Monday 24 May 2021

50 Questions to Ask Your Favourite Fashion Brands

Navigating which brands are sustainable and ethical is a minefield. Especially with the amount of lies we’re told by brands regarding their practices and supply production. One of the ways you can find out more about brands’ actions, as well as hold them accountable, is to ask them questions directly. In the age of social media, we have direct access to contacting brands. Comment a question on one of their Instagram posts, Facebook posts or even LinkedIn if you’re wanting to get everywhere covered! You can also reply to tweets or just tweet them out of the blue – my favourite way to do this is to hijack marketing ploys like #PrettyPleasePLT! You can also email brands directly with more detailed questions that a tweet just won’t allowed you to do. You can find an email somewhere on their website or social media. They are less likely to reply via email as it’s not public, but it’s still worth a shot and gets the topic on their radar.

It is difficult to know what to ask sometimes. So, to help, here are some questions you can ask to brands to hold them to account and heavily imply that they should be doing better. You don’t have to use them all at once – that would be a ridiculously long exchange – but you can pick and choose and use them at different points, as well as asking questions that aren't included on this list. You could email a brand with one a day for 50 days if you really wanted to be a pain in their backsides! This is one way you can make a difference and fight for change without having to spend a single penny and which doesn't need to take too much time. 



1. Who made my clothes?


2. How much are your garment workers paid?


3. Where are your products made?


4. Please provide me with a list of the factories in your supply chain.


5. Are your garment workers able to form and join unions without threatening their job security? 


6. Are you in regular contact with your garment workers’ unions? 


7. What have you done to keep your workers’ safe in a pandemic?


8. How are you tackling sexual and gender-based violence in your supply chain?


9. If you posted a Black Square in summer 2020, what have you done since then to tackle white supremacy in your organisation and supply chain? 


10. What is your gender pay gap?


11. What are you doing to reduce and eradicate your gender pay gap?


12. How much profit have you made since the start of the pandemic?


13. Are you sharing your profits with your garment workers? 


14. Did you cancel orders at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic?


15. If you did cancel orders at the beginning of the pandemic, have you since paid up? If so, when, how much, and why didn’t you do so sooner?


16. How old are your workers?


17. What do you do to ensure health and safety standards in your supplying factories are maintained?


18. Do you treat pregnant workers (both in your supply chain and in your company headquarters) fairly? (i.e. paid maternity leave, no unfair dismissal, etc.).


19. Who makes your fabric?


20. Where is your fabric produced?


21. Are the farmers who harvest the materials in your clothes paid a living wage?


22. Are migrant workers making your products paid the same as citizen workers?


23. What is the gender-make-up of workers and managers in your supplying factories?


24. How much do you pay your retail staff?


25. Do you listen to garment workers and directly involve them in your policy-making?


26. What size range do you produce?


27. Why can’t you provide more options for plus-size people?


28. How much do you pay influencer collaborators (e.g. Molly-Mae Hague) in comparison to your garment workers? 


29. Has your CEO met with any of the garment workers making your company’s products?


30. Do you have suppliers still manufacturing in Myanmar despite the military coup?


31. If you are still manufacturing in Myanmar, will you support the garment workers there by boycotting the country as they have demanded? Will you also publically denounce the regime there?


32. Do your clothes contain cotton made in the Uighur region in China? 


33. If you do source from the Uighur region (as practically every fashion brand is implicated), what are you doing to oppose the ongoing genocide and support Uighurs in their resistance? 

Art by Kissi Ussuki for Fashion Revolution




34. Do you used organic/recycled materials?


35. If you use recycled materials, where are these sourced from and what percentage of the garment is made using recycled materials?


36. What percentage of your overall produce/stock is sustainably sourced and produced? (e.g. what percentage of overall stock does H&M Conscious account for?)


37. What happens to clothes when I return them?


38. How many garments do you produce every year?


39. What exactly are you doing to reduce your contribution to the climate crisis?


40. What are you doing to prevent and monitor pollution as a result of your production?


41. What are you doing to reduce the amount of plastic both in your products and in your packaging? 


42. What are you doing to help create a circular economy?


43. Will one of your garments last me for life? 


44. Can I bring a garment back in to you to be repaired? Patagonia and other companies have a repair system, why don’t you?


45. What do you do with your factory waste and offcuts?


46. What happens to the clothes in your recycling schemes? (e.g. the ‘recycle’ boxes present in shops like H&M)


47. Is this product stolen from another, smaller, company? If yes, why didn’t you pay or at least give credit to that small business? 


48. Are you planning on reducing the number of products you release soon? 


49. Do you know the amount of resources (such as water, earth, electricity, etc.) your products use? 


50. Are you looking into less resource-intensive materials and methods of production? 

If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa

If you liked this post you might like: How to Check a Fashion Brand's Ethics and Sustainability


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