Retailers and the workers behind the scenes of Australia's fashion industry gathered in Sydney today for the official launch of a new campaign.
Minister for the tertiary education, skills, jobs and workplace relations, Senator The Hon Christopher Evans, addressed an audience at Paddington's Ginger & Smart boutique to explain the motives behind Ethical Clothing Australia's new Meet your Maker project.
The scheme aims to reveal the faces behind the production of the country's fashion, while educating consumers about the importance of fair trade in the garment industry.
Makers of Ginger and Smart's clothing attended as well as supporters from Cue, Gideon Shoes and Nobody Jeans.
Organiser Simon McRae explained how Ethical Clothing Australia accredited brands will feature swing tags with specialist codes on the back.
The customer can either swipe their smart phone along the code or type the number into the Meet Your Maker website.
This will then provide the consumer with detailed information about the person who made the clothing, such as their name, age, skill-set and how long they have been in the industry for.
“This is about Australian's knowing where their clothes come from and who has made them,” Evans said.
“Australian democracy was founded on principles that make us proud and the last thing we want to see is our society underpinned by the exploitation of workers.”
The website also encourages customers to upload photos of themselves in their Ethical Clothing Australia accredited items – with the option of leaving a message for the individual maker.
Nearly 60 Australian businesses are already accredited and applications doubled last year.
Speaking to Ragtrader after the event, Gideon Shoes' creative director, Daimon Downey, stressed the importance of being part of the scheme.
“It's such an obvious choice for us to be part of something like this,” Downey said.
“Socially this has to happen as people need to know how these things are made.”
The Meet Your Maker website went live today and campaigners are urging more retailers to sign up.