You’ve read my post “3 Practical Ways to Be a Better Ethical Fashion Influencer and Create Meaningful Change” and have decided to write an email letter to your favorite fashion brand. Good on you!
So you’re here because you want to learn how to write that letter aren’t you?
I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, a personal story…
During my trip to Italy last summer, I revealed that I only purchase one thing on that entire trip. A pair of shoes. Of course, fashion in Italy is incredible, there is much truth in the country’s reputation as a global fashion trendsetter, but I was incredibly surprised at how hard it was to find clothing that was made locally. Most garments I came across were either made in China or other parts of South East Asia. I should point out that I’m not saying that just because it’s made in China, it’s made unethically. What I am saying is that I naturally demand greater transparency from the fashion brand if it manufactures in this part of the world. If your experiences are anything like mine, you’re having just as hard a time accessing accurate information about the manufacturing processes of items made in this region.
Anyway, I had been on the hunt all year for a pair of platforms, so while walking the streets of Rome, I fell head over heels (pun intended) with a pair of Superga platform sneakers. I was aware that this brand is one of the oldest in Italy, so I decided to try on the pair.
Then as I glanced at the box, I noticed that they were made in Vietnam. This really surprised me. Learning this prompted me to ask the male shop assistant why Superga were being made abroad and whether he was aware of the production facilities and working conditions (he spoke English) but his response was an extremely familiar one:
Nowadays just about everything is made in Asia and the company is doing the best that they can.”
That was all the information he could give me. This was just not enough information to base a decision on and I couldn’t commit to the purchase.
As I left the store, my mind kept returning to the gorgeous shoes. So I decided to use my cell phone and do some research. There was nothing about sustainable practices or environmental commitments on the Superga website. So I did an online search and found an Magnifeco article about how British model and TV personality Alexa Chung (who had created a doco uncovering issues in fashion for British Vogue) was directing Superga’s advertising campaigns and that the Olsen twins were creative directors. This tidbit of information was interesting, especially being on this renowned sustainable fashion site – the problem was it was the article was dated 2012 and I couldn’t find any other information.
A real-life case study
I made the ultimate decision to purchase the shoes and use the opportunity to seek more answers. The shoes were like my bargaining chip in brand discussions. So I took action: I wrote Superga an email letter.
Below is the email I sent to Superga requesting more information and greater transparency about the shoes. You can use my email as template to structure your own emails and letters when you approach brands about their production methods, supply chain, treatment of workers and factory conditions. (You can also hand write a letter if you know the brand’s postal address! This would definitely get their attention!)
Actual email that I sent to the fashion brand:
Dear Human Resources at Superga,
I am writing to you today to find out the working conditions of the factories that produce the shoes for your company. I am a writer Eco Warrior Princess, as well as a startup entrepreneur and would love to learn more about the environmental and human impact of fashion.
[Start by saying why you are writing and introduce yourself]
As one of your customers (please see attached picture of me wearing my awesome shoes!), I want to ensure that the shoes I am wearing are made in ethical conditions and the workers who produce these items are treated fairly.
[Introduce yourself as one of their customers and share your concerns]
I purchased my first pair of Superga shoes last year in Italy and since then, have not been able to find any information online that shares the sustainability goals for your company. Do you have a code of conduct or an ethics policy? Do you check your factories for working conditions? What evidence can you send me of the working conditions in your factory?
[Any information that you have about the company can go here – if you don’t have any, don’t worry!]
The shoes I bought were made in Vietnam, so I am particularly interested to learn about the conditions there.
I look forward to hearing from you shortly on all of these points. I will be sharing your response with my readers as well.
Thank you very much!
Founder and Designer
Now you may not write for an ethical fashion website like I do, but you can tweak the template to suit your needs.
So why not challenge yourself this 2018 and use your voice, take action and help inspire positive change within the fashion industry.
- 32 Thought-Provoking Quotes About Ethical, Sustainable and Fast Fashion
- 40 Inspiring Quotes About Climate Change, Sustainable Living and Our Natural Environment
- Get Educated With These Free Sustainable Fashion and Ethical Business Online Courses
- Has Globalisation Ruined the Fashion Industry?
- The Sustainable Fashion Blueprint Report 2018: Industry Overview and Business Opportunities