Quality can of course refer to the clothes being fit for purpose, but also that the material has the right properties.
“We want to exceed our customers’ expectations, so the goal is to always improve. It is an ongoing process,” explains Rebecca Watkins, Quality Manager at Gina Tricot. “We, and our suppliers, test things like the garment’s appearance after washing, wringing, shrinking and dry and wet shedding. And of course we also test how the clothes behave during use.”
A hot topic in the fashion industry is contents of the clothes. The chemical contents are particularly discussed.
“We have a chemical list of forbidden and restricted substances,” explains Rebecca Watkins. “It is based on REACH, the European chemicals legislation.”
In addition to the REACH demands, Gina Tricot also has its own criteria. These may be substances that are being discussed, but which are not yet legally regulated. Gina Tricot joined the Chemicals Group in 2008 in order to constantly be up to date with the latest chemical knowledge. It is an industry group organised by Swerea IVF, which is a research institute for the textile industry.
All of our suppliers are given access to Gina Tricot’s demands for quality and contents before beginning production – and meeting our demands is part of all contracts. Continuous testing and spot checks ensure that they are adhered to. Our suppliers also carry out regular tests.
Gina Tricot recently added shoes to the range. When it comes to quality and content issues, shoe manufacturing is even more complicated than clothing manufacturing, as shoes often contain more components, which is why industry networks are important.
Gina Tricot has joined SSEI (the Swedish Shoe Environmental Initiative), a network for the shoe industry and whose goal is to create tools for more sustainable shoe production.
“In order for quality and content work to be efficient, a good dialogue with our suppliers is really important, but so too is being involved in industry cooperation,” says Rebecca Watkins. “It’s enjoyable work that never ends!”