Who Made My Clothes?
How many times have you asked yourself who was behind the production of the clothes you wear? Truth is, many of us as consumers ask ourselves who manufactured our clothes and how they were made but don’t get the visibility on it. In addition, the reflection among some consumers to question the story behind a garment is sometimes not yet initiated. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not blaming anyone.
Industrialization and mass production in the clothing industry has set up consumption habits that do not allow visibility on production. Often, companies want to sell, regardless of the quality and ethics in the workplace. This means, in many cases, workers who work in conditions that are unethical, textiles that are harmful to the environment in their production, cultivation and short life as well as the ease of carrying out production elsewhere in the world rather than encouraging the local economy.
Mapping the Truth
Let’s give you quick visibility on the supply chain behind your clothes. First of all, what is a supply chain (sometimes simply called “the chain”)? We’re starting to hear this term more and more in various industries. A supply chain encompasses all the steps involved in the production and delivery of something, be it clothing, food and beverage, pharmaceutical product, medical devices, anything! Now, one of the problems, whatever the product we are consuming, is that we are not aware of the background of these things.
At Grise, it is imperative to give you as much transparency in our processes as possible. That’s why we decided to map the reasons why we consider our clothes being ethical, sustainable and better for the environment.
This graphic shows some distinctive elements in the clothing production process at Grise. First, each step of our process is marked by a heart-shaped icon which expresses the ethical value taken into account. In addition, having local business partners, all transport necessary for the production of clothing is carried out by car or truck and not by plane, which is significantly less harmful to the environment. We have the opportunity to work with a partner, Productions RN, which carries out all stages of the production of clothing which is rarely found elsewhere in Quebec, Canada and the world. This considerably reduces the complexity of our chain supply. Then, our partners being local, the lead times of the complete production chain are much shorter than if we had external partners.
Ethics Above All
When it came time to select our business partners for the manufacture of our clothes, ethics was a primary criterion. The aesthetics and comfort of our quality products was just as important to us, but we would not have been proud to share and sell our products if we were aware of the poor quality of the working conditions of our workers. In addition, it was clear to us that encouraging the local economy should be of primary importance.
Having these criteria in mind, we selected Productions RN for the design, product development and conception of our clothing. The choice of our partner was not based on the amount of a quote, but on the quality of the employer. We fell in love with a Quebec company dedicated to the evolution of the fashion industry in an ethical and eco-responsible manner. Productions RN offers competitive working conditions, a healthy environment that promotes the values of thoroughness on each garment beyond speed of execution. When buying a Grise piece of clothing you encourage not only ethical companies that take part of our supply chain but you also foster change for good in the clothing industry.
We interviewed Noemi Harvey, co-founder of Productions RN, to have a glimpse of the values of our main business partner.
Why Productions RN? What initiated the company’s idea?
After many years in the industrie, we decided to launch Productions RN for two essential reasons: the first one being a healthy workplace, great career opportunities for seamstresses, designers and all fashion workers and the second being to offer companies and future businesses a reliable and flexible partner for their product’s production. Quickly after launching the company in 2019, we realised that out values and our vision strengthened to offer an all-in-one solution of product development and production while focusing on ethics and eco-responsibility.
What is your definition of ethical at Productions RN?
Ethics at Productions RN are our raison d’être. We focus on the well-being of our employees in a positive, no-stress, no pressure workplace environment with an open and understanding management culture. The goal is not to produce as fast as possible for the cheapest price possible and in mass production, but instead to create less and better so that all the workers of the supply chain are treated and paid at their worth. At Productions RN, we do not offer the cheapest price regardless of the work conditions of our team. We offer a fair price so that our clients have quality products while creating quality jobs.
How Productions RN distinguishes itself from other clothing manufacturers?
We are one of the only company in Quebec that offers a full assistance from the beginning of the design through the conception to the end of the production process. What mostly distinguishes us is our team, our human side that shows through our customer service and the way we treat our employees. The company is managed by three young women with high ambitions who want to change their industrie for the better. This vision brings us to be completely different from other clothing manufacturers in Quebec and the whole world.
Can you describe the production process in your company?
At Productions RN, the conception process that we call product development is well built and solid because it is an essential part of launching a fashion brand. It’s a very collaborative step where the client is involved at each steps to bring to life what he has in mind. We’re talking about creating rough sketches, technical sketches, patterns, prototypes, gradation and technical sheets. The development is the baseline of the product, it is therefore a process that can last for weeks or even months which represents a significant financial investment. Upstream, there is the textile search, the branding and business model creation, the marketing strategy and more. The benefit of working with a team like ours is that you are surrounded by competent and qualified people which lets our client start their business on solid grounds and create products in the rules of art.
Cover image: Production RN
Visualisation: Grise Loungewear