The ada + lou journey to ethical production
If there's once thing that we knew for sure since the very beginning, it's that ethical production was a non-negotiable.
We weren't interested in keeping our costs low if it was a faceless factory worker somewhere who was truly paying the price. Nor were we willing to let mother earth foot the bill.
The problem with fast fashion
We're not about to pretend that the aisles of our favourite department stores have not tempted us once or twice. It's affordable, accessible fashion and more and more these days it's looking like stuff that we'd actually want to wear.
We all know it's not going to last, but at those prices we can replace it easily enough, right? And there's certainly pay-weeks where the choice between a $20 pair of jeans or a $200 designer pair seems like a no-brainer.
But the reality is that there IS a bigger price, it's just not us paying it. There is somewhere around 40 million garment workers producing this fast fashion across the world. 85 percent of those workers are women who, sadly, are some of the lowest paid workers in the world.
Fast fashion production is also a major factor in some of the worst ways that we humans treat the environment. Greenhouse gases, water use, air pollution and the waste. So, so much waste.
ada + lou items are designed to be loved and worn for a lifetime
Supporting women is global job
In 2013 we, along with the rest of the world, observed in horror the nightmare that unfolded when the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed.
Suddenly fast fashion had a face. 1135 faces actually.
Over 2500 of Rana Plaza's workers were seriously injured and 1135 of them lost their lives as the unsafe working conditions left them trapped and unable to escape.
80 percent of the garment workers caught inside on that horrible day were women. Most of them were young, aged between 18 and 20 years old and working for around 22 cents an hour.
Through the lottery of birth, this was their story. It's a shameful fact that many Australian fashion brands play an integral part of the system that keeps these women trapped in a cycle of poverty.
Not us. We refuse.
We need to know who is making our clothes
Our journey saw us look into production overseas. Rana Plaza was forefront in our thoughts as we began to talk to production houses.
We travelled abroad and found there was a certain mystery about who exactly would be doing the work. We were made a lot of promises, but those promises were not backed up with evidence. We wanted to meet the workers, talk to them, ask them questions.
Producing here in Australia has been our answer that problem for now. We met everyone, from the cutting table to the quality control. We know names, faces, stories.
ada + lou products are made using the couture method of one person, one garment. That means the same person who cut the fabric is the same person who works on her all the way through until her tags are attached. It's this love and care we hope you can feel when you wear her.
Sure, there are ways to produce ethically overseas, we know. However as a self-funded start-up we simply didn't have the time or the funds to ensure that what we would be promising would be what we were delivering.
As we grow, we may look into this further, but be assured that we will never produce in a factory that does not put the welfare of their workers and the treatment of the environment first. Until we know the names, faces, stories we won't be satisfied.
We're stepping our way through ethical production as gently as we can.
We got you, mother earth
Ethical production is an ongoing job. Every day we are finding new ways to reduce waste, be more aware, try a bit harder. It's a promise we made ourselves and it's a promise we make to you.
Our fabric is a viscose rayon which is a natural fibre that's been treated in a fully compliant, accredited mill.
Unlike many textile manufacturers, our mill produces in an environmentally safe way to ensure that they continue to meet the accreditation criteria. All dyes are disposed of safely in the manufacturing process and they have strict regulations around their water usage.
We care so much about the details. Sustainability and ethical production are up there with the quality and design for us.
We want you to love your ada + lou babies for the longest time, safe in the knowledge that you're doing your part too. Fast fashion has to be the last option. Always.