When we were kids we thought that the clothes we saw hanging in shops were magically made by robots in factories. Then we learnt how to sew and realised that the ‘robots’ were human beings and unfortunately there was no magic involved.

We had the startling realisation that ALL clothes are handmade by SOMEONE.

Caves Collect began in our tiny studio in Melbourne, Australia and we (Sarah and Jo) used to sew every piece ourselves. We started with what little money we had managed to save ourselves, which meant for the first year or so we operated on a made-to-order basis. This meant that we’d receive an order on our website, we’d buy the fabric, just enough to make the piece, and we’d cut and sew it from start to finish ourselves.

As we grew, we could no longer keep up with the volume of orders, and we needed to outsource the making to keep up. We knew how difficult it would be to ensure ethical practices were taking place if we sent our production offshore so we were intent on keeping things local.

We were fortunate to find a small family run factory in Melbourne who we started giving the work to. Over the years we have built a relationship with this family and their workers who are as kind-hearted as they are hardworking. We are proud to know who makes our clothes and to know the conditions in which they are being made.

Producing locally in Australia means we can ensure workers have a safe working environment and are being paid a fair and living wage. Australian Labour Law, in accordance with the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Award, requires transparency at every level. By Australian Law fashion brands and factories must submit quarterly reports disclosing how many units are being made in a production run and piece rates are in accordance with the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Award.

The exploitation of workers in the fashion industry is prolific and truly devastating. This is an industry that hides dark truths and puts profit and margins above the value of those in its supply chains. This was evinced in the tragedy at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh when a garment factory collapsed in 2013, injuring thousands and killing 1,134 garment workers.

However, there is a shift taking place. People are beginning to become aware of the exploitation that is happening in the clothing industry and to ask questions about where clothes are being made and #whomademyclothes.

We are so proud to be a part of this fashion revolution and put people over our profit.