Fair trade consumer goods are becoming more and more commonplace, and companies that manufacture and sell fair-trade produce are popping up all the time. One of the more successful start ups is an Australian garment brand called Rana Clothing, not to be confused with the horrific Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh last year which killer 1138 garment manufacture workers – a stark reminder of the brutally high cost of the clothes that casually wear every day.
Rana Clothing is an up and coming Australian ‘sweatshop-free’ fashion label that works with suppliers and manufacturers in South-East Asia (particularly in Sri Lanka), with a mission to provide ethical and eco-friendly fashion for women. It will be rolled out as an online platform selling clothes from around the world, suitable both for work and for play.
The creators of this initiative, Rebecca & Angie, are passionate about the fashion industry, but also about sustainable business in developing countries, which has influenced their decision to put a high premium on transparency; as they note in the video above, this can be a difficult mandate on which to gain trade partners in developing nations.
So what does fair-trade garment manufacture really mean? Simply put, it means allowing garment manufacturers to earn an acceptable wage, have dignity, self determination and freedom. Rebecca and Angie are focused on this model, and so are planning on becoming a B Corporation (ethical trade provider) so as to benefit their customers and the wider global community.
Rana Clothing is currently crowdfunding to get some of their projects off the ground. the target amount of AUD $30,000 will go to assist in production, packaging and delivery as well as certifying Rana as a B Corp – all of which will help them get their brand running out the door and into our homes. Local brands need community support, especially those that are setting an example for the rest of us and creating a sustainable business model that has resounding benefits for workers in neighbouring developing countries. According to Oxfam, nearly 75% of the world’s garments are made in developing countries (50% in China, 17% in India, and the remainder across Asia and Central America). With clothing manufacturing valued at over USD $1 trillion per annum and garment workers en masse seeing between 0.5-4% of that, it is important that projects like Rana Clothing continue to make a splash. Sustainable fashion is a growing industry, and with the right promotion, support and hard work Rana will become a great Australian story.