Transparency is a behavior that implies openness, communication and accountability...thanks Google! So what does it mean to you and do you think it's important? When it comes to personal relationships I'd hazard a guess that most of us find it of utmost importance. But, with transparency being a buzz word in fashion at the moment, I'm curious why it's not something we expect from this industry and rather a lack of these usually important traits is something we easily forgive.
Let's be honest here, if every fashion brand was completely transparent and provided us with a full run down of their business operations we wouldn't all take it upon ourselves to read it...would we? Transparency is important, without it how are we ever supposed to make informed decisions about our wardrobes and make a difference. But how much transparency is realistic for companies to provide and what do we choose to do with the information, if anything at all. Before transparency can become common practice for fashion companies we need to value it as consumers and make it an expectation. Which means investing not only money into our purchases but also time and effort into learning about the companies we choose to buy from. What matters most is how we use the information provided, along with our willingness to ask questions, like who made my clothes, and hold companies accountable for any lack of openness and communication.
Transparency is also commonly viewed as greenwashing, the belief that companies appear ethical and/or sustainable by providing a certain level of transparency while as consumers we're still only getting a portion of the relevant information. Ok, fair enough, and while I don't condone this behavior in any way surely we have to acknowledge that knowing some information is always more helpful than knowing nothing at all. I commend any company that is trying to be more transparent, even if it's ethical and sustainable practices relate only to a portion of their range. We all have to start somewhere on this journey, and this goes for companies as well. Years of ingrained common practice can't feasibly be changed all at once, for anyone!
Plus, like all things in life, it's important to remember there are two sides to every story. Transparency in fashion is companies being open and honest about their practices, and transparency in your wardrobe is about being honest with yourself! Buying less and making considered purchases that you'll love, look after and wear for years, preferably from a company that gives you a level of understanding about their business practices that you're comfortable with and align with your ethics, is your side of the bargain.
The question is if we as consumers are willing to put in the extra time and effort to understand and learn about the brands we shop with and possibly find new brands that do align with what we believe...otherwise transparency in fashion doesn't really mean much. So are you willing to invest in transparency?