QR Code is 'smart-trace-techno'
Winter 2012: Rapanui makes eco surfwear – that’s eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable. Set up in early 2008 by surfing brothers Mart and Rob Drake-Knight, the brand make clothing from natural organic fabrics in a Fairwear Foundation-audited, wind-powered factory.
“But really what they’re about is communication,” says Rob. “It's not that people don’t care about child labour, the environment, our climate - it's just they don’t always know. At Rapanui we make it easy for customers to see where their clothing comes from and how it is made.”
Through surfing, the entrepreneurial siblings saw first-hand the changing environment at their local beach and as inspired, unemployed graduates in a recession, they set off on an adventurous path. “If you can't find a job, make one,” said Rob.
The resulting collections feature bold surf inspired prints, subtle embroidery on bamboo, hemp and organic cotton T-shirts and polos and a range of hoodies, jeans and underwear. Rapanui aims to inform through the brand, mixing eco with trend - to make it fashionable for people to go green.
Innovate, inform and make a difference
How’s this for innovation? Find out where and how a garment is made at the touch of a smart phone button. Rapanui has now utilised open source QR code technology – a form of barcode - which is displayed as an image on their clothing swing tickets. Visitors to the retailer can scan the swing ticket on their smart phone and view interactive maps, images, and information about the product’s supply chain. That's what we'd call 'smart-trace-techno'.
The tool was developed by Rapanui and builds on their existing traceability and eco labelling initiatives. In 2010 Rapanui was the first clothing company to develop and display complete traceability for each individual product line on their website – from seed to shop.
Rob Drake-Knight continues: “We felt that it was time to literally take traceability for clothing to the man on the street. The fact is that most retail transactions still happen on the high street, it was therefore an obvious move to roll out our trace technology amongst our retail network and allow visitors to our stores the same experience as our online shoppers.”
The founding brothers are passionate about sustainability in clothing and see no reason why other high street retailers shouldn’t follow in their footsteps.
Mart Drake-Knight explains: “Clothing factories will do anything for their customers’ business, especially for large retailers and fashion brands. Could you really imagine top high street brands being told ‘No’ by any of their suppliers? That would never happen. There is almost nothing they will not do to make them happy, and so documentary proof of the origin of a garment, would be produced rapidly and willingly - if requested.
Proof of this? It took literally days to gather all the information about everything in our supply chain. And, to be honest, traceability is as simple as that. There is absolutely no reason why all clothing brands could not do exactly what we have done, and continue to do so, today.”
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