Birthdays in lockdown are a challenge. But at Ninety Percent, we would like to invite you to celebrate with us, on our third birthday since launching this pioneering brand in 2018 to change how we make fashion #ForTheWorldWeWant.
We set out to create a brand that would benefit not only our customers, but the producers we work with and the planet we all share. We began Ninety Percent with a different mindset that focused on transparency, environmental responsibility and a more equitable distribution of profits so that the workers at the mills and factories who make our clothes are not left behind.
We are accountable to you, our customer as well as to the workers we employ. Unlike many brands, we know who makes our clothes because we work so closely with our factories, Echotex in Bangladesh, and Echotextil in Turkey. Both are state of the art factories. Echotex was the first factory in Bangladesh to offer health insurance for all workers, fair wages, productivity bonus, and a free lunch and dinner, every day. The wellbeing of the workers is our highest priority, and they have invested over $2m in fire safety infrastructure and management.
Alongside ensuring safety, we have the least possible impact on the environment whether that’s through the organic raw materials we choose, GOTS, BLUESIGN, ZDHC, OEKO TEX certified environmentally safest dyes and chemicals that we use, the responsibility to reduce our waste, our water stewardship programme, or the work we do to reduce carbon emissions in our factories.
Echotex is a LEED Platinum certified establishment and also rated Platinum on The Higg Index.
Nobody said this would be easy. But we have always been very open about how we do business. By giving away 90 per cent of all distributable profits we have created a new business model that is designed to give back more than it takes.
A fashion company that together with our customers we aim to create a movement to make a positive difference with all our actions.
We believe that through business we can make maximum change with our profits. The idea was to turn the traditional business model upside down and formulate a new kind of capitalism where success is not about the bottom line but about the positive impact we can make. You choose from a range of charities including the Children’s Hope Foundation that is very close to our hearts – improving the lives of children living in the slums of Dhaka in Bangladesh – and War Child. We support animal conservation through Big Life Foundation and WildAid. And because we believe in the potential of every human being, we support BRAC an NGO with a particular focus on women and girls.
“It is perhaps a mad concept,” says founder Shafiq Hassan, “but it was developed with real passion that is alien to the traditional business culture. Our life experience has taught us to focus on two aspects, protecting the most vulnerable wildlife and environment plus disadvantaged women and children.”
While the last year has been challenging for everyone, particularly the garment workers many of whom have lost their livelihoods as a result of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, Ninety Percent has been able to weather the storm and protect the workers in our supply chain. We believe this is as a result of the values we hold dear.
We set out to design longevity into our clothes by making products that are relevant. So one of our birthday landmarks must be when Michelle Obama chose to wear a Ninety Percent vest. A small thing to get excited about, you might think. But we believe the basics are as important to get right as the jersey dresses we know you love, the luxurious track pants and hoodies you’ve pretty much lived in over the past months of lockdown, and the perfect cotton shirts and T-shirts that have become your wardrobe staples.
We have learnt that the balance between pared back, confident design and the finest GOTS certified organic cotton, or responsibly sourced Tencel is one that works for you as well as the planet. And we are constantly working to improve, finding ways to rework our waste into our collections and moving with new technology and textile innovations. We are proud of our teams who design and make our clothes, sharing the values of Ninety Percent for a fairer, kinder fashion industry.
So, we hope you will join us and give three cheers for our seamstresses, suppliers, designers and retail partners. Three cheers for the causes we all continue to support. And three cheers for you for voting with your wallet and choosing Ninety Percent – #ForTheWorldWeWant.