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Supply focus

Sourcing wool for your products? A new standard

From Clothing Textile Exchange is working to develop a new standard on responsible wool. Here they explain what you can do to keep the welfare of sheep top of mind when sourcing wool. Image: From Clothing

Supply focus

Using down with a clear conscience

Ecoalf Textile Exchange explains how the new Responsible Down Standard works to protect the welfare of the geese and ducks in textile production. Image: Spanish recycled outwear brand, Ecoalf

Business focus

Profit Margins, Costing and Mark-up: The Issues

Sseko Designs How can your profit margin and costing strategy ensure your business is profitable, efficient and fair? We look at 7 important and controversial issues. Image: Sseko Designs

Market & sales watch

REFORMATION: How the brand is going from strength to strength

Ref coats As part of our on-going "Elements of Success" case studies series, we profile Reformation - the L.A. based brand that is rising to prominence amongst the American fashion scene.

Quickfire Q&A

5 minutes with... FAIR

We sit down with Siobhan Wilson the owner and head buyer of FAIR, an ethical fashion boutique in Brighton and online.

FAIR shop products

How do you know what will work when you’re buying for the boutique / e-shop?

FAIR looks for good quality pieces with simple designs and special details that really make the customer feel like they are getting a special item. We also look for a midrange price point and a reasonable minimum order level for new brands so we can test out new products with our customer.

What do you think makes a brand or certain product really stand out?

Fabric quality and sustainability is important (and our customers really appreciate this) plus great design and good styling. I think classic items that are made well and might have a subtle difference really appeals to us and our customer. We want designs that will last and are worth the price people are paying. We love working with brands that work with WFTO producers.

What do you think brands get wrong a lot – especially when they’re trying to get stocked in your shop? What should they avoid?

Quality and design cannot be compromised. Brands need to make things very easy for the customer and the retailer. Clear labelling is important especially to an ethical consumer. They shop very carefully and a well designed label can be a real selling point. International sizing, including for your target market, would be very helpful.

Above all test your product and make sure your fabrics are suitable for the design. It might look beautiful but it does need to be tested and worn before it goes to market. You need to get your pricing right to provide a competitive margin too as shops do have high overheads, especially in big cities.

Why will you be attending Brand Preview 2015?

I was very impressed with the large selection of new ethical brands in 2014 and it is very exciting to see the range grow. We can’t wait to see the collection in 2015 looking to complement the brands that we already offer.

I love seeing such a good mix of great fashion, design and ethics!