The industry norm is hiding from big questions when it comes to sustainability - it's seen as easier to pretend it doesn't exist than to have difficult conversations. We don't believe in shying away from complex conversations - we believe in having them so that you can decide whether we are a more sustainable solution for you or not. So here are our responses to questions you SHOULD be asking all brands you shop from!
Why do you release launches so frequently?
At TALA we deliver items to be thought-out investments not just for one season. We release collections that are data-driven, and responsive according to what our TALA community wants. Being a social media-driven brand, we can understand Team TALA's likes and dislikes, and with every launch, we have learnings along the way. When we are releasing a new collection, we buy in low quantities to start, to test interest before ordering more later in the year according to what we learn. An example: we initially dropped our DayFlex flare in one length, and listened to community feedback to now offer it in 30" and 33".
At the same time, 50% of our customers each month are new. So while it might look like each collection is designed to fill up the same people’s wardrobe, continuing to innovate allows us to reach new people, introducing them to the more responsible alternatives to fast fashion that TALA is committed to providing. It’s important for us to keep disrupting and changing shopping habits to prioritise long-lasting, conscious buys over fast-fashion steals.
Collaboration is essential to propel industry disruption, challenge the status quo, and work together to be better. Brands need to support each other through navigating sustainability, to share knowledge and resources to level each other up.
Choosing to partner with a retailer to stock TALA was a big decision, and one we didn’t take lightly. We wanted a partner who really understood the brand and our values, and wanted to work with us to amplify what we were already doing. Not only do they share aligned values with a stringent sustainability compliance programme, but our aim is to disrupt and challenge the status quo, we can not do this by only targeting the niche of super-sustainable shoppers (we love them too), but we want to compete with the big players, to be accessible to be seen by those that otherwise may choose fast-fashion, to show them more sustainable choices are in reach.
Why do you work with China?
At TALA, we are aware and informed of global social and environmental rights issues - our awareness and disgust with the exploitation of people and the planet were the reason that TALA began, and are why fairness and equality are core to why we started, to show that better can be done as an industry. We would not be working with a factory that was involved in poor human rights of any kind. Every collection we create is only done so after the accreditations of the factories are confirmed; every supplier signs our Code of Conduct to ensure human rights are upheld to standards set by the UN agency, the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The geographical location of where your factory is isn't a confirmation of everything being OK (ex: manufacturing in the UK doesn't mean acceptable working conditions and manufacturing in China doesn't mean poor working conditions). So instead, we rely on third-party accreditation. This includes the globally recognised SEDEX SMETA Audit for social and environmental standards, and the WRAP certification for responsible sourcing (which means not just the factory itself but also the materials used - cotton for example has been particularly problematic for some brands, and we have clear oversight over the sourcing of all our materials).
Our mission is to challenge the fashion industry to do better - to make more sustainable options more accessible - from materials to extending our sizing. This mission includes production and includes challenging our partners, even (some might say especially) in China. We have an incredible relationship with this factory in particular and aren't comfortable with tarnishing an entire country as that in itself can be part of the further entrenching of prejudice.
We are proud of our growth, but the fashion industry is a massive mountain to climb, so we'll focus on that while partnering with factories that align with our values. We understand that if production in China is a deal breaker for you, we will continue to be as transparent as possible so you can make decisions you feel confident in!