our responsibility

gold-standard sourcing & manufacturing

overview

We know our sourcing routes, and the excellence and care from the places our garments are made. We’ve chosen them to ensure we meet both industry, and our own, standards that we’re proud to stand by.

Our garments are made across a select choice of locations in the UK, Italy, Portugal and China, and we’re always looking at other areas.

We visit all of our factories. We practise stringent and regular global factory compliance and ethical trade auditing for responsibility, sustainability and quality assurance to ensure all our makers are compliant, pay well and treat well.

All of our manufacturers carry Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) certificates, which proves their commitment to improving working conditions in the global supply chain. We also require their practise of Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) methodology, a valid third-party internationally recognised best-practise ethical audit.

we want to be clear about what we mean when we talk about factories.

READ ABOUT OUR FACTORIES…

The term ‘factory’ gets a bad-rap, and the reasons why are wholly justifiable. That’s why we want to be clear about what we mean when we talk about factories: they are the skilled makers and, in some instances, family-businesses around the world who we choose to partner with to meet both industry, and our own, standards that we’re proud to stand by.

We work with factories in the UK, Italy, Portugal and China, and we’re always looking at other areas. We visit them all, practising stringent and regular global factory compliance and ethical trade auditing for responsibility, sustainability, limited environmental impact and quality assurance. We do this to ensure skilled artisans who work in the factories are treated as such, are paid well, paid on time, and are provided with safe environments to work in.

But it’s a two way street. Our factories question us just as much. Our business must be viable in order for them to invest time in us.

Whilst our brand is new, our design team have years of experience. They have worked with some of our current factories for over 15 years. It’s a close, committed working relationship that we value. It allows us to reach out and act as partners, and innovate to try new ways of creating. It’s an exciting process for us both.

A joy for us is crossing the language divide, having to translate over the phone with Italian speaking local pattern cutters who share our passion for design and quality. We are constantly learning from each other. They are an integral part of the les girls les boys family.

Compliance and auditing

Time spent on carefully choosing the right sourcing and manufacturing takes just as long as our time on design. We see this as an equal process. Our factories all hit high standards of Kitemarks, the industry standard for manufacturing routes that must be audited. Most of our fabrics have the same high Kitemark standard, and are global industry standard OEKO-TEX approved.

All of our manufacturers carry Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) certificates, which proves their commitment to improving working conditions in the global supply chain. We also require their practise of Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) methodology, a valid third-party internationally recognised best-practise ethical audit.

Innovation and technical excellence

Our underwear is made in the world’s best lingerie factories, prized for their fit, manufacturing and service. Developing lingerie is long and technical, requiring highly skilled experts for the best results. Each size must fit and perform like no other item of clothing. The bras we make are stress-tested for ultimate fit, wear and durability. This is the reason why good bras are high investment pieces.

We’ve worked hand-in-hand with our seamfree factory in Portugal who have been open to pushing innovation with us from the very beginning. They dropped their minimums low for us in good faith, as we worked closely with their technician to ensure stitches, yarn count, and dye lots are all perfect. They guide us in our decisions on dyes, offering completely natural alternatives that are certified and meet our standards of zero-toxin fabrics. They’re helping us create a new future with seamfree that doesn’t waste precious fabrics.

Without these types of innovations, knowledge base, and connections, our designs wouldn’t be possible.

Our factories support us as much as we support them

As a new and independent label we can’t offer our factories large quantities to produce, so instead they partner with us because they believe in what we’re trying to do.

We want to reverse mindless fabric waste in the industry. The factories we work with help us to make this possible. As much as we support and champion our factories, they support our brand just as much.

They know and share our values, and we’re breaking new ground together.

It is our collective responsibility to extend the life-cycle of garments by being mindful of their journeys. From make and delivery, to how they’re treated after purchase.

READ ABOUT OUR GARMENT JOURNEY…

Let’s talk about journeys: the ones every single one of your garments make. The ones you’ll find here, at les girls les boys, the ones in your wardrobe, the ones you clear out, and every garment you choose to purchase throughout the course of your entire life.

When you start to think about these collective journeys, it can get overwhelming. For us, it’s why we design everything for a reason. A real reason.

We do this through considered, purposeful design and bespoke fit-for-purpose fabrics that enable you to buy once, and wear forever.

Because, in truth, how we make and look after things – whether they be clothes, our technology, furnishings, or anything else – matters more than what we make. It’s all the previously ‘invisible’ elements that we must be conscious of looking out for, to talk about, and to consider when we make new acquisitions. At les girls les boys, our awareness of garment journeys trickles across our design, manufacturing, responsibility, and operations.

For us, there are three stages to garment journeys:

1. How we make it

We spend most of our time figuring out how to best make, rather than design, garments. We consider the fabrics we’ll use, based on the end-function of the garment: does it need to be naturally antimicrobial? How should this feel when it’s worn? What versaility can it offer? How will it be truly useful? What does it say to the rest of the world?

From symbolic, to individualistic, to collective, there is a whole world of applied thought and effort that pre-dates each of our garments. This smart design thinking extends to working with the best factories we can, the ones that pay and treat people as they should, that ensure safety and wellbeing at work, and are in places we can ship from with minimal environmental impact.

Our factories and makers are our audited and accredited partners. They do not engage in child labour, discrimination, unfair working hours, or any unsafe practises. We know about the machines they use, the regularity of their employee pay, and whether or not they use subcontractors – a way for manufacturers to hide unacceptable, intensive working conditions. In short, we work with our factories because we know we can trust them.

2. How we get it to you

Balancing the protection of your garments in transit and limiting our impact on the environment is a balance we’re constantly striving to get right. We’re proud to be able to say that the majority of our packaging is not only recycled and/or recyclable, but also reusable. Our subtly branded compostable zip-bags, large and small, function as gym bags, travel wash bags, on-the-go small essential organisers, and even bags to bed your favourite plant in. We all must reuse first, recycle second. We are working to make our packaging 100% reusable and recyclable in the future.

3. How it’s looked after

As a purchaser, your responsibility is to educate yourself on the right fabrics to choose, the information to look out for, the questions to ask, and how to care for your items once they’re delivered to you. 20-30% of a garment’s carbon footprint is determined once it has been purchased. The more you care for your garments, the longer they last. Garment care is its own ecosystem that covers the detergents you choose to use, the methods in which you wash and dry, and the way you maintain each item in your wardrobe. Be kind to yourself and others learning to shoulder this responsibility. Be comforted by the many hands that work to design, make, and get your garments to you, and that by empowering yourself with garment care knowledge you can, in turn, look after them.



Les Girls Les Boys

Les Girls Les Boys

Writer and expert