The global pandemic has demonstrated how interconnected we are worldwide. Whilst we can celebrate global trade and international travel, there remains in many cases a sinister side to the manufacture of consumer goods.
Over recent years campaigners have raised awareness about the provenance of our consumer goods. The cheap T-shirt you might buy from a major department store chain. The electrical goods purchased online. A new summer dress from a fast fashion brand.
Campaigners have been challenging all of us with the integrity of such purchases. Are we confident in fair pay and working conditions for those making the products we select? What is the environmental impact of the factory's emissions? How, and from where, are the raw materials sourced?
Even within the UK we have seen a major online fashion retailer 'busted' by a Sunday Times investigation for selling brands made in sweatshop conditions in Leicester by underpaid workers.
At Dogs & Horses, you are always welcome to visit our London workshop. We respect our employees and their skills and artisan craftsmanship. So they are paid at least the London living wage and enjoy all the normal benefits you'd expect.
As for the materials we use, we have long-standing relationships with trusted UK and European tanneries and leather suppliers (leather is a byproduct of the food industry so it's also important to ensure animal welfare standards).
Our main metal fabricator (for all our fittings) is based in the Midlands and supplies the equestrian trade.
The thread we use for all the stitching comes from a specialist spinner (or 'spinster') in Italy.
Our leather off-cuts are recycled and re-purposed instead of simply dumped for landfill. Other waste is collected responsibly, for a fee, and much of it goes into recycling.
As for the product we make, the leather collar that goes onto your dog: it's arguably among the most sustainable products because to buy well is to buy once. We have had customers share images with us of a collar or lead that has withstood generations of their dogs. It's rewarding to know we've made a product that lasts.
This isn't to be self-congratulatory or to virtue signal. Simply, the spirit of the times compels us to treat each other, and our planet, with kindness. We do this, in part, by making informed choices as consumers. Let's reject the cynicism of cheap mass-manufactured items with opaque supply chains. Instead, let's make a difference by supporting businesses that are transparent and doing their best to live up to these principles.