I don't want to name names, because it's not my point to shame or call out any one company. I'd like to encourage. I'm wondering, however, if an example brings my point home a bit more forcefully. There is an activewear brand that came onto the scene a couple of years ago that made all of their product domestically. Their aesthetic is beautiful and their product is basic, yet unique. I bought a piece from them and felt good about the choice. About a year ago, I noticed that their website no longer listed where each item was made. On further investigation, it became clear that they had move production overseas with no mention of fairness to the employees who make their pieces. It angered me a bit to think that many customers may not catch this, and keep buying thinking that their previous research into origins holds true.
I also noticed this happen with a certain shoe company with USA in its name. A few years into production they moved their sourcing from the USA overseas. There was no mention of fair working conditions or efforts on their website. I wrote to them voicing my concerns and asking for more information, but received no reply. This year, I noticed that they returned to making shoes in the USA with a greatly reduced offering. They received more press for this new collection than I've seen them have in years. I'm sure it was a monstrous decision with a pile of sacrifice, but I hope it pays off in sales and peace of mind.
This is one of the issues I would love to see this community come together around. We as individuals can certainly encourage our favorite fair brands and designers to keep "fair" and "ethical" as core values as they grow. We can write letters and emails and tell them in person. This is important and powerful. But how much more impact could we have together? A community of people letting our treasured brands and designers know that fair and ethical matters could truly change the trajectory of their decision making processes.
It is important for us to stay focused in our own closets and keeping our purchases voting in the right direction. We can use our individual voices to encourage small brands to stay focused too. We can encourage each other in our journeys and encourage others to join us as well. Together consumers can make a difference... but imagine the difference consumers can make together with designers, brands, and manufacturing! The lives of so many garment workers, farmers, and their families could be changed for the better.