By Eloisa Artuso
As we all know, fashion industry represents a large economic and creative vehicle and thus, it has the power to achieve massive changes if guided under more conscious practices. I certainly believe that fashion can be used as an important tool to engage people in new consumption habits and open up possibilities for more sustainable futures.
With the intention to give consumers the opportunity to shop with complete awareness of what they are buying, Bruno Pieters launched Honest by in 2012. A Belgian award-winning designer and art director, Pieters spent 2010 exploring the fashion industry in Southern India, an experience that profoundly affected his personal philosophy and his thinking about fashion, which is still evident today.
For example, Honest By only creates its collections in fully ethical factories where the workers are fairly paid, and offers products with 100% transparency in both pricing and manufacturing, creating a new paradigm in fashion retail. It is the first company in the world to share the full cost breakdown of its products. While Pieters’ new business model may seem an outsider for the fashion market, I realised his new way of thinking is getting him noticed.
When browsing his shop, I was seduced by many cutting-edge designs with beautifully done prints for both men and women. Every garment has a very detailed list revealing where it comes from and how much everyone in the supply chain gets paid, including the price for each trim or fabric.
On his website, I couldn’t help noticing on the homepage that we have the option to choose what colour we would like to browse through, which makes shopping here even more fun. According to the designer the website was designed like this “to make shopping a bit more interactive, customer friendly and personal.” Success!
Another concept behind the brand is to trade collections from established and upcoming designers on a public platform, where they can share their own design processes and production information, from yarn and button origins to fabric and manufacturing details, including mark up calculations.
Extensive research is conducted into the sources of raw materials to make sure that every element in each garment is as environmentally friendly as possible. In communicating all information concerning a garment’s production process, Honest By wants to raise consciousness about where products are made and by whom.
Honest By proves that environmentally and socially responsible products should not be seen as an extra benefit to a brand but rather, they should be the norm. As Bruno Pieters says: “Unfair trade is not normal. Unsustainability is not normal. You need transparency and that’s why every brand will have to do it eventually. It’s going to be unavoidable. That’s good.”
The proposal of new platforms dedicated to promote conscious consumerism can change paradigms and move fashion forward, because when consumers become aware of their power, well, that changes everything. Honestly!