Ethics & Sustainability
Our design mission is to make affordable pieces to make you feel gorgeous. We source the most beautiful and sustainable fabrics possible to bring those designs to life quickly, that don't come at a huge cost to you or the planet.
When selecting fabrics, we take into consideration water input, energy input, land use, eco-toxicity, greenhouse gas emissions, human toxicity, availability and price.
Currently nearly 10% of our collection proudly uses TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers. TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers have gained a commendable reputation for their environmentally responsible closed loop production process, which transforms wood pulp into cellulosic fibers with high resource efficiency and low environmental impact. This solvent-spinning process recycles process water and reuses the solvent at a recovery rate of more than 99%. Consumers can have the assurance that their fashion choices are not contributing to an adverse impact on the environment.
We have started including REPREVE into our products wherever possible. REPREVE transform recycled bottles into an amazing fiber. Billions of plastic bottles go into landfills every year. But now you can do something about it. REPREVE is the leading, most trusted, branded performance fiber made from recycled materials (including plastic bottles). We're not just finding new life for recycled materials. Compared to making what's called virgin fiber, making REPREVE offsets using new petroleum, emitting fewer greenhouse gases and conserving water and energy in the process. That makes a big difference for our future.
We also aim to make 75% of our garments with natural or recycled fibers (renewable, plant-based and have potential for circularity) or almost all natural fibers. By 2025, we aim to make 100% of our garments from natural or recycled fibers.
We are not perfect, but we put sustainability into the core of everything we do.
Here are a few ways we try to be sustainable:
We support the Breast Cancer Foundation. You can purchase Breast Cancer products in store with 100% of the proceeds going towards the Breast Cancer Foundation. We also have a donation bucket in store - SHEKOU matches 100% of these donations.
We sell a range of vintage products in our retail and on our New Zealand online store. We believe in circularity and giving products another life.
Our factory use a pattern making software that uses AI to intelligently map our pattern layout to optimise the fabric usage and avoid waste. This leaves us with minimal to no waste. Any bigger offcuts are then repurposed into face masks.
Our factory staff are our extended family. We are committed to achieving fair, safe and healthy working conditions throughout our supply chain. Our factory conditions are of high standards and are continuously monitored - as is the happiness and wellbeing of the team. All of the workers are paid fairly according to their skill level and role.
To keep our supply chain as sustainable as possible, we make sure our fabric suppliers share our sustainability vision and we strive to only use natural, sustainable or recycled fibers.
Silk is the fiber that silkworms weave to make cocoons. To obtain silk, distributors boil the worms alive inside their cocoons. Anyone who has ever seen worms startle when their dark homes are uncovered must acknowledge that worms are sensate—they produce endorphins and have a physical response to pain.
We have a strict NO SILK policy and will only use humane alternatives to silk.
Leather can be made from cows, pigs, goats, and sheep; exotic animals such as alligators, ostriches, and kangaroos; and even dogs and cats, who are slaughtered for their meat and skin, which exports their skins around the world. Because leather is normally not labeled, you never really know where (or whom) it came from.
Buying leather directly contributes to factory farms and slaughterhouses because skin is the most economically important coproduct of the meat industry. Leather is also no friend of the environment, as it shares responsibility for all the environmental destruction caused by the meat industry as well as the pollution caused by the toxins used in tanning.
We have a strict NO LEATHER policy and will only use humane alternatives.
We are working towards our packaging being plastic free! Our garment bags are made from 100% linen and are 100% reusable. We are currently using standard mailers and protection bags as we are yet to find a perfect solution that doesn't increase shipping costs and is totally durable and waterproof. But we want it to be better. If anybody wants to work with us to develop even more magical packaging solutions, let’s chat.
We have implemented waitlist products to our store allowing us to minimise the amount of excess inventory we produce. This will contribute to the reduction of waste produced in the fashion industry each year.
We strive to only use digitally printed fabrics. Digitally Printed Fabrics virtually eliminate the consumption of water and the discharge of noxious effluents. Using low volumes of liquid dispersions of Pigment Colours, therefor offering a positive environmental impact. Digital Printing also removes the need for water and post processing, since colour fastness is achieved by heat fixation alone as opposed to lengthy steam fixation and washing off procedures.
Ethical Trade Policy
Shekou requires that all suppliers adhere with our code of conduct.
1.1 There shall be no forced labour.
No supplier shall engage in or support the use of forced or compulsory labour. No supplier shall retain original identification papers and shall not require personnel to pay 'deposits' to the organisation upon commencing employment.
1.2 There shall not be any use of child labour.
No supplier shall engage in or support the use of child labour under 16 years of age, unless the minimum age for work or mandatory schooling is higher by local law, in which case the higher age will apply. Suppliers must verify the age of all employees and maintain copies of their workers proof of age.
1.3 People under 18 years of age shall not be employed at night or in hazardous conditions.
No supplier shall employ anyone under the age of 18 to work during the night. Hazards shall include, but not be limited to; fire safety, building safety, machine safety, chemical safety, and health safety.
1.4 There is no discrimination
Suppliers shall not discriminate in hiring, training, promotion, termination or retirement based on age, gender, race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation
2.1 All wages shall meet the local minimum standard.
Wages shall be at least sufficient to meet the basic needs of all employees.
2.2 Hours of work per week shall not exceed the maximum hours established by local law
Normal and overtime hours shall not exceed the maximum hours established by local law, and workers are to receive leave entitlement of at least one day off per working week.
2.3 Excessive overtime is prohibited.
Working hours should not exceed 55 hours in any 7 day period.
3. Working conditions
3.1 A safe and hygienic working environment shall be provided.
All suppliers shell ensure any and all working locations meet all local health and safety laws in their respected industry as well as take precautions to prevent any accident or health accidents.
3.2 Access to bathrooms and clean water shall be provided
4.1 No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
4.2 Physical, verbal and sexual abuse or threats are prohibited.
4.3 Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
4.4 All suppliers shall recognise the right of employees to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.