Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.
Where Does It Come From? is a clothing brand with a difference – our garments are all ethically made and completely traceable back to the cotton farm. We’ve created a range of beautiful, unique garments that come with their life story so you can find out about how they were made and the people involved.
WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"
What would happen to the garment industry if customers could find out exactly how the making of their clothes affects the people who make them and the planet we all live on.
Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
The current consumer demand for ‘fast fashion’ has had a hugely negative impact on the garment workers of the world, on the environment and on the culture around clothing. Growing awareness of all these issues has led to many brands, large and small, moving towards more ethical ways of doing business but there is still a huge lack of transparency in the supply chain and a lack of awareness from consumers about the issues faced by garment workers and the environment.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
We believe that transparency of production and human to human awareness is the best way to uncover industry issues and also to help improve the consumer culture. We have built relationships with fabric and garment producers so we can go right back to the beginning of the supply chain and trace production all the way through to delivery.
April 2015 – 3rd place in ‘Greenest Product’ category in Suffolk Green Awards
Impact: How does it Work
Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
Where Does It Come From? has partnered with an organization called Moral Fibre Fabrics which is based in Gujarat, India. We are in discussions with other potential partners too but this relationship is the most advanced. Together we plan the product design which is then translated into a design specification. Moral Fibre then act as an on-the-ground umbrella organization and work with the co-operative movement in the Gujarat region (The main one of these we work with is Udyog Bharti www.udyogbharti.org). The co-operative workers, many of who are based in rural villages, are given the various task to undertake – this can be spinning, weaving, dyeing, printing or tailoring. Because the work is through the co-operative their pay and conditions are formally managed.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
Where Does It Come From? has already created 1750 garments, which provides income and dignity for the rural artisans in the co-operatives we work with. Not only does this work benefit the artisans but it is also providing a channel for the traditional skills used which creates further demand.
Customers who have already bought from us have traced their garments and so gained awareness of the people and processes involved in making their clothes. Feedback has been very good with many customers returning to buy something else.
Other impacts include influencing consumers so that they see the benefits of Fairtrade and sustainable production and the effects of their buying choices on garment makers. Where Does It Come From? also publishes a regular blog highlighting key issues to help educate consumers into more ethical choices.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?
- Increase the number of supplier relationships to reach more artisans worldwide
- To wholesale more products to shops and boutiques, initially in the UK but we do plan to supply further afield
- We now offer a corporate solution so we can work with businesses to offer bespoke items block printed with their logo
- In the long term we would love to set up a foundation which would be based in the same areas as the partners who develop our products so that the benefits of our work go full circle back to the people at the beginning of the chain.
- Further extension of the traceability
Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
- We are considering using crowdfunding to finance our next venture – adult shirts
- Wholesaling more to retailers will give us larger inputs of finance and realise more benefit from existing stock
- We are looking into financing via investment
Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
There are other ethical clothing producers such as Peopletree, The Fableists etc. We all have made the choice to offer quality garments but using labour sources that we know to be ethical. The main difference with Where Does It Come From? is the traceability that is offered to the customer so that they can find out about the supply chain themselves.
It is completely true that the Founder of Where Does It Come From? came up with the idea and the name of the business in the middle of the night! Experience of working with Fairtrade and ethical supply chains had led to the belief that a more transparent model was required and she woke up with a clear view of what that model would be – clothing that allowed the customer to trace the garments journey themselves!
Founder/CEO – Jo Salter: Full time, experienced ethical business entrepreneur.
Other roles undertaken on contract basis – photographer, website development, PR
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]
Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]
Brand Representative, Designer, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager.
Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]
Children, Consumers, Retailers - Specialty Store.
Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.
Standards, Other, [please specify].
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?
Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.
Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?
Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?
If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?
● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?
Generally through our blog, which outlines our thoughts on consumer issues and ethical business; Other high level publications
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?
Moral Fibre Fabrics is currently our main supplying partner. We're member of Ethical Fashion Forum: knowledge sharing,networking