Brands Should Prepare For Full Transparency


A lot goes unsaid in the fashion industry. As activism swells and consumers demand to know the business and ethical practices that companies uphold, fashion is no exception. Recently, the pressure for brands across the board in fashion has been consistent as they are expected to reveal their business practices behind the scenes. Statements regarding the creation of diversity and inclusion boards and sustainable practices have been in the conversation within the past few years. Interestingly, many brands will find ways to mask some of their political values and practices such as donations to campaigns that don’t seem to align with their beliefs and the use of prison labor. 

Unsurprisingly, many large American corporations are using prison labor. What is surprising, however, is that many of these same corporations pride themselves on ethical values. This list published by reveals companies such as Victoria’s Secret, Revlon Group, JCPenney, Nordstrom, Johnson & Johnson, Mary Kay, Walmart, Target, Eddie Bauer, Macy’s, and Kmart, amongst others, are engaging in the use of prison labor. They are taking advantage of the Prison Industries Act, a piece of legislation passed in an effort to expand the commercialization of inmate labor. It is important to consider the true ethicality of the businesses before you spend your dollars. 

A twenty-first-century tool for the ethical consumer is the Progressive Shopper Google Chrome extension. Before checking out from a given company’s website, this extension alerts you on their political contributions and even emphasizes serious issues such as bad family leave policies, anti-abortion funders, tax dodging, and more. 

Today, the modern consumer demands transparency on all levels. Because of the close access to a forum for discussion for a brand (i.e. a company’s Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook page), it is up to the companies themselves to be able to accept that consumers not only demand immediate responses and transparency in business practices but are also now willing to do the research to know exactly what’s happening behind the scenes on their own. 


By Adi Shoham

IG: @adiblossom