As you probably know, here at Fifth Column we believe operating in an ethical and equitable manner is the best way to do business. It might sound cliched, but we care about people and our planet. As a consequence, we‘re always pleased to see ideas that demonstrate and promote improvement in these areas. Especially when it concerns the blank apparel that we print and embroider.
This short piece, sustainability stories – making blank clothing better, is about an initiative recently unveiled by our good friends over at Continental Clothing. It’s something which offers real insight into what being a responsible clothing supplier means to those involved in making the merchandise. Let’s take a quick look at some of products and then go into more detail about the project. After all, the t-shirts and tops are what you buy and what we decorate. In other words, good products give the sustainable cause greater credibility.
The above are proof that quality is not compromised by being eco-conscious. Quite the contrary, it’s improved. As you can see, these products are made entirely from organic cotton or an organic cotton and recycled polyester mix. And they are, without question, high quality. That’s one of the reasons we prefer organic, it’s generally of higher standard and tends to provide superior print results. However, Continental’s approach to sustainable sourcing goes far beyond the materials used in the garments themselves. They consider the whole supply chain. More specifically, where and how the clothes are made and how this affects the lives of the people who actually make them.
To illustrate this, they’ve created a micro website – Made Fair – that follows the supply chain behind these garments. By the way, the shirts and tops featured here all include a QR code on the label that links to the site.
Sustainability Stories – Made Fair.
Continental’s Made Fair website gives you a far deeper understanding of what goes into the manufacture of the clothing we customise, sell and wear. You can track the journey from organic cotton field to green, fairly administered factory. It’s both informative and interesting. For one thing, it details the various stages of the process that deliver a finished garment. If you’re unfamiliar, there are a surprisingly large number of different disciplines and skills required. Spinning, knitting, dying, fabric cutting, tailoring, ironing and more besides. Have you ever heard of a cotton gin? Is it possible to create a sustainable dye house? Do you know the significance of circular knitting machines? Okay, we’ll stop, you get the gist – there is plenty of fact on the site.
But another element has greater impact. Made Fair introduces you to some of the folk who work in these places and do these jobs. Meeting real people shouldn’t be under-estimated and it’s increasingly possible to do so in our virtual world. Reading their stories and getting a glimpse into their lives adds another dimension to our understanding. It somehow makes our perception of sustainability less abstract, moving it beyond worthy but vague concept into more tangible territory.
The truth is, all sustainability stories, whether they’re about blank clothing or something else, are ultimately about people. Folk at the production end in Bangladesh, as in this instance, or us as consumers here in the UK. And, crucially, we don’t really have a choice. Because sustainability has become necessity rather than option. Raising awareness of what it means in reality can only be a good thing.
This is the link to the Continental Clothing COR Website: Made Fair. Take a look and see what you think.