Traceability - #WhoMadeMyClothes
We believe in transparency, sourcing locally and ethical practice.
We joined the #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign
as part of #FashionRevolution Week.
Do you know where your clothes come from?
Our clothing is made mostly in Turkey and Portugal.
We source most of our fabrics within Europe and print our t-shirts in Wales.
The facility we use in India weave their own fabrics from locally grown Organic Cotton and locally recycled PET.
We only work with factories that follow the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) base code.
Many of our woven trousers and shorts are made in Turkey and Portugal. Here are a pair of our denim shorts being sampled in the Porto sampling room. We have also recently started to produce some of our Recycled light-weight trousers and shorts in the Mumbai/Thane district of India too.
Our Bra-tops and Vest are made in Lithuania and Portugal both facility that also knit their own Organic Cotton, Recycled PET and Modal fabrics.
Our Recycled leggings are made in Lithuania and Portugal, using Recycled Italian carpet fabric which we send from Italy once they have been digitally printed.
Our Luna Bar-top is being Quality Controlled in the photo above to ensure sewing quality and sizing is within acceptable tolerances.
Our solstice leggings are being produced in the photo above.
Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base code basics:
1. Employment is freely chosen 2. Freedom of association (=Unions) 3. Working conditions are safe and hygienic 4. Child labour shall not be used 5. Living wages are paid 6. Working hours are not excessive 7. No discrimination is practiced 8. Regular employment is provided 9. No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
We are working with a factory in India to produce a small package of shorts and trousers for Spring summer 2019.
We are working with a factory in Mumbai, India. There are 3 facilities involved in the process, a sampling studio in Mumbai, a fabric mill 1.5hr drive away in Bhiwandi, and garment factory 2.5hrs drive away in Dhanau. They are all within the district of Thane.
The main driving factor for moving our trousers/shorts production from Turkey to India this season, was because of the light weight RECYCLED fabrics available. Turkey is great for producing organic cotton but they don't make recycled PET fabrics like India. Turkey are very proud of their own textile industry so make it very difficult to use/import fabrics from other countries. The workmanship of the garments was also high in India. Unfortunately for 3RD ROCK the prices we get from India are not cheaper than Turkey, they are in fact more expensive! Shame for us, but true.
I (Jessica) have personally visited all of the Indian facility sites and seen first hand the conditions, standards and practices followed there. I have spoken to workers and asked if they would be happy to have their photos taken with me and my ‘I made your 3RD ROCK clothes’ sign. They were very happy to talk to me and share their stories and excited to be on our website and social media. The best part of my whole trip to India was talking to the people in the workforce, their smiles were infectious and their stories were very varied, but it is common for people to relocate from remote villages (like Bihar) to seek better opportunities and employment in big cities like Mumbai.
In the sampling studio it had almost exclusively male workers, as did the fabric mill, however in the garment factory the split was roughly 50/50 male to female. After asking them why this was, I now understand that this is due to the fact that once couples have children it is the mothers that stay at home to care for the children while the fathers work to support the family financially. At the garment factory the female workers either had grown up children or were not yet married with children.
The workforce are very highly skilled professionals who take pride in their work, some have worked there for over 20 years and say that they are happy there. Many of the machinists wore headphones in one ear while working to listen to music from their mobile phones. They told me it helped them concentrate and ‘get into their flow’ with the sewing. We saw first hand the health and safety standards and practices around all the facilities.
Despite some negative stigma, India is an amazing place to produce ethical products. My previous boss Katharine Hamnett (the godmother of green fashion) produced her collections there, as do many other eco and ethical brands. They are leaders in Organic cotton production and educators of organic farming practices (I have personally visited the organic cotton fields in central India and sat in on lectures given by organic farming scientists and local cotton farmers). They also have leading producers of recycled PET yarns (polyester that is made from plastic bottles collected throughout India). Like ours, many Indian factories weave the fabric themselves and make the garments too, cutting out transportation costs and emissions. You can find really great factories that comply with the ETI labour standards base code (providing a living wage) and that are powered by solar energy too. India can be an extremely great place to produce your clothing.
What actually goes into making a garment?
Design, fabric and trim sourcing, pattern cutting, sampling, fittings, re-cutting, more sampling, more fitting, product testing, technical drawings, specification pack building, digitizing patterns, grading into size breakdowns, communication to factories, more sampling and size set production, couriers between factory and design studio, lab-dip colour matching, cotton growing, cotton harvesting, fiber ginning, yarn spinning, yarn sanforising, yarn wrapping, plastic bottle collection, yarn extrusion, fabric weaving, fabric dying, fabric QC, shrinkage calculations, pattern master amendments to include shrinkage, laying fabric ready for cutting, printing cutting templates, cutting out all the fabric pieces (27 pieces in our Mercury jean for example), embroidery, printing and screen making, zip & button production, trim shipping, wash labels, hanging loops, sewing components together to make the final garment, quality control, pressing, folding, packaging ribbon design, packaging ribbon production, hang tag design, hang tag printing, string attachment, attachment to garment, barcode allocation & referencing, shipping from facility to the port, administration fees, customs, shipping from port to warehouse, warehouse rent, more quality control in house (sometimes 100%!), and the coordination of all of those elements, to name but a few.
The cost of a garment is not solely down to the wage you pay the person that sews the cut fabric pieces together. We make sure that our supply chain complies with the ETI labour standards base code, this ensures the workers are pair a fair living wage.
It's important to understand what's included in the full cost of a garment.
There are so many elements to clothing production, it’s an extremely sensitive and price driven industry with so many processes involved, there can be around 30+ individuals and 10+ businesses involved in producing 1 single pair of trousers, each needing to make a margin to function. Here is a list of the businesses usually involved in the product alone:
Brand (3RD ROCK) / production facility / dying house / garment printing house / YKK and other trim producers / paper printers / farmer / recycling unit / yarn producer / shipping company / shipping agent / warehouse.
3RD ROCK’s margin also needs to cater for the cost of sales too, which will involve model agencies, photography studios, web developers, content creators, trade shows, sales tours, catalogue production and printing, ambassador team, general running costs of the studio and Team wages.
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