The social responsibility of fashion companies who manufacture overseas is often a topic for debate and one which is regularly found dominating the headlines. Many of you will recall the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh where over 1,000 lives were lost unnecessarily through the poor maintenance of a building. This is sadly not an isolated event, the working conditions and wages paid to those in garment factories across the world can be below the standards that we have become accustomed to in the U.K. Thankfully this sad truth is slowly becoming a more pressing issue that companies like Nudie Jeans are hoping to change.
Nudie Jeans endeavour to promote the production of denim in an environmentally and socially responsible way; from cotton seeds to recycled jeans. The company carry out social audits of all suppliers in all countries to ensure Fair Wear Foundation requirements are followed. In countries that are considered to be high risk the company ensure that extra monitoring takes place and that when needed extra resources are available to improve the conditions of the factories.
Nudie Jeans not only boasts about their support for these causes but promotes a transparent approach to their production processes and any documentation of their audits can be easily found and downloaded from their website.
In many of the high risk countries where garments are manufactured there is a vast difference between minimum wage and the living wage. Nudie Jeans states that ‘everyone who participates in the manufacturing of our clothes should have a wage enough to live on’. This is unfortunately not an issue that can be changed by only one company. Even Nudie Jeans’ own share of production in factories is limited so this level of change requires numerous companies to take responsibility and pay the suppliers their fair share of the living wage for workers. Nudie Jeans pride themselves on paying their fare share of a living wage for workers but say that for such initiatives to fully work ‘it requires genuine and long term commitment’ from all parties.
Nudie Jeans sign off their discussion surrounding social responsibility with the statement; ‘we hope to inspire other brands to follow this initiative.’ This is a pressing issue that companies within the fashion industry must address, for too long companies have turned a blind eye to their responsibilities and focussed on profits. Sometimes the greatest profit that such influential companies can have is the knowledge that the work they undertake improves lives as well as your style.