Which NZ design brands evaluated best in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report?

Four New Zealand fashion labels are demonstrating clothing manufacturing and ethics can go hand in hand.

Kowtow, Icebreaker, Liminal, and Freeset received A grades for their ethical manufacturing practices, in the 2019 Ethical Fashion Report and Guide released today by Tearfund.

The report grades fashion companies around the world on their efforts to address worker exploitation in the factories that produce their clothes.

Almost 30 New Zealand companies featured in the report with AS Colour, Kathmandu and Nature Baby also receiving high grades.

Companies are assessed at three critical stages of the supply chain – raw materials, inputs production, and final stage production.

In the past year, 38% of companies improved their overall grade, including The Warehouse, Ruby, and K&K. Farmers’ score fell, to an F. Overseas brands with stores here, like H&M, Gorman and Lululemon scored between B and A. Some prominent Kiwi brands chose not to participate in the survey for the report, so researchers assessed them on publicly available information.

Kate Sylvester has put resources into a fashion industry collective instead, co-founding Mindful Fashion, “To support the local garment industry and create benchmarks for ethical clothing production in New Zealand”.

Tearfund noted the high number of New Zealand companies that received low grades and emphasised that more and more consumers want to know how their clothing is made.

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