If you havenâ€™t heard, most of the clothing we buy carries a shocking backstory. From the poisonous pesticides used to grow cotton to the inhumane working conditions of many factory workers. Finding out the answer to â€˜who made my clothes?â€™ can be as complex as it is heartbreaking.
But now thereâ€™s an app that can help you discover the story (good or bad) behind your favourite brands. It can help you find new brands that match your ethical and practical needs Â and even allow Â you to open a dialogue with the companies behind the brands.
The Good On You app has been developed by a team of entrepreneurs, consumer experts and all-round passionate human-beings in Sydney who believe that we as consumers have a right to know how the companies that make our clothes treat people, the planet and animals.
â€œWe do the hard work for you,â€ says CEO and co-founder Gordon Renouf. â€œItâ€™s really difficult to find credible information on how apparel companies treat their workers, or their impact on the environment.â€
The team have spent the last year developing a rating system and applying it to nearly 1,000 brands. Ratings are based on publically available information from certification and accreditation schemes (think Fair Trade or Ethical Clothing Australia) and rankings by independent bodies like Behind the Barcodeâ€™s Australian Fashion Report. Where thereâ€™s no independent information available Good On You takes into account relevant, credible public claims by brands themselves.
Gordon says that the innovation behind Good On You is not the rating system itself but how the app brings it all together in a way that is useful to shoppers.
â€œOur focus is on the 50% of Australians who worry how their purchases might impact on issues like child labour and environmental destruction but donâ€™t know how to go about making better choices. Â The app lets them know which brands are doing better, together with the practical information they need like, similar brands, price ranges and closest retailer.â€
â€œWeâ€™ve been shocked to find how many fashion brands fail to publish any useful information about where they manufacture, the working conditions or their environmental impact,â€ explains Gordon. â€œBut itâ€™s also encouraging to see the number of Â brands that are actually improving in certain areas.
â€œTechnology has changed the way we communicate. Today we can talk to almost anyone through technology platforms. So weâ€™re using that to our advantage and encouraging customers to talk to companies.
â€œWe’re asking users to hold brands accountable for their lack of transparency, tell them youâ€™ll buy elsewhere until they improve labour conditions – or congratulate them on using organic cotton or good policies to avoid forced labour.â€
The app will also help you discover better-rated brands, and has an in-built location service so you can find stores that stock your favourite brand.
So we wanted to know, which brands are doing the best?
These pyjamas use certified organic cotton and have a personal relationship with their factories in India, ensuring fair working conditions.
This day-wear label employs communities in Bangladesh to provide fair wages and sources their materials from Fairtrade producers or uses offcuts.
Recognised as one of Australiaâ€™s most ethical brands, Etiko sells shoes, T-shirts and undies. They pay their workers a living wage and use only Fair trade materials.
The cult denim favourite makes their jeans in fair working conditions in Australia and avoids using animal products.