SUPREMEBEING® has been around for nearly 18 years. Starting as a hobby T Shirt printing business in Cambridge, England, it has now developed into an international brand serving over 100 countries, with a reputation for high-quality organic cotton T’s, Sweats and Hoodies, and a cult following for our quirky and intelligent graphic design.
OK, so that’s what we do. It doesn’t explain why we do it.
We design and make products we ourselves want to wear, because we can’t find these products in the marketplace. Sure, there are millions of printed T’s around, but to find well-designed ones that are ethically produced in organic fabrics is nigh on impossible. We believe we are not alone in thinking this.
We’ve discussed in an earlier Journal post just how damaging to the environment non-organic (ie most) cotton is. Knowing this makes it a no-brainer when it comes to choosing organic v. non-organic.
To illustrate the economics of a typical product we've done a breakdown of how a cheap £10 printed T Shirt from a supermarket is made. For a start you are paying the government 20% VAT, so it’s actually really an £8 product (£8.33 to be precise). The retailer wants a 2.7 to 3x mark up (at least) from their supplier to cover their costs, so now we’re looking at a cost price to them of say £2.75. The manufacturer needs a 100% mark up on his cost price to make it worthwhile for him, which means a production cost of around £1.35. This has also to cover shipping and duty from somewhere in Asia at say 35p per unit. This means your £10 T Shirt cost just £1 to produce. How? By slavery!
Let’s now look at what these slaves earn. The hourly wage rate in Bangladesh for a textile worker is 21 cents, in Cambodia 24 cents, in Indonesia 35 cents and in Pakistan 37 cents. Even working 12 hours a day, six days a week (the norm), in horrible working conditions, they’ll take home between $60 and $106 per month. This is obscene.
Buying cheap clothing from supermarkets and discounters, and even many well-known High Street retailers, simply perpetuates appalling employment practices and what is essentially slave labour.
Sure, for our ethically produced organic fabrics, printed by hand by trained craftspeople in well-managed and safe workshops in England, who earn proper wages and work sensible hours, you’ll pay a bit more than you would on the High St.
Nonetheless this is still a lot less than you could spend on many products from other designer brands, almost none of whom use organic fabrics. They spend their inflated margins on glossy advertising to create an imaginary world of beauty and luxury, which you, the consumer, ultimately pay for. We just give you great value.
At SUPREMEBEING® we try and offer great quality wearable products that you can not only look good in, but feel good in, year in year out, knowing that you’ve at least avoided contributing to the perpetuation of slavery.
So that’s why we do what we do.