Responsible Production - Actively Conscious

Responsible Production

This article is a deep dive into the responsible production process that makes Actively Conscious a conscious lifestyle brand.

In this article you can expect transparency about the clothing and accessories that goes into making the loungewear element of the collection.

Who Made My Clothes?

All of the garments in the loungewear collection have been responsibly made in Bangladesh and decorated with the designs here in the UK.

The internal and external woven branded labels have also been made in the UK and I finish these into all of the garments myself.

I (Chloé) am very aware of the stigma that is surrounded by sourcing in Bangladesh, however after months of research and discussions with industry professionals, including my personal experience and knowledge as a professional designer. I came to the same conclusion that our supplier shares about sourcing properly with due diligence to ensure the best quality responsibly made product, which will last beyond 30 wears with love and care.

What does “responsibly made” mean?

Responsibly made means that the garments in our collection are made by our Fair Wear Foundation member supplier.

It also means that I the founder (Chloé) has done the due diligence of investigating the supply chain and practices of the supplier which supplies our garments.

Read more about the Fair Wear Foundation here.

A Fair Wear member supplier or “brand” takes advanced steps to show that it’s possible to make clothing in a fairer way.

“Together we’re stitching together new solutions across the supply chain to make fashion fair for everyone.” - Fair Wear Foundation

Our supplier is convinced that manufacturing in Asia (including Bangladesh) is a good thing if done properly. Properly means respecting the rights of the men and women that are employed in the production process. It means giving these workers the means to acquire new skills and to receive education and training.

Here are the 8 Fair Wear Foundation labour standards which every Fair Wear Member has to adhere to with their production locations (factories).

1. Employment is freely chosen

2. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining

3. There is no discrimination in employment

4. No exploitation of child labour.

5. Payment of living wage.

6. Reasonable hours of work

7. Safe and healthy working conditions

8. Legally binding employment relationship

Transparency is paramount.

Only after many months of researching and trying to obtain manufacturing information from potential suppliers, to supply my start-up business, I made a choice to invest in our chosen supplier.
That is partly why it has taken so long, because I’ve been on a mission to be able to source a supplier that is as transparent as possible with their production and a supplier that is actively making difference with the partner factories they work with.

I also had to ensure that I was sticking to Actively Conscious sustainability pillar and not over committing to stock that I would not be able to sell (overproduction).
It's important for the brand to grow slowly and organically at a realistic pace.
Working with our chosen supplier allows the flexibility to gauge the market and only produce what is needed. This means we don't overproduce our collections and heavily discount excess stock which could end up in landfill. This would be the opposite of responsible. Instead, we create limited edition drops of clothing and hold absolute minimal stock.


Responsibility doesn't just stop at the production...

In addition to all of this, our loungewear is made from GOTS and GRS-certified fibres which is a pretty big deal.

Here is the terminology unwrapped…

GOTS = Global Organic Textile Standard

The strictest certification for textiles made from organic fibres.
GOTS doesn’t just stop at the fibre content, but it tracks the entire chain of production from farm to factory; from harvesting of the cotton, weaving of fibres, assembly of items, to the final product before printing, including even the export of our clothing. It certifies that the cotton our garments are made of is GMO-free and is grown without the use of chemicals and is processed and dyed without using any banned toxic substances.

GOTS also ensures compliance with the labour standards of the International Labour Organisation throughout the chain of production.

GRS = Global Recycling Standard

The Global Recycled Standard label certifies that the materials used are recycled: in the case of polyester, from plastic bottles, and for cotton, from cutting waste. GRS also guarantees compliance with social and environmental criteria such as treatment of waste water, the absence of certain toxic additives and respect for working conditions in our partner factories.

Responsible Finishings

In addition to making sure that the main garment is responsibly made, I ensured to source a local studio which decorates the garments with the beautiful yoga illustrations and contemporary AC logo.
The embroidery studio is based locally in the Northern Quarter, here in Manchester, UK.

It feels amazing to be supporting local businesses it’s nice to be able to meet the people that bring the collection to life with the high-quality embroidery designs they create.

The ‘actively conscious’ woven labels that you have in your garments and your tote bags have been Made in the UK also.

Again, I spent weeks upon end contacting my little book of suppliers to source organic cotton or recycled polyester versions of these but for such a small part of the garment, these were going to be shipped half way across the world and I just couldn’t justify the carbon-footprint.

So, instead, I made sure that I found a supplier who would be as transparent as possible with me about the origins of the thread which make these labels. The 100% raw polyester thread is from Europe and these are woven in England. I stitch each label into every garment and accessory of the collection. 

Progress always to be made

The garment industry is complex, global, fragmented and rarely transparent. 

In the past for other companies, I’ve worked with factories based closer to home (UK) and also further away from home (Far East) that don’t take steps to look after their workers and ensure they are producing responsibly.
That’s the whole reason why I wanted to start a brand with purpose and intrgrity where things were done differently and properly.
So for me, to launch product onto a market which has been responsibly made is a non-negotiable.

As a small independent brand, of course there is progress still to be made.
I can still make improvements even more so to my production process, so that when the brand grows to scales, I still manage to produce responsibly and hopefully to an even higher level.

So far I’m proud of the steps that I’ve taken to ensure that I’ve consciously made a collection which you can shop with a clear conscious and one which you’ll hopefully love.

Thank you for reading, 

Founder, Actively Conscious

Shop the collection here

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