Fashion without transparency –

Most major fashion brands in Brazil refuse to disclose supplier data. The analysis shows that 38 of the 60 largest Brazilian companies in the textile sector are not transparent about working conditions throughout their production; the resistance of shopkeepers paves the way for labor and socio-environmental violations.

How can you be sure the clothes you wear weren’t sewn by slaves? How do you make sure whoever sewed the button or zipper on your blouse isn’t exploited? One of the main ways to ensure fair working conditions in the textile sector would be the transparency of companies with their suppliers.

However, there is great resistance, even from the big brands, in revealing this data. This is what is clear in Fashion Transparency Index Brazil 2022 , published recently, whose analysis showed that more than half of the biggest fashion brands in Brazil do not disclose information about who their suppliers are, neither at the beginning nor in the final phase of production. The index, produced by the Fashion Revolution Institute, classifies companies according to the volume of information available on policies, practices and socio-environmental impacts.

60 fashion companies analyzed

Among the 60 companies analyzed, 38 do not inform consumers about issues such as the origin of the raw material used, who produced the clothing, in addition to other data related to the so-called traceability of the textile sector.

The analysis divided providers into three tiers. The first includes the facilities with which the brands have a direct relationship and which normally carry out the cutting, sewing and final finishing of the products. At the next level are the facilities that deal with processes such as dyeing, washing, embroidering, printing, weaving and fabric finishing. The last tier includes suppliers of raw materials for the brand’s products, such as fibers, leather, rubber, dyes and metals, etc. For example, in the case of cotton fabrics, the researchers sought information on the farm where the input was harvested.

Fashion Animale and the lack of transparency

Among the 38 brands that do not reveal the level of suppliers is Animale, which in 2017 was caught using slave labor. According to application information free fashion, ten Bolivians were found producing clothes in three workshops of Grupo Soma, which controls the brand. The immigrants worked more than 12 hours a day in precarious conditions in São Paulo, earning an average of R$ 5 to sew pieces by Animale and another brand of the group, A. Brand, which sold 120 times more.

Animale’s decision, where there are clothes valued at more than R$4,000, not to disclose data from its suppliers contrasts with what the company preaches on its own website: “only with long-term relationships, based on transparency and trust, it is possible to act ethically, responsibly and fairly throughout our chain. Therefore, we work to make the best market practices a reality.”.

In response to the question, Grupo Soma said that the slave labor assessment was related to an indirect provider. “This is an unacceptable practice on our network. Therefore, we immediately take the necessary corrective measures.”. And he states that he understands transparency as fundamental in the relationship with clients and other interest groups. “For this reason, we publish our Annual Report, describing our trajectory, achievements and challenges, in addition to responding, since the first edition, to the Fashion Transparency Index and, since last year, to the Stock Exchange’s Corporate Sustainability Index – ISE B3”.

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Brooksfield and I work 12 hour days

As at Animale, buyers at Brooksfield brand stores also have no way of knowing who sewed, for example, the R$500 shirts sold in their stores. This is because the company also does not disclose data about its suppliers, according to a survey by Fashion Revolution Brasil.

Brooksfield was caught doing slave labor in 2016, when five Bolivian women were rescued from a workshop on the outskirts of São Paulo that sewed for Brooksfield Donna, the Via Veneto group’s luxury women’s brand. Victims worked at least 12 hours a day, seven days a week and lived in the workplace.

In a statement, Brooksfield said that “always firm in supporting the fight against work analogous to slavery”. With the case, the company is on the “dirty list” of slave labor, a federal government register with the names of the companies responsible for the crime. Even so, he denies any responsibility for the condition of the rescued workers: “The Labor Court itself and the Public Ministry of Labor have already recognized that the workers inspected by the Ministry of Labor were employees of the MDS Garment Company – which already reveals that there was no slave labor at the Brooksfield company”.

Other fashion companies hiding in silence

In addition to Animale and Brooksfield, another 36 major brands also do not disclose data on the supply chain of their spare parts, which can be found at the complete survey . This year, the Transparency Index incorporated ten new brands, of which only two present some level of supplier category: Amaro and Reserva.

For Isabella Luglio, educational coordinator at Fashion Revolution Brazil, the fashion value chain is complex, fragmented and opaque, but that does not exempt brands from their responsibility to monitor them, identify risks and violations of human rights and the environment. solving them. “The lack of visibility on these issues opens gaps for degrading working conditions and environmental damage.”.

The survey also brings up 18 brands that disclose information at one or two levels of suppliers. Despite considering it an important first step, Luglio says that it is still not enough, as consumers increasingly seek more transparency.

Only 4 brands are fully transparent about the offer in the production of their pieces – the same as in the 2021 survey – and disclose from level 1 to raw materials: C&A, Havaianas, Melissa and Ipanema.

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