The Ethics of Menswear: Responsible Manufacturing
Ethical Manufacturing: How We Do It
For a focused, high-end, start-up clothing company, developing strong relationships with garment manufacturers is an essential priority, especially when you plan to have twenty-one sizes for every garment. That’s a lot of extra work for the people who actually do the designing, sizing, cutting and sewing. Steve and Brett knew that they would need an extraordinary team to meet those challenges. Between them, Steve and Brett have a combined 40+ years of global menswear manufacturing contacts, so they started by reaching out to past suppliers and exploring contacts they made at industry events around the world. They were insistent that the manufacturer not only be able to produce a high-end, individualized product, but also that the workshop be safe and ethically managed, working within the United Nations guidelines of ethical sustainability. They also wanted to ensure that the workers were all adult, as well as being fairly compensated and well-treated. Without giving away all of our trade secrets, we can say that they partnered with a brilliant menswear manufacturer, who has consistently exceeded even their high demands for quality, materials, workmanship and business practices. They inspected all of the facilities personally and reviewed every step of production—gaining a new appreciation for the fact that high-end garment workers are artists in their own right, who also know everything about current fashion trends. When these industry “insiders” are empowered to make suggestions, they bring a lot of hands-on to the table. And once we explained our fundamental goals, they were able to contribute their creativity and expertise to our entire process, from design, to industry trends, to final production.
This was critical, because the Otero sizing and design concepts are unprecedented; we could never have implemented our design ideas without the enthusiasm and active participation of the people who brought those concepts to life. Their ideas have improved manufacturability, simplified designs, and enabled us to bring our customers the better-fitting garments they deserve. From the beginning, it has been incredibly important to us that everyone who is touched by Otero has a positive experience—from the farmers who grow the cotton to the customers who want to look amazing. Our manufacturers and their production teams have partnered with us to accomplish unprecedented things in this industry. Because no one associated with Otero can be called average.
Little Known (Wacky) Fashion Facts and Images:
Many of our garments actually include several kinds of fabric, both woven and knitted. Even after all these months, we are still blown away by the engineering technology that has gone into the manufacturing process. Both polos and t-shirts are primarily knits, and the machines that they use for knitting high-end fabric look like they’ve escaped from a futuristic, oversized sculpture gallery: hundreds of spools and thousands of threads disappear into a contraption that magically transforms cotton thread into greige. It’s the most amazing pairing of art and science.
Everyone loves those extra-soft cotton t-shirts and jeans that have been beautifully worn and feel amazing—but all that gorgeous texture is added in a facility straight out of an especially creepy futuristic horror film…