Is buying expensive the answer to buying ethically? Unfortunately not.
Vineyard Vines, a notoriously pricy and preppy brandname, is committed to fair labor practices and protecting human rights. They have signed the Social Compliance Agreement, as well as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 which seeks to be more open with consumers about their supply chain. They highly encourage their ‘production partners’ to not only meet their requirements but to exceed them yet they leave room in their policies for ‘ different cultural and legal systems’.
Yes, cultural awareness is important. No, it is not okay to use a cultural difference to exploit workers.
Vineyard Vines has great policies such as, frequent check of factory conditions, zero tolerance for worker abuse and child labor, and complying with labor laws. However, we have no way of really knowing if these are being enforced because Vineyard Vines has failed to disclose information on where their production is taking place apart from the small amount of stuff being produced in the U.S.
The only real record of foreign production of Vineyard Vines is a factory in Peru that was evaluated by the External Monitoring Report of the Fair Labor Association in 2010. This report found that workers were not being paid for overtime, the code of conduct was not posted in the workplace, and the bathrooms were filthy and many were out of order. That doesn’t sound like these real good people people are getting it real good.
Apart from their lack of transparency and violation of their own code of conduct, Vineyard Vines supports a culture of consumerism and spending by manufacturing expensive clothing for no particular reason except to sell to the preppy, beach-going, college students around the United States. The owners have claimed that they know who their customers are but are okay feeding into the wealthy upper class.
Vineyard Vines is not hopeless but they need to make significant changes before their supply chain can be considered ethically and good for all people.
Written By: Katelynn Behrens