Babe, the revolution is now and we are 👏 fucking 👏 here 👏 for 👏 it 👏
If you’re not across the turning point of the global Fashion Revolution movement, know that it was sparked by a tragedy that took the lives of 1,134 garment workers, shook the world and thrust the very industry which created these brutal conditions into the public eye.
Six years on and consumers are calling – demanding – greater transparency from brands. People want to know who made their clothes, under what conditions and with what materials. And we say, fuck YES, this is the revolution that had to happen.
Babe, let us take you on our sustainable and ethical journey so far.
who made my clothes?
Our garments are made ethically in a factory in Dongguan, China. Making sure that we are doing right by our people is always on our radar, so it was a HUGE decision for us to have our factory there. Believe us girl, we would absolutely love to make all our items in Australia! But what we found was that it blew out the cost of our items to the point where they were just insanely expensive. We don’t want to be an exclusive brand. We are feminist, body positive and inclusive and these values shouldn’t only be available to a select few who can afford it!
We are currently treading a super fine line between quality items that are also accessible, sustainable and ethical and having a (closely watched) factory in China is part of this. Ok girl, we know that “Made In China” gets a bad rep and often rightly so, but we have a talented, happy and healthy team of production superstars who get paid a fair wage and work in awesome conditions! Sweatshop we are NOT.
On top of internal audits, our team also visit the factory regularly to make sure that the reports we get are accurate! Our latest audit was conducted in April 2019, here’s a breakdown of some important points we think you should know:
⚡The factory employs 80 people.
⚡Everyone has a signed employment contract with the factory.
⚡The average wage in the factory is over two and a half times the required minimum for this area. Plus, the people who work in the factory are provided with free meals and accommodation, so they can do more with the money they earn.
⚡Work starts at 8am and finishes at 6pm each day, with an hour and a half long break in the middle of that. Occasionally they are asked to work paid overtime but this is caped at three hours.
⚡Each person in the factory is provided with work safety insurance.
⚡The factory is fully compliant with local work safety law and comes equipped with fire extinguishers, emergency lights, exit signs, emergency evacuation maps and two fire exits on every floor.
We also regularly chat with the factory employees and on our latest visit we had the opportunity to snap some photos of them (which they agreed we could share). Here are their stories:
Kevin and Hong
The factory is owned by married couple Kevin and Hong. They met when Kevin was a merchandiser and Hong was a pattern maker working out of the same factory in the Jiangxi province! They fell in love and decided to move to Dongguan as it has good career opportunities. They have two children together, both boys, 11 and seven years old. They opened the factory in 2013 and have been working there ever since.
Mr Guan is a new employee of the factory but an old friend of Kevin. He’s a sample maker and says that he likes his new job as it’s very creative and challenging!
Xiao Mei moved to Dongguan with her husband several years ago and they now both work at the factory. Xiao Mei as a sewer and her husband as a packer, they have a five-year-old son together who lives with Xiao Mei’s parents. They want to bring him to Dongguan soon as it’s a modern city with good opportunities for education.
Xu Lin came to Dongguan seeking a higher paid wage as she is helping her husband afford care for his aging parents. She is working hard as a sewer to save money and wants to one day open a small store in her home town.
Ms Zhong is Hong’s sister and came to work at the factory as a pattern maker after studying fashion design at university. She is married and has a three-year-old son.
how sustainable are my clothes?
Silent Arrow is all about breaking free of expectations. Expectations of femininity, of beauty, of thinness, of how to act your age. But we’re also about breaking free of the established mould of a lingerie brand and how we fit into the fashion ecosystem. We reject the seasonal nature of the worldwide fashion machine and hope to shatter the endless cycle of cheap, disposable items that fuel exploitative production lines and lead to unnecessary waste. Our clothes are designed to be timeless, high quality and to be items that you’ll treasure and re-wear over and over (and over and over) again. Basically, we’ve said GURL BYE to fast fashion.
F.U. TOO! was our first foray into 100% recycled nylon microfiber and babe, was it a success! It took us two years to produce but it was abso-fucking-lutely worth all the hard work. We’re always making sustainability a bigger part of our production process and with every new style we get a bit better at it. We also ship everything in compostable bags and, because we believe in the power of individuals, we also do small things around our office to make sustainability a priority. We have office keep cups, use recycled stationary and recycle all our soft plastics!
What's next for silent arrow?
Ooooh babe, have we got some good things in store for our true rad girls! Coming soon to a bra near you: recycled elastic. Doesn’t sound like much? Trust us, this has the potential to make a huge difference! And don’t worry, we haven’t forgot about the rest of your gorgeous intimates. Our aim is for anything that can be made from recycled materials, to be made from recycled materials, even if it means putting our time and resources into producing it ourselves.
We are also super excited to announce that once we start making a profit (something we’ve never done, it can be hard out there for a small fashion brand) we’ll be putting 10% towards purchasing a house to shelter women fleeing domestic violence. This is on top of the already established Silent Arrow + You initiative where we donate undies to women doing it rough! We are absolutely not claiming to be perfect, but we are committed to the journey of being the best we can.
And girl, you have the power to make small choices that have big impact. Demand that brands, including small, slow fashion brands like us, be better. Demand that we care about the people who make your clothes. Demand that we give a shit about the environment which we all share. Help us make Fast Fashion realise that an industry build on foundations of greed cannot be surprised when it topples in the face of human empathy.