Does your Wardrobe have a conscience?

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Does Your Wardrove have a Conscience?



Has this ever crossed your mind – Does your Wardrobe have a conscience?

Recently released is New Zealand’s most ethical manufacturers report of brands that are readily available to us.

A report exposing worker exploitation in the fashion industry shows Kiwi-owned companies are more ethical on average than their international counterparts.

Baptist World Aid Australia’s 2017 Ethical Fashion Report ranks companies from A to F based on a number of criteria including what they pay their staff and how supply chain workers are treated.

Overall, the 12 New Zealand-owned companies featured in the report scored a median grade of B-.  The international average for companies was a C+.


The first ethical fashion report was published in the wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1134 garment workers and has been published annually since.

Now, an accompanying guide for Kiwi shoppers is being launched by Tearfund New Zealand to help people “vote against exploitation with their wallet”.

It shows 242 brands available in New Zealand and their associated rankings, based on the levels of visibility and transparency across their supply chain with regards to worker rights, policies and practices.

Glassons, which was slated in 2015 after receiving a D- ranking, has improved again this year, rising to a B- after scoring a C+ last year.

High-end retailer Karen Walker has also improved, rising from a C to a B+ and receiving a “most improved” accolade from the report’s authors.

“Designers, even those who manufacture in New Zealand may think that their systems comply 100 per cent and are completely ethical, but most would not be able to account for their entire supply chain.

“By going through this process with Baptist World Aid, brands will be able to identify any issues and flaws with their current systems and at any stage.”

Organic clothing label Kowtow topped the list, scoring an A alongside custom print shop Liminal Apparel.


Fashion creates some of the most beautiful products in the world but the fashion industry has a surprisingly ugly side.  In fact it is the second largest polluter globally after the oil industry.  Behind the flash runway shows lies a path of destruction, especially in developing countries where more than 60% of clothing is made.

Check out these facts :

  • A crisp cotton shirt looks clean BUT cotton is one of the most chemically dependent crops in the world, with numerous studies a spike in cancer in cotton workers is related to the chemicals used to grow the crop.  It also sucks up water resources.  It takes more than 20,000 litres of water to manufacture just 1kg of cotton which is equivalent to a t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
  • While man made fibres do not rely on so much water, the manufacturing process and dyes involved harm both people and the planet.
  • The World consumes around 80 billion new pieces of clothing each year – 5 times the number two decades ago.  Fast fashion where clothes are produced quickly and sold at low cost to create constant consumer demand has left designers relying on cheaper, more damaging manufacturing practices to compete in the market place.

People are becoming more eco-conscious they want to know where their products come from and how they are made, this in turn is putting a lot of pressure on manufacturers to re-think how they make their clothes from beginning to end.

How can you help :  The Good on You App allows you to have your say.  This app rates companies on 3 key principles: how they treat people, the environment and animal welfares.  You can look up a specific brand to find ratings and you can also ask questions and give feedback.  Before throwing away unwanted garments think how you can re-use them, change them to a different style, cut off a sleeve, use some of the fabric for another garment or do you really need to throw it away.. try selling it!  Quite basically think before you buy!

When you are next shopping with me and you want to make sure you only shop Ethically, let me know.   I’m more than happy to incorporate this into our day, in fact starting with in my Studio with my brands is a great place to begin.

I really hope this read has been both inspiring, perhaps eye opening and perhaps it’s given you a little wake up call.  All of which are good.

Don’t forget to download the App, it’s a great place to start.

Until next time.

Yours in Style,

Johanna-May xx