Apparel Industry Needs More Transparency

By Lawrence Roman
Director of Marketing
Apparel Production, Inc.
New York, N.Y.

Lawrence Roman 
Substandard Conditions?

As I write this article about quality cotton, I’m thinking of this past week. While Pitti Uomo showed menswear in Florence, Italy, the Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show sure made a splash with the latest in technology. It makes me think of the constant and rapid changes in both industries. Every year we see something new. It seems as if technology is catching up to fashion by releasing new products every six months.

While these products are showcased in pristine places, the production of these same products – sometimes and especially in the apparel sector – are produced in conditions that are subpar to any United States standards. Do you know where your clothes are made? More than 1,300 deaths occurred in factories during the past 24 months. In Cambodia, four garment workers were killed recently by police during a labor strike for better pay. Hardly anyone knows that forced child labor in the cotton industry occurs in places outside of the United States.

More Awareness Needed

These astonishing scenarios are happening right now, and most consumers are not aware of the situation. And, if they are aware, there isn’t much they can do because major retailers are not offering sustainable choices. At least in the United Kingdom, both Marks & Spencer and John Lewis have offered merchandise for years that is made locally, essentially allocating space for product manufactured by local businesses.

So, as a customer, when I am asked what customers want, my response is more sustainable products. I want a product that I know was made with great fabrics and produced in an ethical and sustainable way. This is the reason why I think so highly of Bayer CropScience’s e3 sustainable cotton program. Here is a cotton program that is socially, environmentally and responsibly grown but is also transparent and allows buyers to identify the farm where the cotton was produced.

Now we need major retailers to offer more locally made products so a more sustainable lifestyle can become mainstream. As a customer, I like this level of information. For more details, go to http://www.pinterest.com/pin/12877548908310495/.

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From Fabric to Fiber

• Where and how were garments made?
• More consumer awareness needed.
• New approach benefits local economy.
• Buyers deserve transparency.
• Main goal – true sustainability.

“I want a product that I know was made with
great fabrics and produced in an ethical and
sustainable way..”
– Lawrence Roman

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