Ethics at Dress Fabrics
I have contacted my main suppliers in relation to the working condition of the workers where the fabrics are manufacturing.
‘We physically visit the factories where we buy several times per year (this year it was not possible due to COVID-19), and we can guarantee you that the working conditions are very good and no slave labour used. We do not have a list with manufacturers, as we are buying mainly from traders but our buying department does visit the factories to check these matters.’
‘GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is a quality mark for organic cotton. GOTS fabrics are better for people and the environment. The fabrics are produced without the use of genetically modified seeds, harmful pesticides or colourants. There is no forced labour or child labour along the production chain.’
We support the Black Lives Matter Movement and we will endeavor to support and promote black makers in Ireland in particular. I have contacted my local TD’s about abolishing Direct Provision ( though our new government are making moves in that direction so fingers crossed). I will keep informing myself and my family on all issues in this regard. I will share social Media posts of Black makers (Black Makers Matter) is an incredible resource. If any of my customers can help point us in the right direction in how we can improve and help support black sewists in Ireland please send me an email.
I will keep updating this section. We are just starting on this journey.
I found this article on https://spunout.ie/news/article/black-lives-matter-ireland
Fighting racism in Ireland
In addition to supporting protesters in the US, take time to learn about the organisations fighting racism in Ireland too. There are many causes you can get behind, including calling for an end to Direct Provision, Ireland’s system for housing asylum seekers.
Here are some organisations you can support:
- Irish Network Against Racism
- Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland
- Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
- Irish Refugee Council
- Black Pride Ireland
- Irish Council for Civil Liberties
- Cairde – Challenging ethnic minority health inequalities
How Green are we at Dress Fabrics?
My previous job was in environmental and ecological consulting. I have a degree in Botany and a post grad diploma in environmental protection. I assess everything I do, purchase and dispose of and its impact on the environment and have done so as long as I can remember. I am far from perfect and do not hold myself up as any kind of green hero but I do my best.
I currently use a courier as the main delivery service – this saves me a daily 20km round trip to the nearest post office. Small post (envelopes) is dropped off in the local post box (walk or cycle away unless its pouring down or blowing a gale). Large items for the post office are sent when on food shopping trips.
I reuse or recycle where possible all waste packaging that comes with running a fabric shop. Some of it can’t be recycled and has to go in the general waste.
Packaging – our mailing bags are sourced from www.mailingbags.ie and are all either recyclable or bio-degradable. Some are marked as recyclable but most of them have no markings. I would ask our customers to reuse the bags if possible before putting them in the recycling.
This year I started using scraps of fabric to tie up the bundles of fabric, therefore the only packaging our customer gets when making an order is the mailing bag, a scrap of fabric and thank you card (printed on recyclable paper). The tapes I use are normally paper tapes which can be recycled as paper. I try to use recycled sticky labels to print the courier labels.
I get most of my packaging and stationary supplies from Klee Paper.
I purchase the majority of my fabrics online from suppliers in Europe. I don’t visit these suppliers except when visiting my in-laws on mainland Europe and that’s not very often. Less so probably from now on.
I source as much Oeko-tex fabric as possible and recently have moved towards organic fabrics where its available. The good news is that since I started the shop 5 years ago these certifications are becoming more main stream and easier to find in most of our suppliers.
Oeko-Tex ® pursues a strict policy against harmful substances in textiles. As we meet their strict standards and quality requirements, you can be assured that your fabrics do no contain any harmful substances. The result is a product that is kind to skin and your health.
GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is a quality mark for organic cotton. GOTS fabrics are better for people and the environment. The fabrics are produced without the use of genetically modified seeds, harmful pesticides or colourants. There is no forced labour or child labour along the production chain.
Other fabrics we are stocking that claim to have improved eco-credentials in the manufacturing processes are modal/tencel/lyocell.
We also sell Ex-designer remnants. These are essentially waste from the fashion industry – we are able to buy these and sell them to our customers for a bargain compared to the full price and divert them from going into landfill.