Behind La P.M. – A series of short interviews to the Founder of La Petite Mort, by Scott Jacobsen.
Session 4. Process & Production Chains
Let’s talk a little bit about processes and transparent production chains, what is a concern for you there? What should those that aren’t that area know?
I think when it comes to fair fashion or fair trade, whether it is eco-friendly or not, people is caring more nowadays. People want to know what they’re buying is made in an ethical point of view in social terms. That nobody has been exploited. That people are getting paid at a decent rate. There are no kids working on it.
People are getting more into questioning it and making others ask, “Who is making my clothes?” That is where the movements started years ago. People started to ask the brands. Who is behind all of this production? The one thing we see in the advertising world is cool people, young kids, wearing nice clothing, but then, what else?
When it comes to chains, if we ask the big brands, and we have for the last three years at least, they cannot tell who. They might say is made in Europe or we’re doing it in Morocco, but who?
What I try to do with this brand is try to keep a very short chain, that’s why I went to meet all of the suppliers myself. I tried out several. I put a lot of time into it. That’s why when somebody asks me, “So, where do you do this?” I say, “Here in Lima, Peru.” I am trying to the suppliers as my team, we text and write all the time.
When the small businesses start, you don’t have a production team. You do have different workshops. We get to establish a closer relationship. I help you; you help me. It is a rather strong relationship. At the end, even though they are not part of the company, they are important stakeholders.
That could be extended into suppliers in Peru. How does that extend to supplier chains and your own work?
When it comes to suppliers in, for instance, raw materials, we talk a lot about support, farmer’s support. People who are basically the first contact with Earth and do the hardest work. When I talked to my suppliers, and I chose certified organic, I couldn’t verified myself their living conditions – if they’re decent.
At first, I couldn’t because I am a small buyer and have to rely on their certifications. Then, when we worked with them more and more, they shared pictures and more of the news. It is a closer relationship now. I, personally, haven’t met them (the field workers). I wish I could go back next year to some of the fields. That would be amazing! For the moment, I am trusting that they follow what our certification process is.
That is when it comes to raw materials, when it comes to manufacturers that’s another world. In that case, I can go to see myself how the products are being made, whatever they price they say I take. I don’t bargain with them. I don’t think it’s fair, even a basic blouse. To me, to be honest, sewing is super difficult. (Laughs)
Some are not skilled, I’m not! So I do appreciate the work on it, even if it is something very basic. It is a skill.
About: Scott Douglas Jacobsen works with various labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing.