Flatter:Me was founded with two goals in mind: helping our customers feel fantastic in their jeans, yes - but also creating quality jobs for the men and women at the beginning of our supply chain. Why?
Because we know just how many pairs of hands it takes to bring a product to life, and have learned that with every step of our belts’ production, we have a chance to insist on better working conditions, more manageable hours, and more upward mobility for the people behind our products.
Read the blog post from our most recent factory visits here.
BEYOND “MADE IN ________”
When founder Claire moved to Shanghai in 2008, she knew what reputation the “Made in China” label carried with it. But as she learned more about the manufacturing industry through her non-profit work, she realized that Western demand for high quantities of quickly-made, low-priced goods certainly wasn’t helping. What would happen, she wondered, if a company was willing to pay higher wages for smaller quantities of well-made goods?
Our “Made in China” wasn’t outsourcing. It was insourcing. It was our Made Local, because the women sewing our first Flatter:Me’s lived right down the street. And as Flatter:Me grew and as the global movement against “fast fashion” materialized, we became more and more determined to show our customers that a smaller, more human-scale style of manufacturing is not only possible beyond North American borders - but necessary.
Does this mean we’ll always be manufacturing in China? Nope. Our goal is to benefit the most garment workers we possibly can with our belts. China’s labour laws have improved in big ways since we started Flatter:Me (see the results of one of many studies on the subject here), and we might find the time comes to bring our jobs to other communities. We’re focused on the who, not the where.
Check out Claire’s TEDxShanghaiWomen talk, "A Better Made In China," to learn more about Flatter:Me's origin story.
OUR ADVOCACY WORK
We’re really proud to be a Certified B Corporation, which means that our business practises have been third-party verified to meet a higher standard of social and environmental responsibility.
We’re also Alberta’s coordinator for Fashion Revolution, an annual global campaign encouraging brands and consumers alike to ask #whomademyclothes. We’re a proud member of Fashion Takes Action, Canada’s only national non-profit devoted to fashion industry sustainability (check out the World Ethical Apparel Roundtable, held in Toronto every November). We also organize a local event called Change of Clothes, a “one stop, non-shop” event that helps Edmontonians to extend the life of their wardrobes.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED, TOOJoin the annual Fashion Revolution movement - it’s easy and powerful. Organize a Change of Clothes in your community (email us to learn how). Know that labour conditions and wages in North American factories aren’t necessarily better than those offshore - and that every garment, regardless of where it was sewn, carries a long offshore supply chain behind it. Focus on progress, not perfection. Ethical fashion isn’t black and white, and big change comes in small steps.