Transparency: the means to an end

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Can transparency change our industry?

The New York State Fashion Act which will require supply chain accountability is met with a lot of applause, as legislation is needed to improve the fashion industry. Similarly, EU member states are preparing due diligence and Extended Producer Responsibility laws.

Reading a lot about transparency and the fashion industry, I love the articles of Emy Demkes at the Correspondent for her insight and efforts to try and really understand the issues of the industry. Her latest post is a response to the NY State Fashion Act and it questions whether transparency is THE answer to the problems in our industry. Talking to Emy about this subject last week made me realise that her point of view is matching mine, although differently phrased.

Emy states that transparency is not the only answer to the necessary change in the industry as it does not solve the power imbalance. Indeed, the fashion industry is complex and this, combined with the power dynamics, is making it a difficult task to truly change it.

I believe that when you strive for change, you need transparency as a starting point. Being completely transparent enables you to make educated decisions and at the same time take others along in your journey. Moreover, you can demonstrate that you are taking steps towards improvement. It’s about taking responsibility and offering others the opportunity to hold you accountable. As I like to put it: transparency is a means to an end.

Digitally signing and sharing compliance documents such as Code of Conduct and Restricted Substances Lists is the next step towards more transparent and more equal industry practices where partners collaborate based on clearly set contracts in order for long term partnerships to be achieved.
I believe these are important first steps to create a more equal fashion industry. Step by step and together, we create a better fashion industry.

I hope Emy agrees. Will be keeping you informed.

Have a lovely week,