Do you know where any of your clothes have come from? The clothing supply chain is incredibly complex and notoriously secretive. At Epona we’re proud of our supply chain; it’s by no means perfect but we’re constantly working hard to improve workers’ rights at every stage and wanted to share the journey with you so you can be proud of the garment you’re wearing.
All of our cotton is Fairtrade which means the farming cooperatives that grow it receive a guaranteed fair price for their crop. The cooperative also receives a Fairtrade premium - an additional amount of money which is placed in a communal fund for farmers and workers to invest in social, environmental and economic developmental projects. All of our cotton is also organic.
After the cotton is picked it will sent for processing which involves ginning, spinning, knitting & dying. Clothing brands rarely have transparency here which can lead to unsafe working conditions and use of child labour, but Fairtrade clothing requires full transparency. We monitor mills we use, ensuring there is no child labour and that workers have protective equipment and safety training.
You may have seen bad press about garment factories, but the factory your Epona T-shirt was produced in promotes workers’ rights: Workers have an internal workers complaints committee weekly, are permitted to form unions and aren’t forced into excessive overtime. Epona also pays a premium for the garments to be put towards a living wage.
Your t-shirt was then shipped over 4000 miles to the Epona warehouse in London. Epona is wholly owned by NUS so all profits go back into the student movement. All warehouse and printing staff are paid at least the London Living Wage to pick, print, pack and dispatch your t-shirt and the design that you now see on your T-shirt was printed using eco-friendly inks.
Your t-shirt was then shipped to your Students’ Union. By stocking Fairtrade clothing, your SU has taken positive action towards ethical clothing. All profits from the shop are reinvested into your Students’ Union to put towards facilities and activities for students. NUS is working towards 100% Fairtrade clothing in all SU shops in the future – thanks for being part of the change!
We want YOU to join us in October on an all-expenses paid trip to India when we visit our clothing supply chain. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the people who made your clothes and engage with ethical fashion in the student movement – note, this competition has now closed.