Made in…

Made in…

I’m going to start this off by saying this is in no means research or 100% factual, this is based on personal experiences whilst taking the “un-beaten” path through the awe-inspiring Turkey from Bodrum - Anatayla to Nevershir/Cappadoccia & finally Istanbul. What we saw, heard, spoke about and felt as Women sourcing products through an ethical lens's.

There have been big movements over the last few years, placing a spotlight on “who made my… insert product” and urging us all to question where our consumed products come from, who makes them, how are workers treated, what are they paid & what conditions do they work in…? Begging us to question our choices as consumers, as humans. A lot of brands were questioned, spot lights shone on markets around the world & I think (hope) a lot of us started to shift our consumer choices to be a little more conscious where possible. However, with green washed campaigns and also out right lies - it’s not always that easy to make a mindful decision, a label or campaign can often share a diluted & deceiving picture and so, as we drive past refugee camps and factories in Turkey - I asked myself the question, what does “made in Turkey” really mean?

Like I said earlier, this is not research - this is based on what I have personally seen and felt and you are welcome to take from this piece what you will.. but I couldn’t release a collection from these regions, sharing the beauty of sourcing from incredible makers.. without also sharing my experiences that were not as fulfilling.

As google maps takes us through the countryside, passing tractors and not a single tourist for miles - we are spoilt with beautiful green fields and mountain ranges, but hidden in plain sight are also tents that I understand are filled with a mixture of both Turkish citizens displaced since the recent horrible earthquakes & refugees (“temporally protected individuals and families”) from Syria. I feel a mix of both relief that they have found a safe haven and a somewhat roof over their head, but also a harshness towards the reality of what life in a tent, vulnerable to all the natural and economic environment throws their way would look like. 

Through limited research & speaking to a couple of locals, it seems that as well as farm work, a lot of Syrian Refugees end up working for less than minimum wage in garment factories - Men, Women & Children. Joining many Turkish citizens who have been faced with the threat of loosing their income, if they don't continue to work through the devastating aftermath of the recent earthquakes. states that with few legal opportunities to earn money, many Syrian refugees seek work in Turkey’s ‘informal’ garment sector. Where workers, including children, can be subject to poor working conditions and very low wages. Ethical Trading explains.. Turkey is now the third largest exporter of garments and leather goods to Europe after Bangladesh and China. However, it is an industry with a large, unregulated sector. Traditionally, workers have also faced many difficulties. These include long working hours, poor wages and gender discrimination.

A Clean Clothes Campaign recently investigated into working and wage conditions in Istanbul and Izmir - “By interviewing hundreds of workers the researchers learnt that garment workers are barely able to sustain themselves. Workers only survive by constantly juggling debts, holding multiple jobs or giving up education for work. “Because I have debt, my child quit his education and started working” reported one worker.”

One thing I noticed, when talking to acquaintances we made along our journey, is that many are very open and honest about the dark side of this industry and want us to know / make better decisions. The reality is that, you have to ask questions & have hard conversations and not just trust a label. 

A side note.. Made in Greece, does not always mean the product is actually made in Greece either, often these products are made in Turkey... with little transparency around where and by who. Labels are cut off or products are simply "finished" in Greece (or other EU countries), allowing them to add their name to the label. This is something we learnt while talking to other values-led business owners in Greece, as we traveled through the islands - meeting wonderful Greek makers who are keeping "locally made" alive in their region. 

Made in Turkey can also mean something beautiful - and there are many who support local and run values led businesses. We were lucky enough to be able to connect with likeminded individuals and values led businesses to curate our collection - and this trip truly highlighted to us how important it is to travel, connect and to meet the artisans and companies we work with, getting to know the places in which we are consuming from.

We can never be perfect & as Husk and Honey - we promise to keep doing better, learning, asking questions & sourcing in the most sustainable and conscious way we can. 

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