Video interview to Hugo Boss, Denim and Creamoda: transparency and traceability in fashion industry
At the European Development Days (EDD) 2019, Capacity4dev spoke to representatives from the fashion industry to find out what the next steps are for ethical fashion, and the challenges and opportunities that will come with them.
At the European Development Days (EDD) 2019, Capacity4dev spoke to representatives from the fashion industry to find out what the next steps are for ethical fashion, and the challenges and opportunities that will come with them. Representatives from both industrial associations and the private sector explained to us that increasing transparency and traceability will foster sustainable practices in the industry.
Heinz Zeller, Head of Sustainability and Logistics at Hugo Boss, believes that there will be two main drivers of transparency and traceability in the fashion industry: the loyalty that consumers and stakeholders build through transparency, and the introduction of laws to uphold standards around transparency.
'If you start to be transparent, you create a certain trust, and trust is loyalty,' Zeller said. 'I think that, especially in today’s times, you want to know more about [the] clothes you wear, but you [also] want to know more about the conditions in the factory, so that will completely change the way we can communicate with consumers.'
According to Zeller, from Hugo Boss, the next step in increasing transparency could be to set up a platform to jointly store and share information based on the blockchain ecosystem, which is something his company is currently looking into.
Zeller believes that one of the biggest issues in the industry is the difficulty of exchanging information that sometimes needs to be secure and is not always intended for the public.
Cali, from Candiani Denim, supports the idea of collaborating with others in the industry to align and harmonise standards. Transparency, traceability, sustainability and quality link together in many different ways.
'If we visualise an imaginary pyramid, the top of the pyramid is the transparency, then traceability, sustainability, and the base of the pyramid is quality – not only the mere quality of the product, but also the entire quality of the process: the production, the quality of work conditions and so on,' he said. 'From the point of view of the manufacturing processor, the primary focus is on the ingredients, which means the origin.'
Another interviewee, Jo Van Landeghem, from Creamoda and member of Euratex a Belgian fashion house, echoed the need for more transparency and traceability in the fashion industry.
Spearheading a new project called ‘bAwear’, Van Landeghem explained that his goal is to implement sustainable change. 'We represent a lot of small and medium enterprises who have been in competition globally with companies that claim a lot, [but] it’s very, very hard to verify those claims,' he said. 'Hence, we set up a programme. We are testing out a working method called ‘bAwear’, where we are going to see if we can substantiate all the claims that are being made, whether it’s about the environment or social labour – all those aspects of doing business and explaining why your product is better than another.'