What makes a brand transparent?
Answer - they are not afraid to share details about how they treat their workers and how they run a sustainable business.
One of the key takeaways we took from the latest Fashion Transparency Index was that a lot of major brands still do not disclose as much information as they could and should about their brand and their products.
In fact, the overall average score across the 250 brands that Fashion Revolution analysed was a measly 23% in 2021. Each fashion brand or retailer is ranked across five sections; Policy & Commitments, Governance, Traceability, Know, Show & Fix, Spotlight Issues.
But what does this mean for us as consumers?
In an ideal world, I want to shop for clothes I know come from an ethical place where they treat their workers fairly and they do their bit to cut down on waste.
As consumers, we should therefore be able to know exactly where our pair of jeans was made, how the resources made their way to a factory and how they treat staff.
"So, our call to you is this – do not use this Index to inform your shopping choices but rather use these findings to inform your activism. Scrutinise the major brands and hold them to account on their claims."
Fashion is at a dangerous point where by 2030 it could produce 2.7 million tonnes of global CO2 emissions (according to the Fashion on Climate Report). Fashion accounted for 4% of total global CO2 emissions in 2018. We still have clothes produced in sweatshops, or that use child labour - modern slavery sadly still exists.
Wouldn't you want to know if a brand was using exploitative labour somewhere along the line, or dumping pollutants into rivers? I would!
But while we can dutifully research brands online, it is clear that a lot of the information we want to find out is being hidden.
This is why we need to demand more from fashion brands and retailers to be more transparent as the first step towards a fairer, more sustainable fashion industry.
What can we do?