Zara + Minimal Cotton T-Shirt

overall rating:



JeLisa Marshall
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There is a lot of text to sift through to get the tea on this t-shirt! It made me think about accessibility as it isn’t easy to read at all. Could some of the information be condensed into a video or visual? How about connecting it to the product page? It isn’t entirely clear how it relates to the t-shirt, but key issues like environmental health and worker’s health are mentioned through several different initiatives. In comparison to other brands, Zara has a lot more to show as far as sustainability is concerned but with its size and scale it should be much better! 

What it's made of:


The product page clearly states this t-shirt is made from 100% cotton. In order to find out more about the type or how it is grown, customers have to browse through other parts of the website - like the “Join Life Materials” section. It explains that the brand uses 3 different types of cotton: ecologically grown cotton, better cotton, and cotton in conversion to ecologically grown cotton. Which of these were used in the t-shirt? Also, where was it grown? These are simple answers to provide. So, I am curious as to why it was not shared. Adding the fabric origins to the description can help customers further assess the sustainability of the t-shirt.

How it's made:


The brand explains that it uses a closed cycle process when dyeing and washing this t-shirt and their other clothing that reduces both water consumption and water pollution by using only a small amount then cleaning and reusing it. But… How much of an impact does that make if production is still high - or increased, even? The only figure I could find on the website regarding this is the goal of reaching 25% reduction of “supply chain water impact” over the next 3 years. What is it currently? How much water did this t-shirt save? Is this confusion by design to trick customers? Glancing over the website, there is no information visible regarding the retailer’s carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions to show why or how the goal is important. What about the transportation impact? How much of the fabrics are shipped to production facilities to be cut and sewn then shipped elsewhere to be sold? I think there needs to be a better explanation for customers to understand what this means for the t-shirt and the full collection.

Who makes it:


Zara works with almost 9,000 factories across the globe. Whoa! The breakdown? The website shows that 3,179 produce raw materials, 120 cut, 4,315 manufacture, 305 print, 295 complete and 209 dye and wash. The origin? The “Suppliers” section of the website lists Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Morocco, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, China, Brazil and Argentina as possible locations for any part of production. It would be nice if the retailer could get specific, so customers can better understand how far their clothes have traveled and under what conditions it may have been made! Is it not provided because it is not tracking by product or what is the reasoning? At any rate, there is a “Worker at the Center Stage” program that helps to address the specific needs of each of the communities by providing strategic plans around worker participation, living wages, gender, diversity and inclusion, occupational health and safety, migrant protection, social protection and protection of worker’s rights in raw materials production. There is a link to the Inditex website that gives a bit more details about each of the “impact areas” as there are no measures shown in the section to indicate what that looks like for each worker. It is stressful to read, but I suppose it boils down to there are efforts being made to ensure workers are seen and heard and protected. This too should be linked on the product page. Despite all the aforementioned, the question still remains. Who made this t-shirt?