Tamborine Mountain company, Outland Denim, is the only Australian company to receive an A+ in the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report, published by Baptist World Aid Australia.
Outland Denim was founded by James Bartle after he met an anti-trafficking group and traveled to Asia to see first-hand how human traffickers prey on vulnerable young girls to service the sex industry.
James learned that once a girl has been rescued she needs a secure, sustainable career path to ensure a safe future.
He started the Demin Project, to enable those girls with an interest in sewing to put their skills to use.
Outland Denim has grown from there and today the brand boasts a training and production facility in Cambodia, from where the business manages its manufacturing operations and oversees the holistic care of staff through wage, training and personal development initiatives.
“So I guess I want to just encourage people to really go, dig deeper, to put some resource into finding out what really happens on the manufacturing floors and the cotton fields so that it can be fair.” Outland Denim founder James Bartle chats to @sbs_australia following the release of the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report. Full video via the link in bio! #outlanddenim #zeroexploitation #behindthebarcode 📸 @sophiebakerphoto
The Outland Denim website states: “Outland has expanded its team of seamstresses to offer positions to those at risk of falling into poverty (a contributor to trafficking vulnerability) and has broadened its mission to set a standard for the treatment and remuneration of young female workers in garment manufacturing industry.
“We are committed to sourcing the most ethically and environmentally sound raw materials, from organic denim and pocket lining to recycled packaging, and have endeavored to verify our entire supply chain in alignment with the world’s best practices.”
The company has an ethos of consuming less, less often and buying better quality.
This year’s Ethical Fashion Report is the 5th from Baptist World Aid Australia and graded 114 apparel companies (407 brands) from A to F on the systems they have in place to uphold the rights of workers.
Many of Australia’s most recognised brands did not fare well in the report and those that do not respond to the survey are marked harshly.
Only 17 per cent of companies were able to prove they pay all workers a living wage.
Baptist World Aid advocacy manager Gershon Nimbalker said the majority of the 43 million garment workers in the Asia-Pacific region still earned wages “well below what they need to lift themselves or their families out of poverty”.