National Consumers League Label.

We are inspired by the White Label Campaign for Ethical Clothing, initiated by the USA’s National Consumers League in 1899. The League was founded by Jane Addams and Josephine Lowell.

Under the leadership of its first general secretary Florence Kelley, the group highlighted the inhumane working conditions and use of child labour in American factories. Their efforts were especially beneficial to poor working women, who suffered most under the bad conditions the League wanted to make the public aware of.

Unrecorded is dedicated to being a frontrunner in the industry’s current transition to adopting sustainable processes. One way we realise this change is by using ethical manufacturers and farms whose business practices are friendly to workers. It’s an under discussed fact that the fashion industry has always been exploitative, as the White Label campaign demonstrates.

The League would inspect workplaces and only allow clothes made in factories that passed their health and safety requirements to carry their White Label. This label stated plainly that an item was "made under clean and healthful conditions." This label helped consumers to become aware that apparel comes with a human cost. It was also a badge of pride for ethically minded consumers and brands, and encouraged the industry and government to improve working conditions.

We decided to add a simple white tag to our denim range before we learnt about this campaign, and we love the serendipity of the coincidence. We like the fact that a simple white label has played a role in alerting people to the fact that clothes shouldn’t come with hidden costs. We hope that the industry takes note of Addams, Lowell and Kelley’s work, plus the efforts of countless other women and men over the past centuries. The industry needs to see ethical and sustainable practices not as a trend but as a necessary and permanent change to what has until now been business as usual.

Text: Nicholas Burman