Which NZ fashion brands rated best in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report?

by Noted / 10 April, 2019

A small number of New Zealand fashion brands are leading the way in ethical manufacturing practices.

Four New Zealand fashion labels are demonstrating clothing manufacturing and ethics can go hand in hand. 

Kowtow, Icebreaker, Liminal and Freeset received A+ grades for their ethical manufacturing practices, in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report and Guide released today by Tearfund.

The report grades fashion companies around the world on their efforts to address worker exploitation in the factories that produce their clothes. It started as a response to the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 which killed more than 1000 garment workers. 

Almost 30 New Zealand companies featured in the report with AS Colour, Kathmandu and Nature Baby also receiving high grades.

Companies are assessed at three critical stages of the supply chain – raw materials, inputs production and final stage production. 

*Non-responsive.

In the past year, 38% of companies improved their overall grade, including The Warehouse, Ruby and K&K. Farmers' score fell, to an F.

Overseas brands with stores here, like H&M, Gorman and Lululemon scored between B+ and A.

Some prominent Kiwi brands chose not to participate in the survey for the report, so researchers assessed them on publicly available information.

WORLD stated they didn't think Tearfund's survey was applicable to, or understanding of New Zealand garment production, while Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester both said it wasn't suited to boutique brands like theirs. 

Kate Sylvester has put resources into a fashion industry collective instead, co-founding Mindful Fashion, "to support the local garment industry and create benchmarks for ethical clothing production in New Zealand".

This year's report also assessed how companies are monitoring and mitigating their environmental impact throughout the supply chain, due to the waste and emissions produced in clothing manufacture.

Freeset, Icebreaker, Kowtow, Liminal and Nature Baby scored A+ in the environmental section.

Tearfund noted the high number of New Zealand companies that received low grades and emphasised that more and more consumers want to know how their clothing is made.

Read more: 12 of the best op shops in Auckland | Reversing fast fashion: The slow revolution of ethical clothing

“The fashion industry is moving in a particular direction and that is towards ethical practices, transparency and care for the planet," said Claire Hart, Tearfund’s Education & Advocacy Manager.

"...Ultimately these companies risk their bottom line if they fall much further behind the international trend, because public demand for transparency and supply chains free of exploitation is only growing."

Read the full 2019 Ethical Fashion Report and more information on the grading system and methodology.

Latest

50th moon landing anniversary: New Zealand's forgotten Nasa legend
108468 2019-07-20 00:00:00Z History

50th moon landing anniversary: New Zealand's forgo…

by Peter Griffin

Today marks 50 years since humans landed on the Moon, a feat achieved thanks to Kiwi scientist William Pickering and his team.

Read more
The best thing to come from the Black Caps' defeat
108621 2019-07-20 00:00:00Z Sport

The best thing to come from the Black Caps' defeat…

by Paul Thomas

For New Zealanders, the Cricket World Cup final was a brutal reminder of sport’s great paradox. But there's hope on the horizon.

Read more
What New Zealand can do about the militarisation of space
108498 2019-07-20 00:00:00Z Tech

What New Zealand can do about the militarisation o…

by Duncan Steel

We may decry the notion, but the hostile use of space is creeping into the plans of various countries.

Read more
Five technologies from the space race that we take for granted
108506 2019-07-20 00:00:00Z Tech

Five technologies from the space race that we take…

by Peter Griffin

If US$154 billion to land 12 men on the Moon seems excessive, consider the things we use every day that had their roots in a Nasa lab.

Read more
Top investigator urges police to speak up about wrongful convictions
108539 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Crime

Top investigator urges police to speak up about wr…

by Mike White

Mike White talks to investigator Tim McKinnel, who says police often turn a blind eye to possible corruption out of a misplaced sense of loyalty.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern to focus on Australia deportations in talks with Scott Morrison
108570 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern to focus on Australia deportations…

by Craig McCulloch

PM Jacinda Ardern has doubled down on her criticism of Australia's deportation policy as "corrosive", ahead of her meeting with Scott Morrison.

Read more
How closed adoption robbed Māori children of their identity
108572 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Social issues

How closed adoption robbed Māori children of their…

by Te Aniwa Hurihanganui

Te Aniwa Hurihanganui looks at the outdated Adoption Act and its impact on Māori who grew up desperate to reconnect.

Read more
The new robotic surgery aiding vaginal mesh removal
108377 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Health

The new robotic surgery aiding vaginal mesh remova…

by Ruth Nichol

Women with complications caused by deeply embedded vaginal mesh are being helped by a pioneering surgical technique.

Read more