Can Kids Swimwear Be Ethical?
Can kids swimwear be ethical?
So much of the clothing we buy today is cheap, which begs the question… is it ethically made?
I’ve worked with many large clothing brands over the last 25 years and seen the challenges in their supply chains first-hand. Many sectors (not just clothing) have the enormous task of ensuring the thousands of workers in their supply chains are treated well, get appropriate breaks and decent pay.
There are some good retailers out there trying to make a difference and investing in their supply chains, but others don’t make this investment. In these cases, there is often an internal battle being waged between sales, marketing and production which can get in the way of change.
The hidden issues
Many clothing brands have good intentions and think that their products are ethical, but this isn’t always the case.
A retailer may suggest their products are made sustainably, but what does sustainably or ethically made really mean?
Many retailers operate within long extended supply chains with many different 3rd parties operating within that chain. It is a challenge for the retailer to have visibility of their whole supply chain while taking some level of responsibility for what goes on in it. It is not impossible to track your supply chain and make it visible, but it is costly and time consuming which is why some brands/retailers don't do it. In these circumstances it is extremely difficult to understand or get to the truth, as data collection has not been carried out, Monitoring of the supplychain has not been undertaken, particularly if it appears to add no value to the end product, and costs are challenged as the consumer does not want to pay for the additional cost.
Transparency, robust systems and regular monitoring are vital for any ethical business.
Playing the long game
Many businesses are reticent to invest in sustainability and ethics as it’s difficult to show a return on investment. It’s seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than something that needs to be implemented as part of business as usual.
Sustainability is all about the long-game, and it can take many years before fruits of your labour can be recognised. And it may only be recognised as an industry movement rather than at an individual brand or retailer level. Not everyone has the foresight or the long-term investment plans to make this financial commitment, and yet it is essential for us all, and our extended communities.
Sadly the economic influence trumps the sustainability card almost every time, the financial quick wins/ the annual bonus, the profit margins are labelled as key for the business to survive without it sustainability would not have a voice.
However incorporating ethics and sustainability within the business decision embedding it from the beginning of the buying process is perhaps the only way the collective clothing retail industry will survive in the decades to come. It's about slowing down the deterioration of the planet and protecting it for everyone.
If we only think about the financial returns today we are not looking at the longevity of our decisions for tomorrow.
Two simple ways you can make a difference
It’s a challenge to buy sustainably, especially today when it’s so easy to order ‘fast fashion’ online.
If you are looking to make a change, here are two easy ways you can get started.
- Buy less clothing
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t need as many clothes as we think we do.
Sometimes shopping makes us feel good and gives us a buzz. If this is the case, why not try charity shops or nostalgic clothing shops that re-sell designer clothing? You can bring your old clean clothes in and donate them at the same time!
- Reach out to retailers
If you want to know more about the supply chain that specific retailers may use, all you need to do is send them an email or drop them a tweet and ask.
Questions you can ask include:
- Who made the clothes?
- How much were the people who made the clothes paid?
- How many hours a week are they made to work and is this voluntary?
- What are working conditions like, and do you have any evidence (for example, photos)?
Our stance on sustainable kids swimwear
Here at Jody and Lara, I am very open about how our range of eco-friendly swimwear for boys and girl is designed and made.
Everything in our collection has been made through one factory in China to the highest ethical credentials. The raw material used to create the polyester is post-consumer waste like single-use plastic bottles collected from recycling bins.
Yes its more costly to buy the recycled UPF50+ swimwear fabric and yes its more costly to have the swimwear made in an ethical factory. But I couldn't do this business by knowingly exploiting people or our planet. I would rather pack it in.
If you want to know more about our range, from the fabric used to how it is manufactured, please check out for more information on " About us" on this website or visit my Facebook page and ask any further questions you may have!