By keeping it small and simple, our supply chain is small too, which means we can better ensure that the people making our swimwear remain safe, happy and fairly paid. We do this with regular audits and by requiring certifications from the suppliers we work with.
When we began sourcing recycled fabric in early 2017, there wasn't many options available for this non-conventional fabric. China is one of the biggest recyclers in the world and when we found an amazing quality fabric made from plastic waste, it made sense to keep full production there. Fast forward to today and we're really happy with the positive relationship we have built with our suppliers over the past few years.
Our Supply Chain
We have two main suppliers - we don't own the factories we work with and make up only a slice of their full production output. Our first supplier is the company who creates our recycled fabric. They hold a GRS certification which uses tracking and tracing to monitor the full supply chain. This also verifies the recycled contents in the fabric whilst ensuring responsible social, environmental and chemical practices. The GRS addresses the full supply chain from beginning to end: sourcing and collection of waste, handling, storage, shipping, recycling, manufacturing and final sale. Final sale is when it gets sent to our second supplier. Our second supplier is where our swimwear is made. Here the fabric is cut, printed, sewn and finished, before being boxed and sent directly to us in the UK. Audits ensure the factory is consistently in full compliance with the BSCI Code Of Conduct which addresses everything from; workers rights, pay, working hours, health and safety, child labour, bonded/slave labour, discrimination, ethical business practice and environmental protection. These audits are always announced and openly discussed with the factory. If areas of dissatisfaction are found, then plans are put in place and follow-ups are made to asses the improvements throughout the year. It's important to educate and empower not only the factory owners and managers, but the entire workforce who are interviewed to ensure they are always aware of their full rights. The factory employs 51 staff (all Chinese nationals), all on a permanent basis, with both men and women in management positions. There are no employees under the age of 21 years and health and safety training is provided to everyone, along with a safe and clean working environment. All employees are aware of their rights of freedom and collective bargaining and there is no bonded or precarious labour, no child labour or discrimination. Currently more than half of the workforce are provided with pension, unemployment, medical and maternity, however the long-term goal is for all employees to receive these benefits and plans and follow-up audits are in place to reach this. All employees are paid at least 30% more than the local minimum wage. Normal working hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 18:00 with lunch from 12:00 to 13:30. Weekends are days off, however employees receive 150% pay for any overtime during weekdays and 200% for Saturdays. There is no work on Sundays or public holidays and there is no more than 6 consecutive working days at any time. Employees also receive holiday pay and annual leave.
Our entire supply chain is fully compliant with environmental protection laws, taking necessary measures to avoid environmental degradation. Our fabric supplier is ahead of the game in terms of green innovation, with a long-term goal of zero-waste production. They are now one of the world leaders in the manufacturing of recycled textiles and in a position that's enabling them to invest heavily in solar energy, water-saving technologies and air pollution prevention. We specifically digital print our swimwear as it allows for precision, which means the exact amount of ink is used for each swimsuit. This method of printing is particularly ideal for small-scale manufacturing, it uses less energy and water, producing less waste overall. By producing our swimwear in small runs, it also ensures that we never over-produce. Over-producing means supply outweighs demand - in the fashion industry this can result in masses of unsold, unworn clothing either being incinerated or sent to landfill. Not only is this a huge waste physically, but it undermines the entire supply chain and energy used to make it. Every piece of clothing has a carbon footprint, so essentially the more we love, wear and care that piece of clothing, the less wasteful it becomes. For more information about our carbon footprint, you can read our latest carbon statement here (scroll to the bottom).
*Last updated August 2019.