• Honest By - Transparent Fashion

This blog is all about predicting the future of fashion and one trend that we’ve noticed, slowly creeping up on the industry, is a shift towards transparency. Not sheer materials, but honesty about where and how our clothes are crafted. Some fashion brands may be reluctant to embrace social responsibility, but others are leading the way when it comes to being totally upfront about who makes their clothes.

One that’s been getting a bit of a buzz lately is Honest By, with its cool, directional mens and womenswear. Shoppers can browse by categories like ‘organic,’ ‘vegan’ and ‘skin friendly,’ and find futuristic prints, architectural heels and avant-garde detailing – a far cry from the cotton t-shirts and tote bags that we’ve come to expect from eco-friendly fashion. Honest By works with innovative, exciting designers (both established and breakthrough names have taken part), but what really sets it apart is a unique labelling system, developed by the label’s founder Bruno Pieters.

Usually you’d expect a clothes label to tell you which fabrics have been used and how to care for them. But Honest By labels go into a whole new level of detail. Every garment comes complete with a breakdown of where each fabric came from, as well as the source of any finishing details – down to the zipper and the safety pin on the clothes tag itself. 

The breakdown even names Honest By’s manufacturers and suppliers – something that’s unheard of in the fashion industry. Usually brands refuse to share this information for fear of rivals going to the same suppliers, but Honest By clearly doesn’t feel the need to keep it a secret - it makes you wonder if a competitive edge is all that other brands are trying to keep hidden.

Such rare openness about where every single detail on a garment comes from (as well as where it was woven, dyed or finished) earns Honest By a pretty impressive tagline - their website describes them as “the world’s first 100% transparent company.” But the brand goes further than that, and even offers their customers a complete breakdown of the garment’s price. Alongside the cost of the lining, sewing thread and hang tags, Honest By happily reveals what their own mark-up on the price is. Such upfront honesty is totally unprecedented – how many other brands are willing to reveal their profit margins so openly and in so much detail?

It’s probably too much to expect other brands to follow Bruno Pieters’ lead when it comes to revealing how much they make on an individual garment – customers might be less happy to spend £200 on something when they know it only cost £70 to produce. And it’s much easier to keep track of where each safety pin was sourced from when you’re a small, niche company – imagine H&M trying to catalogue the source of every single button. But if Honest By’s upfront approach caught on, it would really shake up the whole industry. Even if it was impossible for larger brands to detail every garment, they could offer online information about the factories they use and where they source the majority of their fabrics from. As Honest By has proven, there’s more than one way to run a fashion business, and there’s more than one way to be transparent with shoppers. Information is power, and hopefully it’s only a matter of time before the customer holds more of it.

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