We've always shot straight and tried to give you guys a good look into how things work here at Finisterre and if there are any questions - we'll answer them. A couple weeks back a customer of ours asked a question we thought others may be asking and so a good straight answer we gave. Rad question James, wicked shout Debbie!

J's question:

Love your stuff – BUT was surprised when the latest purchase, Sastruga, shows as made in China! Previously, items made in Portugal – sustainable; low air/carbon miles? How come China ? I fully agree that the East is rising as we set in the West. Sri Lanka seems to be next on the trail. Balancing cost with ethics with delivery is no short conversation but any guiding thoughts appreciated. Keep up the good work. J,

Our response:

We’ve been manufacturing all of our products in the UK and Portugal since moving out of China five years ago, we’ve worked with some incredibly supportive and creative suppliers on the way, who have helped us to improve on the quality of our product year on year. During this time we’ve also built up a key relationship with Teijin, Japan – premium suppliers of recycled and recyclable closed loop polyester, which we use for our insulation styles, including your Sastruga.

Producing jackets in Portugal often means arranging shipment of fabric from Japan six months in advance of receiving the jackets into the workshop, also the YKK zips and Primaloft Eco filling used in the jackets are also manufactured in China. Whilst we always push to source alternatives closer to home, at present the technology and market for these quality trims is still to be found in the East. So from a localisation perspective our mission 2010/11 was to shrink the supply chain and bring fabric and component sourcing closer to production and to limit the time at sea and our overall carbon footprint of everything being shipped separately to Europe.

Working with similar small brands based in the UK who produce limited runs from China, we carefully researched and selected a premium Okotex accredited factory in China to produce our jackets and we worked closely with them to develop and attain the highest standards of production. We do not believe in accreditations for their own sake and we’ve found it’s not always black and white when it comes to sourcing, and that factories cannot be taken at face value. Some of the best and the worst factories we’ve found are in fact on our door step and equally some of the most technologically advanced and ethical factories are in China, and now that they are increasingly servicing their own internal market, it is a misconception that they represent the cheap needle they used to be.

2011 was quite a year for Finisterre and for every leap forwards we made, we’ve also highlighted areas we were already leading in and lacking in others. We have learnt more in the last year than in any other time I can think of and it has renewed our passion and commitment to what we believe in and to the people who believe in us. The long and short of it is we’ve decided to return all of our manufacturing closer to home, and you’ll find from February ’12 that 100% of our production is made in the UK and Portugal. We have come to this decision, not because of standards in China or because of price, but because we feel we have greater control and can affect change more within our supply chain through knowing our suppliers intimately, meeting regularly and growing together in terms of knowledge, experience and education. We are committed to the journey and know that there is still more to learn, so please keep the comments coming and I hope I’ve been able to answer your questions. Thanks James, I hope the sastruga is keeping you snug!

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