Radical Transparency: Nu Blvck x Maison Bengal
Fashion Revolution is a global movement that works for a more sustainable fashion industry, campaigning for systemic reform of the industry with a special focus on the need for radical transparency in the fashion supply chain. The charity, now spread across 100 different countries, was formed in the wake of 2013’s Rana Plaza tragedy that killed over 1,100 garment workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. To ensure that we never see a tragedy like Rana Plaza again, we need to keep asking questions, and keep demanding answers.
Radical transparency means that every stage of the supply chain is not only fully traceable, but fully credited, and celebrated too. A transparent business model can empower the two groups that are mostly left out of fashion’s complex power structure- garment workers and ultimately the consumer. When we know exactly what we are paying for, this helps us learn the true, human cost of clothing, and align our purchase decisions with our ethics.
When we see a t-shirt in a store, maybe on a mannequin, hung up on a rail, or folded neatly on a table as part of a display, we are only looking at the final stage in the supply chain; the product of a long line of industrial activities usually concealed from our view. Because of this non-transparent supply chain, corruption and mistreatment occurs throughout a garment’s life cycle before it even reaches our wardrobe.
This is where Nu Blvck comes in; revolutionising the industry one beautiful accessory at a time. From design to manufacture, marketing to retail, each stage of the process is open and accessible to the wider world. This level of self-awareness allows the brand to pinpoint areas that can be further developed to reflect their aspiration for a fashion system that limits waste, prioritises diversity and equality, and celebrates artisanal skills.
Nu Blvck’s brand new collection of handcrafted handbags was created in collaboration with Maison Bengal, a fair-trade company founded by Sheenagh Day that celebrates and supports the traditional artisanal skills of weaving and basket making in Bangladesh, providing a market for some of the country’s most marginalised communities. Using only locally grown natural materials such as jute and hogla (local sea-grass), the collective now has a comprehensive range of durable, sustainable products and an established retail clientele worldwide.
Holistic ethical fashion takes into account four key pillars of sustainability; social, economic, ecological and cultural. However, for an ethical product to be truly successful in the crowded marketplace, it must also be aesthetically desirable. Nu Blvck’s straw bags are both trend-led and wearable for the fashion-forward consumer for the Spring/Summer season and beyond.
This Fashion Revolution Week, remember that knowledge is power; the more we know about how brands operate, the more intelligent and informed decisions we can make about what we put on our bodies. Supply chain transparency is the first step in securing a better future of people and the planet, using fashion as part of the solution, not part of the problem.