To our community of women,
The Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, which claimed 1,138 lives and injured 2500 more due to unsafe working conditions had a big impact on me personally. It happened 5 years ago today when I was living in New York and still during my time away from the industry. The devastation of the tragedy and enormity of it sent shockwaves across the globe. It was at that moment I decided if I was ever to be part of the industry I had walked away from it would mean I would need to have full transparency and control over the working conditions of the people involved in making my designs. From this realisation came the foundations of what would be the relaunch of Arnsdorf, in which we decided we would not outsource our ethics, but instead bring the manufacturing process in-house. We decided not only to show you ‘who made your clothes’ during Fashion Revolution week (which is such an incredible initiative that we are proud to be a part of) but to always provide you with this information for each and every garment we make. We also decided to provide you with full transparency of the labor and material costs for each garment as well as the entire supply chain, including where our materials are sourced from. A year ago we were working on the samples for the first release collection. The team consisted of myself and Gemma Cahill, who I employed 2 days a week to sew the samples in our tiny garage studio in Keele St, Collingwood. We had one industrial straight stitch, a cover stitch machine, buttonhole machine and overlocker machine. I did all the cutting by hand while Gemma sewed the pieces together as we listened to endless podcasts. One year on Gemma and I both work 5 days a week in the factory which is now 4 times the size and in Easey Street, Collingwood. Gemma is now our Production Manager and we are joined by our fellow team of machinists Annie, Thi and Thi Ca and will soon include an in-house cutter. We now have 4 straight stitch machines and a keyhole button machine and an industrial sized cutting table and electric cutter.
Although we have grown considerably in the last year we remain a tight knit team. We enjoy each other's company and share knowledge on a professional level, as well as snippets of our personal lives. I feel so honoured and grateful to know and work alongside these incredible women daily. Together we are part of this fashion revolution that is beginning throughout the world. We are at a turning point in history, where each of us individually as well as collectively are deciding what type of world we want to live in. Is a $5 t-shirt more important than the safety of the lives of those who are working to produce it? In Bangladesh garment workers are paid as little as 43 cents an hour for 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week. In our factory in Melbourne, our machinists receive above the award and the same wages as other skilled workers in Australia. I want to thank you for all of your support over this last year of our relaunch. It is because of your ongoing support that we can provide our workers with a safe and happy environment in which they are respected and appreciated while doing meaningful work. They are part of the bigger vision of transforming this industry and preserving the craftsmanship and skills of this art. Thank you for valuing the quality and care in which we create each one of your products. We are in the final stages of our Ethical Textiles Clothing Australia certification, and look forward to what the next year holds.
Jade Sarita Arnott
Arnsdorf founder and designer