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Transparency in the Luxury Fashion Industry

Did you know the fashion industry ranks as one of the worst industries for transparency?

Did you know that many “European,” brands manufacture their bags in Asia?

Did you know these same brands break the law by not advertising a ‘Made In,’ tag on their products?

Why does this happen? 

Because you (and I) want to buy nice products and we believe that Malaysia or Pakistan is the home of an inferior quality. But Europe is where luxury is at, right?

The Fashion Transparency Index has shown that many luxury brands fail so badly at transparency that they’re effectively lying to their consumers. This may account in part for why luxury brands lose up to 90% of their customers as repeat business.

Bleak.

The upside to this, though, is that these brands are the behemoths of the industry. Therefore they are at once fading from power (as all leaders eventually do) and are being replaced with something different - something, potentially better.

There are numerous smaller brands growing daily that are providing luxury with transparency. This is so important because, if we ignore the ethics of it completely, 94% of consumers will be loyal to a company that is fully transparent. 

So why in spite of damage to their bottom line, do luxury brands refuse to change? 

Surely, a simple tweak in approach that can bring a financial benefit would counter-act any issues such as explaining that their bags are made in Thailand but their photo shoots are in Italy, right?

My conjecture is that these brands are proud. It is simply too hard to be honest.

Now that being said, profits keep growing for the luxury companies that refuse to cater to a middle class consumer. These same luxury companies also rate the lowest on the Transparency Index. So it would seem that we as a people aren’t all that interested in value or ethics, we just want what makes us feel good, like owning a hefty price tag.

Unfortunately, this also then promotes a culture that is damaging the world. 

Nations that are producing exemplary products (for the bags themselves are well made) do not receive the honour due them. The consumer is fleeced of dollars they needn’t pay to enrich those who haven’t earned it. And the brands that behave in this predatory manner do not change because they aren’t given a good reason to - like a sharp dip in sales.

An excellent example I would point to is the fast food industry. The profitability of fast food has been hit by the onslaught of research and negative reaction to the baseless nutritional value of their food. Combining this with the emergence of healthier alternatives and taxes on sugary drinks, there is a force compelling this industry to improve.

When we allow ourselves to be deceived by not caring enough to find the truth, we give permission to any brand to continue in their bad ways.

Hence, the lack of transparency in the luxury fashion industry.

But if consumers refuse to purchase from a brand that isn't transparent, then that brand is forced to adapt or perish. And therefore the industry will be transformed. This is beautiful because it is so simple to achieve. You don't have to protest. You don't have to work hard. All you have to do is a bit of research on Google.

For our part, we want to be transparent. Our FAQs ought to clarify any element of the company - let alone our blogs. But if you feel there’s something unanswered, please leave a comment below or email us. After all, what is so special about a business that it needs to have secrets?

This reminds me of an experience I had once with a fashion designer. The designer had said that we should remove our suede lining on the interior of the bag because it was expensive. Instead, we should keep our price the same but reduce our costs to manufacture by using a cheaper lining like cotton. Then we make more money. 

I declined on the grounds that we were different. We want to provide a good quality product all the way through. Our pricing then reflects something that is the best. 

Somehow, we’ve entered a world where in business it’s a sin to do the right thing.

Bleak.

But, once again, it doesn’t have to be so. Every generation can transform the culture into whatever it wants. So, hopefully, we choose to buy different and challenge a lack of transparency in all businesses - but especially fashion.

If we don’t do this, then everything will remain the same.

And that hasn’t cost us too much as consumers, but it has cost many others a great deal. And this is the part that we can’t abide by.

If a business has to destroy life to make a profit, it ought to be considered a danger to society.

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