Traceability for Clothing
From the planting of the seed, the processing of the fabric, manufacturing, energy use and transport. This is Award-Winning Traceability - from seed to shop.
At Rapanui we believe that if we give our customers freely accessible and detailed information about where our clothing comes from, and how it is made, they will be more able to make an informed choice, and shop sustainably. So we created our traceability maps to allow customers to trace the source of the product from seed to shop.
When we developed this concept, our traceability maps were among the first to trace the product supply chain right down to the planting of the seed, the fabrics, manufacturing, energy use and transport, as well as mixing in ecolabelling and thinking about post purchase impact. Our vision is traceability from Seed to Shop. Uniquely we've made these trace maps available for every product we make.
We provide details and images right back to the people who pick the cotton in the fields, pictures inside the factory where the cotton is cut and sewn, plus the full journey from truck, to boat, to warehouse in the UK. You can even get this on your smartphone from the labels inside our clothes.
Even though we're still working on it, we are really proud of our supply chain. Traceability is a great way to open up the doors at any company. Because we feel we've got a good supply chain, we like the idea of sharing it, inviting you to have a tour around the place. The best bit is that once consumers can see exactly where our clothing comes from, how it was made and who made it they tend to shop more sustainably.
How we did it
Clothing factories will do anything for their customers business, especially for large retailers and fashion brands. We read an article once that quoted a traceability expert who said:
Could you really imagine Primark, Marks & Spencer or Topshop being told ‘No’ by any of their suppliers? That would never happen. There is almost nothing they will not do to make them happy, and so documentary proof of the origin of a garment would be produced rapidly and willingly - if requested.
We are not a company that tries to argue for right or wrong. Our duty is to make it easier for people to find out where clothing comes from, how it is made and who made it. Consumers can make their own minds up from there - until then we can't blame them for not having the right information. They don't need to be told off. They need to be shown. Sure bigger brands have more complex supply chains and have more work to do - it would definitely take more time - but they also have more resources. Our opinion? We don't see any reason why all clothing brands could not do something similar. But regardless of the rest, whilst our data continues to show consumers responding to our information, we will continue to improve traceability on products we've made in the past, that exist in the present and those that we are designing for the future.