In an effort to find ethically made clothing for her husband, Anita Atkinson stumbled upon a sizeable gap in the market.
“I had made a decision to only purchase from companies who I knew had put appropriate measures in place to ensure health, safety and rights of workers, and when it came to menswear, my options were extremely slim,” she says.
While she wasn’t totally surprised, she decided she would be part of the solution. She started Soult Clothing – an ethical label making organic cotton clothing for men, women and children.
Anita didn’t like the way fast fashion retailers treated their customers, withholding information and not showing any signs that they really care about their impact on people or the planet.
She says she wanted her customers to be able to know straight away that Soult cared.
“I wanted people to understand from the get go that our clothes were of a high-quality, that they are affordable, and most importantly that we care about our workers and we know that our customers care, too,” Anita says.
When choosing suppliers for Soult Clothing, Anita looked for manufacturers that had taken steps to be ethically accredited, allow their workers to join unions and only work overtime hours voluntarily.
As an example, their Dhaka, Bangladesh supplier of organic cotton T-shirts is ‘Gold’ WRAP certified, BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) certified and a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, which shows a very high percentage of traceability and transparency from crop to loom, right through to garment manufacturing.
This wholesaler has also been a member of the ‘Child Labor Free Initiative’, and their dye and fabric houses all have 100% traceability. The factory in Dhaka is also a part of the Fire and Safety Accord ensuring adequate fire and safety training is at a high standard for all workers.
“Our organic cotton dress and a few of our other organic tees come from another supplier in Bangladesh which is a member of the ‘Fair Wear’ certification where they have received ‘Leader’ status – showing exceptionally high practises in regards to fair wages and freedom of association,” Anita says.
“They have a 19 person team in Bangladesh who monitors the factories daily ensuring ethical practises are adhered to.”
When considering where to manufacture their clothes, Anita says they saw the importance in ethically supporting an industry that relies on garment manufacturing.
“Although shopping locally within our own shores is something we support and encourage, it is also important to understand the scale of production that happens overseas and how necessary it is for companies to source from factories performing highly on ethical sourcing and production.”
The Soult Clothing garments are mostly made from organic cotton – an option that is soft and breathable enough for those with skin sensitivities and those who understand and appreciate the comfort of the material without the added chemicals.
All of their organic cotton sold is GOTS (Global Organic Textiles) certified and Oeko Tex Standard – meaning they are free from harmful chemicals and substances.
To avoid and reduce waste in their supply chain, Soult request that their items are not shipped in plastic, and they ship their items to customers using 100% recyclable materials that will break down easily.