Wear are your ethics?

Just 2 years ago I was grappling with the question of ethical practice in the fashion industry, and how I could incorporate it into my business.

I read much about what ethical and sustainable means and it became clear that aside from the international standards, the definitions can mean quite different things to different people. Even when I see “Made in New Zealand” I know that it doesn’t necessarily mean ethical practice, just as “Made in China” doesn’t mean sweatshop conditions.

Coming into the industry as a greenhorn, I did use my gut instinct and natural sense of fair play to look at the industry. Just as I can walk into a health facility and judge quickly what is going on, I learned to ask questions and put on my naïve inquiry hat.

It’s a term I love, and it’s used in many professional fields. It’s about asking open, non-judgmental, and basic questions and allowing the person to explain why they are doing things, without feeling threatened. The wonderful thing was that in the process I developed real relationships that have stood me in such good stead through Covid!

Once I found the workshops I use, I love keeping up to date with the rhythm of their lives. Births, deaths, marriages, and sickness (yes, Covid has hit one of the workshops).

These photos are where Flaxbloom linen is made. Well-lit and ventilated, the women are paid above-award wages, double time on Saturday, and a meal and travel allowance.

With a monthly bonus to cover festivals plus rice, cooking oil, and eggs, no wonder they have been with the owner since the beginning of her business.


This is where the heart of Flaxbloom is, with women trained and paid well, producing beautifully crafted garments.