The manufacturing and fashion industries have not always been known for their ethics. This is especially true for some of the countries where Ovae works, such as Indonesia, India and Nepal.
At Ovae we acknowledge that we have a moral obligation to ensure that in creating and selling our products, we ‘do no harm’. We take our supply chain seriously, as we do our responsibility to make choices that contribute positively to the lives of individuals and communities, but also to the fashion industry and our environment.
To aid our work, Ovae has developed an ethical mission statement and guiding principles.
A lot of these practices we already do, but we know we can always do better. These principles allow us to be transparent with our customers, so they know what to expect when they choose Ovae. But most importantly they guide our work, guide our future our decision-making, and ensure we never lose sight of what is important.
Ethical mission statement
Ovae is committed to always respecting and valuing our artisans, suppliers and customers, and in the development of our creations minimise any negative impacts on people or the environment.
- Know where our products come from and who makes them.
By knowing as much as we can about our supply chain, including where our leather, cotton, and other raw materials come from, Ovae can ensure that where possible, we make choices that minimise harm to people or the environment.
We regularly visit traders along our supply chain to understand as best as we can, the life journey of our raw materials. When this is not possible, we rely on advice from our local suppliers.
Likewise, we want to know the people involved in our creations. Ovae regularly visits our suppliers, and where possible spends time with the craftsmen, artisans and workers involved. We usually see the same smiling faces year in and year out.
- Work with suppliers that prioritise healthy and happy working conditions.
Some of our suppliers hold respected accreditations, and while we do not expect all suppliers to have this – many are so small that this is too bureaucratic for their set-up – we will only work with suppliers that we are satisfied share our values.
We want the people that work on Ovae products to be paid fairly, and to work in an environment that is safe, and free from discrimination or harassment. We want workers to be able to take time out for religious or cultural activities, and to have their rights respected at all times.
We visit our suppliers regularly to ensure that the environment maintains the above conditions.
- Maintain open and trusting relationships with our suppliers.
We have known many of our suppliers from before Ovae was born, and have developed long and productive working relationships.
We always enter new supplier relationship with the hope of working together for a long time, and aim to build a relationship based on communication and trust. These elements are essential in creating a truly collaborative partnership.
While we love hearing when things are going well, we want our suppliers to talk to us about their challenges. We are not a faceless corporation. We would never want our suppliers to feel that they had to work around the clock to meet an unrealistic deadline, or that we couldn’t come up with a better way of working.
- Prioritise ‘slow fashion’ with a focus on quality and longevity.
Slow fashion refers to designing, creating, and buying products for quality and longevity. Slow fashion encourages slower production schedules and ethical practices.
We want to be transparent about our production process, so customers can make informed choices. We will create unique fashion that lasts – we don’t want customers throwing our products away after a few wears because it has gone out of style or has not stood up to the test of time.
- Respect and preserve traditional artistic techniques.
Ovae products are inspired by the world around us. We love using traditional techniques, up-cycling vintage materials, and fusing the old with the new.
We are committed to honouring and preserving traditional handicrafts such as weaving, hand-block printing and embroidery. We value the role these skills have in securing an income for often-vulnerable communities, and in surviving cultural identity and heritage.
We will always choose hand-made and traditional techniques over ‘machine-made replicas.’
- Continually assess our practices to minimise negative impact on people or the environment.
We have a philosophy of continual improvement. We will always take an honest look at our practices to see where we can better support the people we work with, the environment and our customers.
We will ensure our suppliers understand our philosophy and values, and any responsibilities on them to help us honour these principles when producing our ethically made fashion accessories.