Boston-based company Industrial Revolution II, or IRII, is a factory that provides production services to apparel brands and fashion designers who value responsible sourcing practices. IRII runs a production plant in Haiti to support the local workers there and improve their living conditions. Half of its profits go to humanitarian projects. IRII offers a complete package from design services to producing sample collections, pattern making, graphic design, cutting, sewing up to packaging.

Why did you start IRII?
First of all we were all activists before so were already aware of social and ecological problems. We saw that there was a lack in creating a different model of charity with a sustainable business so we started IRII.Apart from the humanitarian aspect we also see the economic part. What we do is as an investment in human capital. If you make sure your workers can make a living and you provide food, education and healthcare you can create a consistent turnover because your workers are happy and satisfied. That creates a higher efficiency.

How flexible is the business model in terms of working facilities or clients?
This model is replicable in any part of the world. We currently run the project in Haiti but plan to extend it to other countries, for example in Africa.The manufacturing capacities are mainly set for smaller to mid-size customers. Right now we work with brands such as Boxercraft and Threads for Thought. But we also want to start engagements with larger brands and are approaching big players such as Walmart.

Is the whole approach not too utopic to reach a broader level?
I think it is a non-utopic goal. Because I think it is not utopic to influence consumers regarding the purchasing decision they make for fashion. The Bangladesh catastrophe got massive press coverage so people do become more and more aware.And the media are creating awareness also for sustainable and social aspects of apparel. The consumers need to be informed and that can only happen through education and awareness–via campaigns, social media, but also through promotion by our partners and supporters such as Joelle Adler, Donna Karan, Fern Mallis or Matt Damon. