Ethical production is just one part of the path to sustainability. Ethical consumption is another. One denim brand is demonstrating how the responsibility to act sustainably falls on everyone.
U.K. clothing label Yes Friends teamed with Germany-based startup Tip Me to give its customers the opportunity to tip garment workers directly. At checkout, consumers can add a tip of their choosing on select products, and decide if they want to receive updates on their impact. Workers then receive 100 percent of the tips.
According to the brand, the new partnership makes it the first U.K. apparel company to offer this service.
Eight-year-old Tip Me says it has already seen positive results. In its first year, half of all shoppers who bought from companies that offer Tip Me took advantage of the opportunity to tip their workers.
Each worker who participates in the production process has a personal profile on the Tip Me platform. Tips are fairly split amongst all who participated, and workers receive their share directly in their individual bank or mobile money account. Tip Me uses WhatsApp to stay in direct contact with the workers. Denim brand Dawn Denim, sneaker label Ethletic and Berlin-based apparel brand Hirschkind are some of the company’s current partners.
The move comes as garment workers face harsh working conditions and financial injustices. A new survey found that more than half of the survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster—the 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse of that killed 1,132—are suffering from deteriorating health, a four-fold increase since last year. Similarly, workers’ rights organization Clean Clothes Campaign reported that Adidas denied Cambodian workers of roughly $109 million in wages from April to May 2021.
The tipping feature debuts on Yes Friends’ new organic denim range for men and women. The range is sustainably produced at Evolution3, a factory in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, which attained a perfect rating from the Fair Wear Foundation for its ethical treatment of workers. Yes Friends first launched in 2021 with sustainable and ethical T-shirts for 7 pounds ($10) with a goal of selling 3,000 shirts, which it reached in just 13 days. It then shifted its sights to denim.
While many might associate sustainable denim with a higher price tag, the range is affordably priced at nearly 40 pounds ($48) for jeans and 60 pounds ($73) for a denim jacket. Yes Friends is able to achieve low pricing through its large scale and direct-to-consumer model.
The brand’s new denim collection is available now for preorder through May 25. Fits include mom, straight, slim and regular jeans, as well as an oversized denim jacket. Sizes range from XS-XXL for women and 28-38 for men.