By Cristina Orsini & Aghiles Ourad |30-04-2017|
Today is the last day of this year’s Fashion Revolution Week, a week of campaigning for more transparency in the fashion industry initiated by the Fashion Revolution, a global movement born out of a growing awareness about the negative environmental and social impact of the fashion industry. This week was intentionally chosen to commemorate the disaster that on 24 April 2013 killed 1,138 people due to the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh. To fight the opaqueness of the fashion industry, this week people around the world have asked their brands #whomademyclothes? Having recently founded an ethical fashion social enterprise, we want to answer this question for you and tell you how we will continue to support the fashion revolution all along our journey.
Having a positive social impact is at the heart of Thraedable’s raison d’être. The primary manner in which we attempt to achieve such an impact is through are 50 Threads scheme, through which we share 50% of the profits resulting from the sale of our clothing lines with grassroots NGOs that provide sustainable solutions for little told social issues. But to be a social enterprise true to its name, this is not enough. Without a clean, transparent and environmentally friendly production method we would not be able to call ourselves as such.
Not having (yet!) the resources to set up our own factory where we would have complete oversight of the process from A to Z, we studied existing options to source our garments in a way that would be in line with the fashion revolution ideals. Our garments are thus supplied by Continental Clothing and Stanley & Stella, two European garment wholesalers that focus on ethical manufacturing and are ready to answer the #whomademyclothes question. Among their collection, we picked only the most environmentally friendly products, made of 100% organic cotton or natural fibre such as Tencel and Modal. But what really gives value to our products is the printing process. Amongst a sea of printing options, selecting one was a tough choice, but we managed to find our ideal partner in Milan. Our t-shirts and bags are printed in a small artist studio, where Serio Collective carefully prints each design by hand with water-based inks which are free of harsh solvents that are dangerous for the people who work with them and for the planet.
In the same way the hashtag #whomademyclothes questions the manner in which fast fashion manufactures clothes, Thraedable would like to go one step further and ask #whodesignedmyclothes? This question came to our mind when walking into fast fashion outlets and noticing that the designs on offer are very generic and characterless, often resembling the ones of the shop next door. As products become more and more disposable, they lose meaning. This observation lies at the foundation of Thraedable: by taking inspiration from the drawings made by people around the world who would otherwise have no voice, we want to use t-shirts and bags as a canvas to tell stories, so that designs have meaning and purpose. We are trying to turn clothes into something else: a platform for expression and advocacy that everybody can see. When you wear a Thraedable t-shirt you are sending a message to the world.
Today is the last day of this year’s Fashion Revolution Week, but it is only the beginning of our effort to join the fashion revolution every day, in our very own way.
Cristina Orsini & Aghiles Ourad are the co-founders of Thraedable.