The call for the fashion industry to become more ethical has been ongoing for several decades, it gained significant momentum in the early 2000s. This movement was largely spurred by increasing awareness of the industry's detrimental impact on both people and the planet. When I started Sitting Pretty 14 years ago, I had no idea what sustainable or ethical fashion even meant. As I became more aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry and how it did not align with my own values, I set out to make a change and only source natural and environmentally friendly fibres.
Incidents like the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, which killed over a thousand workers, brought global attention to these issues. Growing environmental awareness highlighted the fashion industry's role in pollution, water wastage, and overconsumption. Disclosures about the significant carbon footprint of the industry led to calls for more sustainable practices.
We pay all of our staff and the small factories we use within Cape Town fair wages, we assure safe working conditions, and we do not require them to work overtime. This ensures the well-being and dignity of all individuals involved in the supply chain. In some garment factories in countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, or Vietnam, there has been reports that workers experience excessively long shifts, sometimes extending beyond 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week. This is often due to tight production deadlines imposed by brands seeking fast turnaround times for their clothing lines. We believe in the slow fashion model. We have two collections per year which gives our teams ample time to complete our styles.
We are committed to our people. Our people are the backbone of this business and without them we are nothing. Our small team is treated with care and respect and receive fair wages that are above industry standard. We have a small studio and also work with small factories, some of whom we have been with for 14 years. Prices of garments are discussed beforehand. If issues arise that are no fault of the factory themselves, we are open to negotiating a higher price. We believe in open and honest communication and respect, quality and care are understood and prioritise over demand, speed and deadlines.
Unethical practices in fashion contribute to pollution, waste, and resource depletion. Ethical production emphasizes sustainable materials, eco-friendly processes, and reduced carbon footprints.
You can read more about our commitment to the environment here. We try to have as little impact as possible, and we strive to continuously lower our impact on the environment.