Ethical manufacturing of children's clothes teaches values and style
The values behind clothing brands are becoming ever more discussed, both by consumers and designers. And in the fashion industry, that's particularly true for children's clothes. We all want to teach our kids the values of equality, fairness and worth. But what does it mean when the products you love might be sold for a lot but made cheaply? If products are made with that old-fashioned idea of a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, does it impact on the perceived value? Can it help us to understand more about the world, and ultimately value garments more highly? If you're buying for the younger generation, can the ethical manufacturing of children's clothes give them a greater understanding of the world? A sense that you can look good and do good at the same time. Here at Question Everything, we think it can.
Welfare and community
Our approach focuses on two elements of the ethical manufacturing of children's clothes: worker welfare and community. Inspired by founder, Angie Adams', background in the Philippines our approach starts and finishes with local people. Setting up the company, Angie was determined that her business would contribute positively to the local economy. And in particular, to the creative and hard-working people who live there.
A family approach to the ethical manufacturing of children's clothes
Treating workers well is the right thing to focus on from every standpoint. Not only is it the moral thing to do, but we believe that it means we can guarantee quality work every time. Angie's dad and more extended family still live in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, so we initially scouted there for a factory to manufacture Question Everything's clothes. Our priority was to find a family-run business, with workers appropriately treated. We know that we found the right factory. It's clean, safe and well-regulated. All workers have paid holiday, sick leave, and prescribed working hours. Angie regularly visits the site to review conditions and has met everyone at the factory so she can make sure that they all remain happy to work there.
Fostering community and saving a specialist craft
But we're keen to sustain other communities too. And the fact that hand-smocked girl's clothes are the core element of our collection has allowed us to do just that. See our latest collection here: https://www.questioneverythinglondon.com/. Hand-smocking has become a specialist craft, so a factory setting isn't necessarily best-suited to producing this highly-skilled, hand-stitched work.
Instead, the factory engages with local craftswomen in villages in Batangas province, south of Manila. Skilled pattern-cutters, working in the factory, cut the cloth to size and deliver it to Batangas. There, local women parcel out the hand-smocking work between them. Many of the women are mothers working from home; the extra income more easily allows them to combine raising their family with paid work. Furthermore, the money gives them a degree of independence. Our work in the community means that not only do we help contemporary craftswomen, but we also help to keep the craft of hand-smocking alive.
Clothes that look great and do good at the same time
We're hugely proud of both these elements of our manufacturing process. Does it cost more? Yes, of course. Good conditions, fair wages, holiday and sick-pay all cost the manufacturer more than running a sweat shop would. And that means we pay more for the our clothes to be manufactured. But to Question Everything, and our customers, that is a worthwhile value-exchange. Along with the support we provide to Childhope Asia Philippines, which works with street children there, we believe that we make a positive difference in the country.
Childhope Asia-mobile learning bus
When produced ethically, we think that children can learn more than fashion sense from their clothes. We want to communicate our approach to the young people who wear our garments. We'd love for them to gain more of an understanding of where the clothes come from, and the lives of the women who craft them. We want to help young people to become socially aware - and more prepared to question everything.
About Question Everything
Question Everything is an award-winning children's' clothing design studio launched by Angie Adams in 2010. Hand-smocked girls' dresses made with a modern twist, form the core element of our collection. Our cool designs, high quality and ethical manufacturing of children's clothes have repeatedly achieved recognition with the leading industry awards. QE: hand-smocked children's clothes made with love.