For a long time now I’ve been involved in one way or another with the ethical clothing movement, from early involvement with the SPEAK network about a decade ago, through longstanding ongoing personal commitments to buying second hand and ethically sourced clothing, to more recent in depth involvement with organic cotton projects.
Because of my involvement with the (so far not very well developed) Cambodian organic cotton project, I was put in touch with a guy called Brian, who owns a company called HR Denne.
I like HR Denne, because unlike most clothing companies, they arent just making fashionable frippery. One of the early things I realised when getting involved with ethical clothing, was the inherent contradiction in ‘ethical fashion’ which is difficult (although not impossible) to overcome.
Rather HR Denne make workwear, from salon wear to jackets, you know the sort of thing. They also own a brand called Reliant – which is a clerical garments brand. Yeah – you know the sort of thing, alb’s, surplices, and their biggest sellers – clergy shirts.
The Reliant suppliers are already very well inspected and audited to ensure a wholly ethical supply chain, and now I’m working with Reliant for a couple of days a week to help them demonstrate their ethical status, and (more interesting from my perspective) to help them source new materials and work with existing suppliers to transition as many existing lines to fully organic and fair trade certified wherever possible.
It’s a good mixture of decent business people, committed to ethical business, and a hot headed idealist – I am sure the mix will work well. I’ve just proposed a new line of clothing to them – which I’ve described as ‘Reliant – clothes to have faith in’ – see what I did there :)?
I know this will make a few people chuckle, because I’m not usually associated with ecclesiastical garments 🙂 but I am relishing the opportunity to get deep inside the garment industry, and learn from the inside out.