In recent decades, tragic events in the fashion industry have led to increased expectations among consumers to know where, by whom, and under what conditions their clothing was produced. Although the need for supply chain transparency and accountability has grown, only 16 percent of fashion brands globally have publicly reported socially responsible efforts including disclosure of the full list of factories in their supply chain (Nimbalker et al., “The Truth Behind the Barcode,” 2016). The Fashion Transparency Index reports and ranks fashion brands’ business information across five key areas (policy and commitment; governance; tracking and traceability; audits and remediation; spotlight issues).
In this case study, students select and analyze one luxury brand and one mass-market brand listed in the Fashion Transparency Index. Using ratings and background material, students compare score differences across the categories for both their luxury and mass-market brands and identify the strongest and the weakest areas for each brand. Based on this comparison of the strategies, goals, and priorities of the two business sectors (luxury and mass), students address area(s) in which each brand need to improve in order to become more transparent and accountable. In addition, students provide recommendations as to how each brand might improve its transparency score, and describe and justify implementation priorities for differently positioned fashion brands.