Apparel Mission Statement
The food we consume, the goods that we buy at the grocery store and the clothes that we wear on the body are in most cases produced with the prospect of maximum profit as cheaply as possible in order to remain competitive in the global capitalist competition. That this principle is at the expense of the working and producing people and the environment as a whole, is well known. The clothing industry is one of the largest global production sectors in this game, exploitation of people, environment and natural resources for the production of cheaper goods are everyday business here.
When a t-shirt reaches the retail, it has often already had a world journey behind it, the raw material (cotton) is used for spinning, from there for dyeing and then transported to the sewing room. In this chain, each intermediate step of the production can be carried out in completely different (low-wage) countries before it goes on sale in Europe. It is therefore important to pay attention to “fair” wages and working conditions and to reduce CO2 emissions due to shorter transport routes.
While the working conditions of people represent one side of the production chain, also the raw material and the use of chemicals in the clothing industry is extremely high. Cotton products usually need about 10,000 liters of water per kilo in manufacturing (http://www.waterfootprint.org) and in the cotton fields enormous amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used. Here we need to ensure that our products are produced biologically compatible and resource-saving.
We have therefore decided, if possible, to use T-Shirts and other clothing of manufacturers which comply with certain minimum standards, such as “Earth Positive” (http://www.earthpositive.se/about.html). EarthPositive is certified under the “Global Organic Textile Standard” (GOTS, http://www.global-standard.org), member of the British “Soil Association” (http://www.soilassociation.org) and tested by the “Fair Wear Foundation” (FWF, http://www.fairwear.nl). The criteria of the FWF are: limitation of working hours, free choice of employment, no exploitative child labor, no discrimination in employment, legally binding employment, safe and healthy working conditions, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining as well as payment of a good living wage.
Certainly there are ways to get even better T-shirts, for example, from collective farms in South America. However, at this point we reach a limit that is related with you and us as buyers: Our goal is to provide not only good-looking and high-quality clothing – it should be affordable, and at the same time cover our expenses. We know that many people simply can not afford expensive brands, on the other hand we as Europeans live in one of the richest and most expensive regions in the world. As a compromise, we think that a T-shirt on sale may and has to cost something between 15 and 20 euros in order to ensure that certain standards are maintained, (almost) everyone can afford it and we as a collective can pay our expenses.
Similarly with products such as raincoats, track jackets, etc .: A lot of what Fire and Flames produced earlier, we would not do so today. We are currently looking for manufacturers and sewing factories, where we can check both working conditions and origin of raw materials more or less directly and have the shortest possible transport routes. The goal is to produce quality jackets in the future , with a fair and organic production chain behind it.
Where possible, we work together with movement-related companies and collectives. Most of our prints are made from Splashirts (http://www.splashirts.de/), a small company from Wuppertal with a nice crew, which has long been on the road in the Punk / HC scene. We are also working together with the very likable No Collar Silkscreen collective from Kiel (https://www.facebook.com/nocollarsiebdruck). In cases where we cooperate with “normal” companies, we place great emphasis on working conditions and in doubt we’ll inform ourselves about working hours, overtime pay, wages, etc.. Much of our embroidered materials are made directly by a Kiel-based company.
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