Published on 30/01/13
This year, children from the Clifton Hill Primary School have returned to school wearing ethically made dresses, jumpers, t-shirts and even socks! For the first time, a state school has changed schoolwear supplier to adopt an ethical uniform and support local industry.
The story started last year, when a group of parents got together to discuss the need for ethically made school uniforms. Olivia Ball looked at ethical alternatives for her son’s uniform and with the help of other parents, they put together a proposal. She got in touch with Ethical Clothing Australia to shift to accredited local schoolwear manufacturers, as she felt it was important to support this local initiative.
The proposal was unanimously adopted by the school council. Geoff Warren, Principal of Clifton Hill Primary School, explains they are in a transition stage this year: “We still have some stock left from our original supplier who couldn’t guarantee its authenticity, and we are now moving forwards entirely, taking on board ethical standards.”
Parents who coordinated the project, with the support of the school, expected to pay more for ethical schoolwear and were surprised by the competitive prices. As a result, uniform sales have been very successful.
The parents have volunteered their time – taking orders, communicating with suppliers and managing both the stock and the sales. The school has also provided necessary storage and financially invested in these new uniforms.
Local Melbourne manufacturer Qualitops provided the main garments (dresses, skirts, hoodies, t-shirts and sportswear) and the socks were supplied by local sock manufacturer Humphrey Law. The shoes are from a fair-trade brand.
Olivia admitted that: “If there were a middle-person, an ethical intermediary supplier, we would definitely go for that because this is a big amount of work for us.”
Hopefully, some manufacturers will soon come with a fully accredited uniform solution.