keeping the wealth for themselves and their shareholders so it’s not benefiting the community or the overall economy. 

    What are your thoughts about 1. A Sustainability and Ethics department within every fashion company (I believe many are implementing something similar now) and 2. A code of ethics implemented by the government for each fashion company to abide by? Comment below. 

    Quality – Wear Clothes that Matter

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    “Wear Clothes that Matter.” – Solitaire Townsend

    Clothes that matter are mindful of the manufacturers in production to the environmental impact to the quality of the garment. 
    The following four apparel brands produce clothes that matter. 
    Each one has a different positive impact on the world. 

    HQ: NYC
    Image may contain: textArtisan Partners: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Madagascar
    Product: A collection of men’s, women’s, children’s, and home goods created from natural cotton in Ethiopia
    Price Range: Kid’s: $30 to $100, Men’s and Women’s: $200 to $500 
    Impact: Supermodel Liya Kebede founded lemlem upon her trip to her native country, Ethiopia. “By employing traditional weavers, we’re trying to break their cycle of poverty, at the same time preserving the art of weaving while creating modern, casual, comfortable stuff that we really want to wear.” lemlem is steadily expanding partnerships with other groups across Africa. “We invest in locally grown materials and fabrics and we partner with artisan studios that use traditional motifs and techniques to create a beautiful, modern look.” In addition to providing sustainable jobs for artisans, lemlem also has a foundation partnering with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Kenneth Cole, David Yurman, L’Oreal Paris, and Joe Fresh to improve women’s lives in Africa by promoting access to healthcare and economic opportunities. lemlem.com
    Image may contain: 1 person, shoesImage may contain: 2 people, people standing  
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    Image may contain: textHQ: NYC
    Artisan Partners: Ethical Fashion Initiative in Burkina Faso, Lulea in Kenya, Weavers Worth Enterprises in Kenya, Ibaba in Rwanda, Carole Nevin Designs in South Africa, Mariama Fashion Production in Ivory Coast, and Better Cotton Initiative
    Product: Apparel and accessories made from organic, recycled, upcycled, biodegradable, and artisanal custom-made fabrics 
    Price Range: $65 to $1,500 
    Impact: “EDUN is building long-term growth opportunities by working with artisans, manufacturers, and community-based initiatives to develop high-end designer products that celebrate and challenge ethical and sustainable fashion. EDUN’s ready to wear and accessory collections are led by an internal creative collective based in New York. The collective works closely with different partners throughout the African continent and some international mills who are exploring new eco alternatives.” edun.com 
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    HQ: Accra and NYC

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    Artisan Partners: Ghana
    Product: Women’s and men’s apparel, accessories, and even a few collaborations with other social brands
    Price Range: Apparel – $200 to $800, Accessories – $20 to $200
    Impact: Co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 is a social enterprise that aims to use fashion as an agent for social change by providing job opportunities to artisans who specialize in various traditional craftmenship techniques including natural plant based dye indigo, hand batik, kente weaving, etc. Studio 189 focuses on empowerment, creating jobs, and supporting education and skills training. studiooneeightynine.com
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    HQ: LA
    Artisan Partners: USA and social sourcing partners around the world
    Product: Denim and other apparel
    Price Range: $30 to $200
    Impact: Reformation celebrates the female figure by creating silhouettes in their apparel that show it off. They create these beautifully feminine clothes in sustainable factories minimizing their water, waste, and energy footprints. They also provide on-the-job training and growth for their employees. Reformation believes in transparency in their supply chain so they give out quarterly sustainability reports to hold them accountable and to track their progress. The majority of their employees are paid above minimum wage with full-time staff having amazing benefits such as one paid day off per month to volunteer and offering Metro passes to encourage the use of public transportation. They only partner with suppliers that provide safe and healthy working environments and who also use safe and non-toxic materials. thereformation.com 
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    “There is no beauty in the finest cloth it it makes hunger and unhappiness.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    This One’s for all the Shoe Lovers

    Image may contain: shoesWant to continue your shoe addiction without feeling bad about it?

    Want to tell your spouse or your friend that is supposed to be holding you accountable that you’re actually making a difference in the world by purchasing a new pair of shoes?
    Look no further! The following brands will help you on your shoe journey and will also benefit the greater good.

