EUR 8 billion a year.
That's how much Swedish consumers alone spend on clothes, shoes and accessories. In other words, there's a lot of money to be made in the textile industry. In the race for profits, textile workers and the environment are often the biggest losers. Unfortunately, fair working conditions and environmental awareness often fall into the shadows when companies need to report pleasing figures to shareholders.
Dem Collective was founded in 2004 by Annika Axelsson and Karin Stenmar, much in reaction to the standard formula for clothing production. The idea was to show that it's possible to combine ecology, ethics and quality with good design. Now, four years on, Dem Collective has shown that it's more than possible to run a profitable clothing company without taking unfair advantage of people or the environment.
This means the workers who make our clothes don't have to work 80 or more hours a week for less than a euro an hour. It also means that your clothes are not made from genetically modified cotton or contains chemicals, hazardous to both people and the environment.You can look good at a reasonable price and with a clear conscience.
Transparency - a way to create trust and understandingGenerally, the process behind the journey a garment makes from the cottonfield to your hand is kept out of sight. At Dem Collective, we believe in transparency - along the entire chain. It's important to understand how the garment you wear affects the people who make it and the environment from where the raw materials are sourced. Our cotton comes from Agrocel Industries Ltd of northern India (www.agrocel-cotton.com). The cotton is 100% organic and the working conditions at the plantations are of high standards.
Dem Collective's clothes are manufactured in our own factory in Kadawatha, Sri Lanka.
Employment at Dem Collective shall provide a work environment that offers a sense of security, equality, and oppurtunities for vocational and personal development. All employees are paid wages on which they can support a family. This means enough money for three meals a day, healthcare, children's school fees and other essentials. Naturally, all employees have the freedom of association. Dem Collective's Articles of Association, which were drawn up in consultation with the employees, state that all employees are entitled to training and education. Whether that be basic schooling or further education. Employment should improve self-confidence! In the menu to the left, you'll find links to more information about all the different aspects of Dem Collective's operations - from the cotton seed to the garment in your hand.
What is the meaning of DEM?
Don’t Eat Macaroni
Our company name comes from the idea that the textile industry is much like the fast-food industry; cheap products are put on the market creating an unhealthy demand, social problems and a negative effect on the environment. The leading product for the fast-food industry in the US is called “Macaroni and Cheese”.
We took the name Don’t Eat Macaroni after a visit to Jamaica, where they have an ancient food tradition that’s called Ital food. Ital food is food that’s locally produced and free from exposure to harmful chemicals, it is ecological and natural. But during the trip we realized that the fast-food had managed to diminish even the most deep-rooted tradition.
Big American companies with their cheap products lead to more and more people following a faster, untenable lifestyle.The power that advertising has over individuals is huge; companies all over the world make a habit of just thinking of big profits without being socially and ecologically responsible.