Ethical Sourcing and Christmas 2014 23 June 2015, 0 Comments
Christmas is for Sharing
The children are all so excited as Christmas will be soon upon us, the trees are being decorated and look resplendent in shop windows, there is a feeling of joy and happiness all around us. I love the window displays in David Jones in Sydney, Harrods in London, or the lights in Bond Street and Oxford Street in London, that wintry happy, busy feeling and the cracking energy of New York.
"I love Henry Bendel and Christmas in New York is such a special time for children, I have spent many a happy Christmas there. As a family the East Coast has special memories and as a child my husband Ed remembers his time in Maryland with his grandparents and the ritual EggNog, it was quite potent! We would love to introduce our girls to the American traditions and festivities". Dimity Bourke
We love seeing our girls so excited about seeing their friends and family, maybe meeting Santa, and in anticipation of what is under the tree or in a stocking. In some countries there will be snow and in others a trip to the beach. We have family in both the cold North and hot South but for us this year it will be back to Sydney to the beach to be with friends and family. Next year we have promised the girls some snow. I guess that at least when it comes to girls clothes they have an endless supply.
For a girls apparel wholesaler like us this time of year is so important for us and all of our customers especially our retailers, they rely on the Christmas trade from Thanksgiving, through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to Christmas and the New Year sales. A poor season can make or break an independent boutique or even a department store, especially with online sales becoming increasingly dominant.
In some ways it is strange, in a funny sort of way, to think of what we as a girls wear brand are doing in our fashion business right now in December when everyone else is thinking about the festivities, or celebrations and ceremonies. Different religions, cultures and people across our planet celebrate in different ways. Here the Balinese ceremony of Galungan is about to be celebrated, where the spirits of deceased relatives return to their families and their families show respect and deference to them offering them hospitality.
Our Autumn Winter 2015 sampling has now finished, we are very excited about it but you will have to wait though here is an inside preview of a our girls pixie skirt (bottom), girls Japanese Fan dress (top) and our girls faux fur shawl (middle)
We will be leaving for the kidswear trade shows in USA and Europe in early January. Design and range planning has started in earnest for our Spring Summer 2016 collection which will not land in children’s wear stores in the Northern Hemisphere until February 2016 and In Australia until July 2016, a whole 18 months away. So here we are designing a Summer girls wear collection in mid December for our retail customers who are wrapped up in their thickest winter children's clothes. Having said that here is a beautiful picture of uber talented model Angelina, wearing her Dimity Bourke black cotton silk swing top in December in New York while rehearsing for the Ebola Benefit dinner in Central park, it was a timeless piece from our SS 14 collection.
At this busy time of year we believe that it is especially important for our girls to also remember that it is a time to give back and think of those less fortunate. We love that their school is always thinking of others and this week we have been shopping for pencils, paints, drawing books, shampoo and toiletries for the local children’s charity where the basics that most of us rely on, are in themselves a gift for others. After the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines this time last year we donated over 300 styles of girls clothes to the Salvation Army to provide hopefully some relief to the children who lost everything.
As we think about those children who need more help than others it is also important to us that we practice ethical sourcing.
Anyone who reads the news, whether online or offline, or watches tv has seen the awful stories of the garment factories in Bangladesh and Pakistan which are poorly run and maintained but are often supported by the giants of the retail world. Previously it was the sweat shops in South America and China that were written about. Nike was the target for many years.
As parents and also as a new business to fashion and the apparel industry we are acutely conscious of our obligations and responsibilities both to the planet as a whole and more importantly to the children who are often employed in these factories, they are our future.
As a designer fashion business we provide you with the highest possible quality in all aspects of our business, from ethically sourcing of our raw materials, using organic and natural textiles and elements where we can, to ensuring that all of our suppliers around the world offer safe work places and respect the environment that they work in.
We are global in our mindset, and have the ultimate respect for the world we live in - the only one we’ve got.
We encourage gratitude and respect in all departments; our design head quarters, production house, our retailers, and importantly right from the source - our textile and accessories suppliers. All in all this leads to positive global thinking, educated staff, conscious parents and best of all; young girls curious about the world we live in.
We aim to reflect this gracious approach in our beautiful girls kids wear collections.
To add to our global authenticity, we source our materials from all over the world focusing on artisan and locally made materials where we can especially fabrics, trims, beads and workmanship. Our leather ballet children’s shoes are hand made in Bali, Indonesia which is famous for its superb artisan skills. Of course this is sadly not sustainable for very large orders as it just takes too much time but we aspire to maintain a significant percentage made locally.
Our beautifully leather comes from India which supplies much of the worlds leather. We are lucky that our factory has an office in Sydney so we are able to forge a deeper relationship with them. Dimity works closely with leather experts in the region known for its extreme high quality and soft buttery finish.
In India, embroidery is also an art form. We love visiting to India and meeting our suppliers, visiting the factories. We do not manufacture in India every season as it is style and factory specific for us. Mumbai is the luxury fashion hub of India where many designers are based. Dimity has always been drawn to the natural flair and hand detailed perfection that embroidery can add to a garment, its exquisite detail and finishing. We have spent many hours watching these skilled people at work.
Like many brands we work closely with factories in South China and have developed close relationships. Our digital printing is made just outside Shanghai by experts whom specialize in silk and cotton. Their finishing is amazing and the vibrancy of, and detail in, the color is eye catching.
At the moment we divide our production between specialist craftsmen in Southern China, India and beautiful Indonesia. Accessing factories in India and Indonesia is easier and in Indonesia we see our factories at work every week. The standards are high and there are no children. In fact some of the higher end factories provide a school, dining facilities and crèche for the workers children, we love that and one even has an organic vegetable garden. They are clean, safe and well run businesses.
We take children's safety very seriously and apply the highest standards wherever they are in the world, especially ensuring that we are always CPSIA compliant for the US markets. We are registered with CPSC and issue product safety certificates. As a business we apply the highest global standards regardless for where we work or who we sell to.
At the heart of our Dimity Bourke label is the ideal to encourage people to feel great. This mission applies not only to our gorgeous customers and associates, but also to our skilled artisans who make our beautiful products.
What is Ethical Sourcing?
Ethical sourcing is a commitment to the purchase of goods and services that are manufactured and provided in a way that does not involve exploitation, or represent a danger to health, safety or the environment.
Ethical sourcing means ensuring that the products being sourced are created in safe premises by craftsmen who are treated well and paid fair wages to work legal hours. It also implies that the supplier is respecting the environment during the production and manufacture of the products.
This is a topic we take very seriously. We go to great lengths to ensure Dimity Bourke textiles and hardware are ethically sourced and made. Key details that we take into consideration when sourcing and working with involved parties include;
- Are "values-driven," as well as profit-driven.
- Are socially and environmentally responsible in the way we source, manufacture, and market our products.
- Are committed to innovative practices that benefit workers, communities, customers, and the environment.
This includes treating everyone with care, respect and fairness. We also require our suppliers and business partners to share our ways of working and seek their commitment to an ethical approach, alongside ours. We share in the responsibility to provide a better planet to work in.
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. –Mother Teresa