As part of Fashion Revolution Week 2018 we interviewed founders of Woron—sisters Anya and Arina. Read the interview to learn about the factories your beautiful Woron items are made in, and why the Woron team chose them.
Fashion Revolution Week is a chance for customers to ask brands 'Who Made My Clothes?'. If we were to ask you this question, who would we hear about making up the manufacturing team at Woron?
At the core of everything we do at Woron, is a strong respect for the people we work with and the environment we work within. We are well aware of the reputation of the fashion industry and strive to promote positive change.
We mainly work with a family owned factory in Hungary. The factory is Oeko-Tex certified (confirming the human-ecological safety of textile and leather products from all stages in the chain) and until recently, was also GOTS certified (due to a lack of demand it was too costly for them to keep the certification—they have managed to keep working under the same clean and strict regulations though). Hungary has very strict working regulations both in terms of minimum wages and working standards. Along with this, the owners have also strict rules when it comes to the working hours—nobody can be forced to work additional hours, even during very busy periods. During such busy times, the workers can sign up for additional shifts where they will be paid more. The factory offer their workers higher wages than the standard minimum wage (around 5%-20% higher depending on the position and demand).
Finally, the factory is pretty much run by women, employing mainly women—they offer some additional benefits for working mothers.
As words like 'ethical' and 'sustainable' get increasingly used by the fashion industry, how can customers be sure that brands are making ethical decisions for the people making their clothes? What degree of transparency would you expect customers to be able to ask for?
This can be quite tricky since there is quite a lot of 'green washing' in the fashion industry, so while certifications can say a bit on how the products have been made, it will never be able to give a clear picture of the entire process. So, transparency has to come in the form of information about the various steps throughout the supply chain—from the designing stages through to the product being used by the customer. If the information is not somehow accessible, then the customer should be able to get their questions answered directly by the company.
Tell us about one of the members of your team that you're most proud of - from anywhere in the supply chain - and why their story makes you proud?
We are so proud to be working with each and every one that is a part of the making of Woron! But one person that stands out in the way she thinks, works and her accomplishments, is the leader of our factory in Hungary. It is very rare that women make it to a leading position within the industry in Hungary, so the fact that she has made it to the top is quite a triumph not just for her but for all us women! She has worked her way up from the sewing unit all the way to leading this small family owned factory of approximately 100 workers.
You mention being a vegan organisation, with no animal products used or animal testing in your supply chain. What do you think needs to be done to get customers more interested in how their clothes are made, and the people behind them?
We are happy that customers are taking an interest in vegan products, and that a sustainable profile is becoming more in demand. But at the end of the day, we believe that we as a company, have to take responsibility of what we do and what we put out into the world.
Woron's items are produced predominantly by women - was this by coincidence, or is it something that you strive for, and if so, why?
In the beginning it was by coincidence. We were on the lookout for a factory that shared our passion for both underwear and sustainability. It took us quite a while and several attempts to hit the jackpot. When we finally narrowed down on a few factories, all of these other factors began to play their part in our final choice of who to work and team up with.