This week, I’m investigating the supply chain of the maxi dress I bought from Nefertiti Fashions, a shop based in Swansea, on Thursday, in time for an evening's socialising on the Friday.
I have got my hacker hat on, so to speak.
The dress sported the label ‘Stella’. From 50 pages of hits from Google, I cannot locate the company ‘Stella’ - there were 5 ‘Stella’ clothing returning hits, but they did not match the font and style of the logo, and I couldn’t find the dress in their online catalogues.
I returned to the shop over the weekend, and spoke to the shop assistant, who replied with some hostility, ‘what do you want to know that for?!’ I replied that I felt that every consumer has the right to know where their garments are sourced, and I would like to know where they bought the ‘Stella’ line from.
I was told, with some alarm, that the owner did the buying, and I was refused contact details - ‘we don’t give them out, sorry’ and bluntly told that I wouldn’t be contacted if I should leave my details.
partner boyfriend spotted a certificate with the name ‘Perrix Wholesale Ltd’ mounted upon the wall behind the cashier's desk. The search results were slightly more fruitful than the last - certainly less disheartening. Perrix do not appear to have a website, but there are several Company Directories the pointed me to their Head Office in Cardiff, and a good deal of hits returned in non-English languages.
At this stage, I wonder two things: is 'Stella' a clothing line from an unnamed company, and is Perrix Wholesale Ltd owned by a parent company, accounting for the absence of a 'company website'? (Though, this isn't an exhaustive conclusion - Topshop, Miss Selfridge et. al. have their own websites, despite being owned by Arcadia Group.)
For now, I’ve got a friend who works for parliament researching consumer rights, textile trade in the EU and the freedom of information act to see whether I can establish some kind of legal counter response if/when I’m refused details.
This is could, ultimately, lead nowhere but the shop assistant’s alarm and guarded attitude to the whole situation has, naturally, raised my interest. There could be another blog to follow shortly with some answers, but equally, there could not.