The world is enamoured with fashion. Shopping for clothes be it online or in a physical store is regularly quoted as people’s favourite pastime. Clothes are cheaper and more readily accessible thanks to the online surplus of fashion sites. Now we can constantly change our outfits at very little expense, or so it seems, but in actual fact, there is a larger expense than our wallets at stake; there is a human expense that is often not considered.

Have you ever asked yourself how it is possible for large fashion labels to churn out clothes at such low prices? Remember that if a company is selling cheap clothes they are still making money, otherwise, they would close their doors. The losers are the workers that get paid a pittance and denied basic rights and ultimately consumers because we are wearing an item that has been most likely manufactured with no quality controls and with harsh dyes and chemicals that at best will irritate our skin and at worst will affect our long-term health and well-being.

One of the reasons why we chose to import Italian legwear is because of the quality controls that are in check throughout Italy. All our brands have an Oeko-Tex certification. This is a worldwide recognised independent certification testing for raw and finished textile products during all processing stages. Amongst other things, it tests the quality of dyed and raw yarns, woven and knitted fabrics. Given that tights and socks come into direct contact with your skin don’t you want to ensure that you are not contaminating it with harmful substances?

Besides maintaining a good quality product we have deliberately chosen companies that respect a worker’s rights. Workers are paid an award wage that allows them to meet financial necessities, holiday pay, sick leave and union approved hours are all included as standard practices. All workers are provided with the required protective clothing and work in a safe environment.

Furthermore, all our companies collect, store and dispose of dyes and materials in accordance with regulations so as not to pollute the air and nearby rivers.

By the time an item of clothing hits a store shelf, it has been through quite a process from the imaginings of a designer right to the last stitch being secured by a machine operator. However, the final and most important action lies with you the buyer. You too can make a change in people’s lives, simply ask yourself the question, ‘Do I know who made this?’ If the answer is no then demand transparency from the company, ask them on their social media sites, ‘Who made this’? If they don’t answer or are evasive well then you have your answer!!! The final decision to buy from unethical companies or to find a company that respects workers and quality lies with you. Together we can make a difference!

April 25, 2018 — Mary Penco

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