A leading Bangladeshi entrepreneur and denim supplier to many of the world’s leading western apparel brands, has called for full transparency from brands and retailers. Mostafiz Uddin, owner of Denim Expert Ltd., told delegates at a London sustainability conference that the Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry has undergone massive change since the Rana Plaza tragedy – and that now it is time for brands to do their part to improve the industry.

  • Fresh calls for full transparency from apparel brands and retailers
  • Bangladeshi suppliers “not afraid of transparency” after overhaul in wake of Rana Plaza
  • Industry focus should be on brands who fail to list their supply chains, not leaders
  • Public need better information on which suppliers use which factories

“Yes, we have seen change since Rana Plaza, but it is not enough,” Uddin told the audience at Drapers Sustainability Conference. “If you look at Bangladesh, we have more than 4,000 garment factories. Each and every one of them has been audited. These factories have nothing to fear now and are comfortable with transparency. I hear that brands are demanding transparency but if there really was a demand, the industry would already be fully transparent.So what are we waiting for?”

Uddin used the example of product labelling on food packaging and asked the questionof why manufacturers can tell us exactly where our food was made and by whom but such transparency has yet to arrive in the apparel sector. “Transparency is possible,” said Uddin. “We have seen this already with progressive brands such as H&M and Marks & Spencer. Yet it is not right that these retailers continue to get shot down by the press. We have to stop this culture and instead focus on the brands which are not transparent and who are holding the industry back.”

Evidence of the point made by Uddin can be found on the Fashion Revolution Transparency Index which shows there are dozens of brands still not making their supply chains public. These include Forever 21, Lacoste, Khols, Valentino, Ross Stores and Amazon. Many brands continue to disclose nothing of their supply chains, yet somehow manage to escape the spotlight.

Uddin said: “A lot of change is still needed. A couple of organisations are working hard, but it is not enough. We all need to stand up – retailers need to stand up, consumers need to stand up – otherwise there will be no real change and just a lot of talk.”

“We also have to catch the people who aren’t transparent. Retailers need to work with suppliers. Instead of saying, ‘You’ve done something wrong, so now we don’t want to work with you,’ they should say, ‘This isn’t what we want, but here’s how we want you to work.’”

We @Denimology are all about transparency and we’re calling out to all brands and suppliers to follow Mostafiz Uddin’s example.

Transparency and Sustainability is right now and a MUST moving forward.

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