Most Fashion Designers Never Meet Their Suppliers. They Should.
Source: Vogue Business.
Design teams should learn more about the factories that make their clothes. For brands and suppliers alike, the benefits are manifold.
Ayesha Barenblat’s organisation Remake, founded in 2016 in San Francisco, leads trips to manufacturing countries to help student designers understand what goes into making clothing and “bear witness to fashion’s impact on people and our planet”. Barenblat calls them “immersive journeys”, and the impact on young designers can be profound.
“There was something about that experience that left them altered,” says Yvonne Watson, associate dean for curriculum and learning at Parsons School of Design. Her students were thinking and talking about fashion differently when they returned from one such trip.
This kind of immersive learning has the potential to be more than a device for college students’ education. Sending designers to learn more about how their suppliers operate, including the pressures on factory workers, could transform the way they design — and, ultimately, lead to a more sustainable and ethically driven supply chain process.
“Most people graduating from these prestigious schools have never seen a dyehouse — the chemical smells, walking through the vats,” says Barenblat. Being able to talk to the owner, she explains, opens up a dialogue about how certain dyes are more polluting than others and what that means for water resources locally or for workers’ health.