With Baptist World Aid Australia bringing out another Ethical Fashion Guide and another Fashion Revolution Week just passed, many popular brands are showing their commitment to minimising their environmental footprint and tackling social issues. Some are going further, documenting their transition to a sustainable and ethical supply chain by producing their own independent transparency reports. Cue, Australian fashion label Tigerlily with their first annual ‘Consciousness Report‘.
The brand which was originally founded in 2000 as a swimwear label by Jodhi Meares the ex-wife of billionaire James Packer, has been “working diligently behind the scenes on a sustainability strategy that centres key issues currently preoccupying the global fashion industry: circularity, supply chain transparency, waste and climate impact”. However, it’s interesting to note that the team were unresponsive to Baptist World Aid’s attempts to gather information for its 2018 guide which ultimately determined the brand’s poor ‘D’ score that the brand received.
Nevertheless, the level of supply chain transparency revealed in their Consciousness Report is something to be commended. The report shows that Tigerlily is making progress; working with manufacturing partners, many of whom are ethically certified by industry recognised bodies such as BSCI, WRAP or SA8000 as well switching to eco-friendly fabrics and packaging, all of which is published along with an interactive map online of who and where their factories are in China and India.
The brand is making environmental sustainability one of its top priorities. One key area of focus is switching to sustainable fabrics. Some of its swimwear range feature the popular eco swimwear fabric ECONYL (a material made out of regenerated nylon from discarded fishing nets) but the brand has gone further, incorporating recycled fabrics in garment lining.
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Furthermore, from this year onwards, regular viscose and rayon fabrics have been replaced with the sustainable LENZING certified variety which ensures the wood pulp fibres are sustainably sourced and is processed in a closed-loop system that recovers chemicals.
In addition, an increased percentage of its swimwear has been OEKO-TEX® certified (an accreditation ensuring no hazardous chemicals are used in the manufacturing process), and the brand has switched to biodegradable and compostable e-commerce mailer bags to reduce freight-associated carbon footprint.
The brand even uses recycled materials in garment tags. Its in-store hangers are made from FSC certified paper and wood sourced from responsibly managed forests.
Tigerlily have implemented their own ‘Code of Ethical Trade’ which requires all supply chain partners follow. Its code features 11 mandatory requirements including: No Child Labor, No Forced Labor, No Harassment, Wages and Benefits, Hours of Work, Health and Safety, Non-Discrimination, Freedom of Association, Collective Bargaining, Environment and Communication.
Tigerlily visit and audit their factories at least once a year. It also engages with certification consultants Bureau Veritas to monitor ongoing compliance. The brand has also collaborated with a social enterprise called Artisans of Fashion for a collection to be launched next year. Artisans of Fashion economically empowers women in Delhi through its support of women’s cooperative called Project Thrive.
Lovers of the brand who have been waiting to feel better about shopping there can now rejoice – this is a brand whole-heartedly committed to doing fashion better.
“We acknowledge that we still have work to do. As we grow, our commitment continues and we look forward to bringing you on our journey as we set the following goals.” – Tigerlily 2018 Consciousness Report
Tigerlily’s 2020 sustainability targets
The fashion brand has set some achievable sustainability goals:
- To move 100% of their viscose and rayon fabrics to certified sustainably sourced by the end of 2020.
- To further reduce carbon emissions by consolidating bulk shipments, streamlining logistics and strategically planning international international shipping. The brand aims to reduce air freight to less than 10% of sales volume by 2020.
- To replace its D2W® garment polybag with a fully compostable option. The goal is to have a compostable option for all production by the end of 2020.
- To source and develop alternative, more sustainable jersey solutions using Lenzing™ yarns.
- To further develop partnerships with social enterprises and non-profit organisations in India that empower women artisans and build economically strong communities there.
The brand’s first efforts in publicising detailed information about its supply chain should be commended. Like most brands entering into the unchartered waters of sustainability, Tigerlily is a work in progress. These positive first steps will no doubt be strongly followed by many more.
The report however did raise some questions: Why was the brand unresponsive to the Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Guide? Will its low D-score mean that Tigerlily will actively participate in it moving forward (in addition to its annual Consciousness Report)?
The brand has also donated $139,000 worth of garments to women at risk of homelessness and domestic violence survivors via Share the Dignity. While noble, shouldn’t it consider reducing production quantities rather than offloading garment waste under the guise of supporting charities?
Overall the brand has made some great leaps forward in a relatively short space of time. If iconic Aussie labels such as Tigerlily are becoming more conscious, it is proof that fashion sustainability is not just a trend, but may become a staple part of the Australian fashion landscape.
You can read Tigerlily’s first annual Consciousness Report here.
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All images via Tigerlily.