Not buying clothes that are unfairly made and bad for the environment is, of course, easy to say.
The first few weeks this went well. Every now and then I would have a look in a thrift shop and if I saw something I liked, I would take it with me. This happened very sporadically though, you often have to really take your time to find something here. After a few months I noticed that I started to need new clothes. Finding nothing in a second-hand clothes shop became frustrating and difficult to keep up. This is when I decided to look for another alternative.
I started surfing the internet and found JBC.
Fair Wear Foundation
JBC – a purely Belgian company that works with Belgian designers and licences – is affiliated with the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF). This is an organisation that strives for better working conditions for workers in the textile industry in countries where garments are made. They stand for fair clothing at a fair price.
Their points of attention are:
– No forced labour
– Free of discrimination in the workplace
– No exploitation or child labour
– Freedom of association and the right to join a trade union
– Payment of a living wage
– Reasonable working hours
– Safe and healthy working conditions
– Legally binding employment contracts
JBC does not only want to keep good working conditions in mind, they also take environmental measures. For example, they have organic cotton in several collections and they respect the REACH regulations set by the European Union. This means that they do not tolerate any of the harmful chemicals described in these regulations. This is forbidden in all shops in Belgium, but often violations are still found. JBC carries out random tests on their products to make sure that all their clothing is in compliance with these regulations.
Last but not least, they focus on animal welfare. They only have fur-free collections, but they also do not accept garments made with angora wool or feathers from animals that have been plucked alive.
Other members of the FWF
It is thanks to JBC that I got to know the FWF. So besides this shop, there are other affiliated shops in Belgium. Among the first affiliates are Mayerline, ACP, Stanley & Stella and The Cotton group. These companies are the forerunners in Belgium and deserve much more credit than they are currently getting!
After this, Bel&Bo came into the game
Since 2017, you can also visit the 8 Belgian brands of the FNG group: Superstar, Limon, CKS, Baker bridge, Fred & Ginger, Kiekeboe, Friday and Hilde&Co. After their first year of operation, these shops received a positive score on their brand performance check report.
As the last newcomer, the producer of the house brands of e5 fashion (ECG) has decided to join this organisation as well. This amounts to about 70% of the clothing here. It concerns the brands D’Auvry, Liberty Island, l’histoire de Louise, the Libelle collection, Dansaert Blue, Dansaert Black and Deer Island. The external suppliers must comply with the code of conduct, but are not affiliated to the FWF.
Unfortunately, the Fair Wair Foundation cannot guarantee that the clothing is 100% fair trade. Fortunately, they can promise that a great deal of effort is being made to improve working conditions.