DEVELOPMENT | Promoting Made in China: The Exceptions


Taken from Rapha

After the tragedy in Bangladesh, my friend, Angelina, made the comment that "if this happened in Bangladesh, can you imagine what is happening in China?" It was very much rhetorical, with no room for China to possibly show its good side within the fashion industry. However, many of us would be surprised by the big names in ethical fashion that use Chinese factories. Heard of a certain sportswear company by the name of PATAGONIA? Or what about the pioneering STEWART+BROWN? 
When we see or hear "Made in China" we automatically envision the worst. We think of factories packed with underpaid, and, often, underaged workers, poor quality items and cheap cheap cheap. However, all is not lost in China. With its supernova presence on the world stage, it is hard for China to hide in the depths of its vast territory. With an ever present need for transparency, there have been small shifts in what is happening on the ground. What is even more interesting are the lengths some manufacturers are taking to not only be major players in the consumerism game, but to also be recognised for their ethical stance. 


Patagonia uses one of China's first ever green factories, that adheres to Patagonia's very strict environmental, labour and workers' health & safety guidelines. One such factory was the inspiration for this post: KTC. KTC* stands for Knowledge, Technology, Craft, and with this strives to not only produce quality clothing, but create synergy between local knowledge and craftsmanship with the best premium technology in garment manufacturing. Started by two Austrians, the mission of KTC is to change the perceptions of the "Made in China" label. This meant improving working conditions and labour standards, and as a result, they are members of the Fair Wear Foundation and Fair Labour Association

With companies like KTC, we find great hope coming out of China. As we celebrate the great craftsmanship, which we often ignore when it comes to China, and quality, the "Made in China" label in fashion may no longer be disregarded as solely a phrase associated with the negatives. So, YES! We are promoting "MADE IN CHINA", and those companies that challenge the stereotype, as we hope you will too.

*There will be a separate post dedicated to KTC in the future.

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  1. So true the 'Made in China' is so often associated with poor quality but it is great to hear there is more to it than that. Love that their is lots of potential for ethical fashion in China and some fantastic brands already leading the way.

    1. Definitely, if there is one place we should push for ethical factories it is China.

  2. Hi! Great post - Thank you for bringing it to our attention :)

    It is hard to find good suppliers in the eco community due to the high level of knowledge, machinery and experience needed to produce the fabrics. So this has meant we've built up strong relationships with our partners in China and chosen to develop their businesses to grow with us as we grow as a company.

    We work to our Ethical and Environmental Company Policy as well as the guidelines and principles set out by IFAT Standards for Fair Trade. However, we do not certify our products as Fair Trade because unfortunately the Fair Trade community has decided to overlook China, instead of working from within and trying to make real change.

    In general, the industries in China that have the most issues are the large-volume and price-driven toy manufacturing and electronic industries. We don't have such issues in the eco clothing industry. We're really proud of our partners in China and we have really tried to create change in the industry.

    We hope to see further growth in ethical fashion in China and hope to be big part of this! Braintree Clothing xxx

    1. Thank you Braintree Clothing, for giving us further insight. It is a shame that China is overlooked, especially within the Fair Trade milieu. Besides KTC, I really wonder how many factories are a part of Fair Wear & Fair Labour.
      It is great to know that such eco-brands as Braintree Clothing works to develop not only your brand, but also the ethics within the Chinese Manufacturing industry. Hopefully, others those operating out of Asia on a whole may take a similar approach.