The documentary showed violation of human working conditions; health and safety was non existence and workers being paid less than half the minimum wage in cash.
Retailers announced that they were SEDEX approved and they were, rightly so, appalled at the subcontractors of their orders from a ‘quality’ supplier to a third CMT unit. Yet there has to be ownership and control of these orders and retailers can not stand by their volumes of ethical sourcing without taking C.S.R as well.
This is why Fashion Enter, a not for profit concern, first opened a sampling unit, The Workshop in October 2008 and then a Factory in September 2010. Credit here must go to Debenhams who paid for our Workshop to become SEDEX approved in July 2010.
‘My name is Jenny Holloway, Director of Fashion Enter, and I have worked in the industry for over 25 years. The same problems occur time and time again and it’s driven by profit and ‘greed’. In the 1980’s I was a selector for M&S on formal blouses. There were key price points of £12.99 (long live the Ultressa blouse!), £17.99, £19.99. £25, £29.99, £35, £49.99 and £75 for the top store ranging. These price points would be a dream come true for many retailers today! Now 20 years on prices are lower, sourcing is internationally keener than ever before and as the C.E of Next proclaimed last week prices have to go up.’
Fashion Enter last year predicted that production of clothing had to return back to the UK. Raising oil prices, shopping costs, expansion of EU members to include Romania, unreliable suppliers and increasing pressure for fast track production meant that a resurgence of production had to occur in the UK HOWEVER its time to ensure that centres of manufacturing excellence should occur.
Fashion Enter did not have the financial reserves to open a state of the art production unit so there was only one way to seek the investment required – we approached asos.com so we could become their dedicated factory. Asos.com said yes!
The Factory at Florentia Clothing Village has been open for two months and without doubt this will work. Production on asos.com’s doorstop, turning around production in just five days ETHICALLY is the only way forward for retailers and etailer’s. Asos have been outstanding in their support for a totally new venture but this strategy will keep them ahead of the competition.
The Dispatches documentary was a wake up call for the fashion industry. Retailers and etailer’s must pay realistic prices for production by increasing selling price points and reviewing margins. Retailers need to work with their suppliers and ensure they know where production is made – what ever happened to in work checks by the QC Department at retailers head office?
The manufacturing industry can greatly capitalise in the changes in international sourcing markets but this can only be achieved by working together in unison; retailers, etailer’s, manufactures and designers need to sit around a table and work out systems of excellence and accreditation.
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