When Simi, the founder of Grab Your Garb, first moved to lovely Amsterdam, she was smitten by trendy fashion on display on the shops in Kalverstraat. So beautiful, so tempting. Her passion for ethical fashion nudged her to find out where and how it was made. Following trails of tiny, almost hidden links on the websites of the big brands, she came across the corporate pages with fancy videos featuring good-looking designers, modern factories and buzz words like sustainability. She was shocked to find out that wasn’t the complete picture! Many big brands selling in the Netherlands turned a blind eye to exploitation of people (especially women) who made clothes for them. In many cases, large brands didn’t even know where their stock came from. In some cases, these workers weren’t even paid. Quite unfortunate. It was especially sad for Simi because many of the artisans and workers being treated unfairly were from her own country. Speaking to many of you, she found she wasn’t alone – many of you felt terrible about this too.
She started Grab Your Garb to bring you clothes which were stitched by following ethical labour practices. This means that the tailors (and support staff) involved in creating your garb are paid a fair wage, which is well above the minimum wage, they are working in a free labour setting, they can plan holidays at will and in addition to local holidays and festivities and they have access to medical facilities when needed during work. Their fair earnings give their families a better life compared to those of peers often working for big brands at or below minimum wage and in dismal working conditions.
Her ethical suppliers are small companies that want to perform on an international stage. She’s currently only getting the clothes made in New Delhi, India as she speaks the language, knows the culture, and understands what a fair work environment would mean there. She speaks to the tailors to verify they’re being treated and paid fairly while her order is being worked on. Here you can see Simi with the tailors at the ethical workshop 🙂
Her orders are accompanied by a Certificate of Origin which certifies that all material used was produced in India, the world’s largest democracy; nothing comes from countries and regions where democracy isn’t the norm. To keep the carbon footprint low, she operates on low inventory. As her business grows she can afford few extra hands, and go one step further to guarantee that the fabrics used in her creations are also ethically produced. She has no reason to believe otherwise, but a rigorous verification never hurts. This is just the beginning!
The word “Garb” means special and distinctive clothing. She believes it is special because it is backed by fairness and it is distinctive because it is for you, someone who cares. Wear her unique and classy designs with pride because your garb is stitched by happy people.
She loves her customers and welcomes your feedback and suggestions. Contact her to tell her what she’s doing right or where she can improve. She looks forward to improving based on your feedback. She is only getting started!