Nashville fashion house strives for equality in industry

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A Nashville-based fashion house is breaking ground in the industry.

ABLE is located on Centennial Boulevard in the Nations where they make clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry and now, they’re making waves by publishing their wages to show the dirty side of the fashion industry.

The goal is to hold people in the fashion industry specifically, accountable. Because all too often, the people who make the clothes don’t always make the money they deserve. 

“As far as we know, we are the first company that is in the fashion industry that is publishing wages. The reason we did that is because 98 percent of women in the fashion industry do not make a living wage which is a little bit above a minimum wage, which is a calculated wage where they can cover their basic necessities,” said Jordan Soderholm, Fashion director, ABLE.”

“That just wasn’t OK with us. That’s coming with the cost of us looking pretty everyday. That’s not something we are good with. So we wanted to make a change and let consumers know exactly what is happening.”  

One of ABLE’s many missions is to make people think beyond themselves when making a purchase. 

ABLE audited their Nashville location and their partners in Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico and Brazil and released all that information online.

Plus, starting next year, they will be putting labels on all their clothing, much like nutrition labels on our food. The labels will show the social impact of the garment.

“Think about nutrition labels, they are required now but when they first became a thing, all the companies fought it, because they didn’t want you to know how much sodium was in your soup or whatever. So we want to normalize that and make it a standard thing,” said Soderholm. 

“I think there is a common misconception that everything is made by a machine, even in the fashion industry I had that misconception. But when you get down to it, every product that you own is touched by multiple hands. When you are under paying for a t-shirt, if you are paying $14 for 3 t-shirts, that cost is ultimately affecting the workers. They are the ones that aren’t getting paid, the factory is still getting what they need to. The workers are still leaving and not able to put food on the table,” said Soderholm. 

Soderholm says they hope this kind of transparency will soon become the normal for fashion companies. “On behalf of everyone I work with, our goal is we want everyone to join. We don’t want this to be a differentiating thing for just our company. I would love for all the places that you typically shop, I would love for this to be the normal thing,” says Soderholm. 

For more information about ABLE, click here. 

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