    HQ: Nomadic – Austin, Texas and NYC
    Artisan Partners: Guatemala and Panama

    Product: A range of leather boots, sandals, loafers made with traditional Guatemalan woven fabric

    Price Range: $90 to $300

    Impact: Teysha has established it’s own shoe workshop employing over fifteen traditional shoe makers in the last five years. They’ve designed a rural supply chain which enables women and men weavers to work from home and care for their families. They’ve also pioneered the custom-designed footwear market to enabling their customers to directly collaborate with the artisans. www.teysha.is

    Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoorImage may contain: one or more peopleImage result for teysha shoes
    HQ: Canada

    Image result for oliberte logoArtisan Partners: Ethiopia

    Product: Men’s and Women’s leather boots, sneakers, etc.

    Price Range: $100 to $250

    Impact: As the world’s very first fair trade certified footwear company, Oliberte has their own factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia working with shoe makers to provide quality shoes in an ethically sound working environment. “Oliberté is a sustainable brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. We believe in empowerment, transparency, and doing right by all. This means making premium quality products with a lifetime warranty, and it means treating every employee, everywhere in the world, with respect.” www.oliberte.com

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    HQ: San Francisco, California

    Artisan Partners: India

    Product: Beautifully handcrafted leather slippers using vintage fabrics

    Price Range: $100 to $350

    Impact: Female owned and operated; mindfully made in India. llanishoes.com

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    HQ: Portland, Oregon
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    Artisan Partners: Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia

    Product: Leather shoes and accessories; scarves and other textiles

    Price Range: $50 to $250

    Impact: Sseko provides employment and scholarship opportunities to women in Uganda who are trying to further their education. Up to date, they’ve sent 106 women to university. In addition, Sseko works with artisan partners in Kenya and Ethiopia.

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    Fashion Revolution – Who Made Your Clothes?

    April 24, 2018
    A Brief History

    On April 24, 2013 the five-story Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over 1,000 people, mostly young women. There were five garment factories all manufacturing clothing for big global brands. It was considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history. There were cracks discovered in the building the previous day but owners ignored the warnings to avoid using the building and ordered the workers to return to work the next day. They lost their lives for clothing production to meet the demands of corporations. No more.

    Fashion Revolution is celebrated on April 24th to commemorate this tragic event and others similar to it by campaigning for systematic reform in the fashion industry and a need for greater transparency and more ethical decision making within the fashion supply chain. It has since expanded to Fashion Revolution week. This year, we are celebrating from April 23rd through the 29th.

    How to Get Involved

    1. List your favorite brands or places to shop.
    2. Ask those brands who made their products by tagging them in a social media photo using the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes
    3. While you wait for the responses of your favorite brands, change the way you shop by purchasing your products through socially conscious fashion brands. (Starting tomorrow, I will list some amazing ethical brands!)
    My Favorite Brands/Stores:
    It was incredibly easy to research most of the supply chain processes for the following brands. I’m pleased with the majority of the results but if I could, I would want to visit the actual manufacturing sites to see for myself. There are always loopholes in laws and though I’m proud of Cali for passing their transparency act, its easy to tell which brands were forced to do this because of that act. They are doing the absolute minimal work that they have to in order to continue conducting business in California.

    In 2012, California passed a law (California Transparency in Supply Chains Act) that requires certain retail companies and manufacturers doing business in California to disclose their corporate policies that aim to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chain teams.

    In response, Lane Bryant verifies vendor and factory information through an intense legal assessment that could even include follow-up. Their Code of Conduct prohibits the use of child labor, forced or involuntary labor, forced overtime, discrimination, or bonded/prison labor. It also emphasizes the importance of well-treated, fairly compensated workers. They have a program that promotes the maintenance of these standards. https://www.lanebryant.com/help/supply-chain

    In response to the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act, Anthropologie developed similar systems to Lane Bryant.

    Under their Code of Conduct they list no child labor, no forced or compulsory labor, no corporal punishment, no discrimination, compliant with wage and hour requirements, health and safety laws, and environmental laws.

    They vet suppliers through an internal screening process including personnel visiting manufacturing siteshttps://www.anthropologie.com/help/calif-notice

    Target is actually one of the most ethical companies in it’s specific category. They call it ‘Responsible Sourcing’ and claim that their founder, George Dayton, is known for his strong business ethics.

    Broken down into three main categories (product safety, social compliance, and supply-chain sustainability), Target explains their ethical policies when dealing with manufacturers that produce Target brand products. They also partner with vendors that have to abide by their Code of Conduct which you can view in detail on their website.

    Target is even a founding member of C-TPAT or Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism which conducts routine audits to ensure that the international supply chain processes continue to meet standards. https://corporate.target.com/corporate-responsibility/responsible-sourcing

    Zara is owned by Inditex, a Spanish International Retailer.
    Inditex created a Right to Wear approach to supply chain transparency. “Our aim is to create beautiful, ethical, quality products that are not only right for our customers, but right for the people who work for us, right for communities and right for the environment. Our aim is to create fashion that is Right to Wear. That means thinking and acting sustainably and transparently, with the traceability of every aspect of our activity.”
    Inditex has a Committee of Ethics that ensures that any suppliers or other third party partners abide by their ethical standards within their code of conduct and responsible practices. https://www.inditex.com/how-we-do-business/right-to-wear

     I wasn’t able to find any information on EB, however I interviewed for a buying position back in 2014 and proceeded to the final stage of the interview process which included a project. Because of that project, I was not offered the position. My project consisted of ways to transform jewelry buying within EB to practicing ethical standards with suppliers. The job would have had me traveling to India and other countries to source products. In my project, I described a new plan for sourcing products through partnering with ethical manufacturers. They told me that EB wasn’t ready for that. The very next year, they introduced a few of those manufacturers I had mentioned in their jewelry department. I can’t speak for their other products but I do know they kept up with some ethical jewelry manufacturers at least until 2016.

    “Clothes aren’t going to change the world, the women who wear them will.” – Anne Klein
    For more information:

    Artisan Spotlight: Meet Terry


    Today is the first day of #FashionRevolution Week! Tomorrow, on Fashion Revolution Day, I will dive into what Fashion Revolution is, why it’s important, and how you can celebrate it!

    But today, I wanted to kick off the week with the story of a very special lady,

    I’ve been working with Terry since I moved to Nairobi last August. We were connected through a company that I used to work for. They wanted to partner with her on manufacturing headbands to be sold in their store and to possibly wholesale if the headbands proved to be a success. I was to facilitate and manage this process since I only live an hour away from Terry.

    Terry is a designer. She has an eye for patterns, colors, and styles and she loves to experiment to see what is trending and what she personally prefers. My favorite part of this experience was shopping at the textile market with her for different types of fabric. She taught me about the most popular types in Kenya:

    Kitenge (Ki-Tane-Gay)
    Kitenge is what most people think of when they see a brightly colored, “African-looking” fabric. Kitenge is a wax print and usually has a repeated pattern throughout the fabric. The Kitenge fabric is the most expensive to purchase. It’s incredibly stiff but if its washed with fabric softener a few times, it makes it easier to sew.

    Mandera (Mahn-Dare-Ah)

    Mandera is a traditional Somali fabric, usually printed with a monochromatic color scheme of bright colors and bold patterns. In Kenya, the most popular colors are pinks and blues. This fabric is made from light cotton and is incredibly soft. Locally, Mandera fabric is used for the Dera dresses (pictured on the left); my personal favorite style. Terry is actually in the process of making me a Dera dress out of some beautiful Mandera fabric she picked out.

    Kanga (Kawn-Gah)

    Kanga is made from extremely hard and firm cotton and originates from the coastal Swahili women. This fabric is locally used for lesos which are pieces of Kanga wrapped around the waist like a sarong. They use a leso to protect their clothes while doing household chores. Kanga is similar in style to the Kitenge, however it usually has one bold square pattern in the middle while having a coordinating border around it. Today, Kanga is used as a major fabric in African fashion.

    Terry is the epitome of an empowered woman. She is a single mother of six and has not only kept her children in school with the incredibly expensive school fees, but has also kept herself in school. She has her own business as a designer and works very hard to provide for her family.

    Many women around the world give up on their dreams due to kids or husbands or just life in general. Terry has been able to live out her dream and still be the sole provider for her family. She’s had setbacks including her ex-husband completely destroying her new electric sewing machine (jealousy of her success without him) resulting in using an early 1900’s manual Singer but she hasn’t allowed those things to hinder her from pursuing her dreams.

    One day, Terry hopes to be even more successful with her business and would love to train and employee more women to work for her. She has already mentored two women who assisted her with the current headband order. Terry’s immediate goals include moving to a new house with brick walls so she won’t disturb her neighbors while sewing and continuing her education.

    If you would like to know more about Terry or how to partner with her, feel free to contact me via email hamilton.lorennichole@gmail.com.
    “I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.” 
    – Venus Williams