Few, though, have been quite as thorough as the two guys behind Visible Clothing. Before 2013, they admit that they paid no more than lip service to the notion of ethical fashion. One event changed their minds and their lives. That event, of course, was Rana Plaza. Andy and Andy take up the story:
That's what you call putting your money where your mouth is. That was only the start of the Visible journey, as the two Andys took a properly hands-on approach to research for their new line of pyjamas. They made it their mission to visit every single person that would work on their clothes through the supply chain. It would prove to be an enlightening trip for everyone concerned. The Andys came to realise that the simplest of garments can go across continents in the journey from field to wardrobe, with the raw materials often stitched and finished thousands of miles from their origin.
"We knew that sweatshops existed but preferred to remain largely ignorant. We decided this needed to change; we needed to align our buying choices with our values. So we gave away all - ALL - our clothes at the end of 2013 and built new wardrobes from scratch containing only clothes that we knew were made fairly. But our personal wardrobes were not enough. So we decided to set up Visible with the goal of helping everyone who has thought about buying fairly made clothes to do so at an affordable price."
Hence the point to making the business Visible. Back to the Andys to explain:
Without visibility, it is difficult for you - the customer - to decide whether or not everyone is being treated fairly. It is also too easy for us all to ignore the rights of the individuals who make our clothes because we quite simply don't know them. With even the smallest detail about the person who makes the clothing we wear, our mind-set can begin to change, and that person can begin to transition from an invisible cog in the machine to an actual, visible human deserving of our respect, dignity, and fair treatment. We desire far greater visibility into the fashion industry.
We are therefore focusing on three things:
-Visible people - We want to connect you with the actual people who make Visible clothing and to provide those workers with the chance to let you and us know whether they are happy with their working conditions.
-Visible costs - We tell you where every pound (or dollar) goes when you part with your cash, leaving you to be the judge as to whether our clothes have a fair price.
-Visible impact - We will charge a fair price for clothes which are made by people who are treated fairly, and by doing so will create opportunities for extreme poverty to be eradicated.
We bang on about transparency a lot here at The Pier, and Visible Clothing seem to be taking this notion and running with it. It's amazing to see a company that are making a real selling point out of the open-ness of their supply chain. The fact that Andy wore Visible pyjamas through his voyage of discovery tells you a lot about the comfort and hard-wearing nature of their cotton nightwear. With Christmas coming up, these guys are worth checking out.
Have a look at their journey below:
Visible PJ's from Visible Clothing on Vimeo.