She’s the executive conscience of this fair fashion label: Sustainability Manager Julia. She visits our production partners, making sure we’re all on the same page and that we meet our own high standards. Julia gives it her all, always – but sometimes, that’s not enough. A story of failure.

„Dear all,

as you know, it is part of my job to travel around the world to visit partners in our supply chain: May it be the cotton farmer in India, a knitter in Portugal or a sewer in Turkey. These visits are important and – in most cases – very positive. We talk very openly, build trust and respect for one another, discuss problems and find solutions together.

Working together with the Fair Wear Foundation


Next to my visits, we also conduct third party audits done by the Fair Wear Foundation to gain further insights into the business practices of our partners. The outcomes of an audit are then used as a starting point for our work with the production partner. Together, we then put in our combined effort to improve working conditions at the factory.

FWF Audit gone wrong – ARMEDANGELS Blog - Eco & Fair Fashion
Photo: Julia and two auditors of FWF discussing their findings.

Last week I travelled to Turkey to do one of these FWF audits together with a team of three auditors.
It started out with good conversations, but the more questions we asked, the more documents we cross-checked, the more problems we came across. In situations like this, the most important thing for us is that our partner is open and honest with us. We are committed to support our partner in the remediation process as long as there is a relationship based on trust.

When we confronted him, he threw us out


Unfortunately, during the audit last week, the owner of the factory was not willing to share all documents, but only presented fake or incomplete paperwork to us. After confronting him with the many discrepancies that we found, he decided that he no longer wanted to host us or allow us to conduct the audit. And he threw us out the door.

FWF Audit gone wrong – ARMEDANGELS Blog - Eco & Fair Fashion
Photo: These were taken on another audit in a different (very good) factory.

Of course, this is not the right partner for us to be working with. We need partners who understand our vision, who share our philosophy and who are willing to work with us to make a real change in the industry.

The true motivation of the supplier is revealed


We always try to only find the best partners to work with. Most of the time that works well, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, the supplier looked promising at a first and second glance. The factory is new, well-structured and organized. The conversations were good and we shared our philosophy and way of working and they seemed enthusiastic to get on board with us. But you never really know until you do a FWF audit and you start the real work on social standards. In this case, this moment revealed the true motivation of the supplier.

If you have any questions or if you want to know more about the audit last week, about audits in general or about any other aspect of the work I do, please let me know anytime.

Have a great weekend!
Julia”

This text is originally from an e-mail Julia sent to the ARMEDANGELS-team after the failed audit. The name of the supplier has been removed as it’s not our intent to point fingers.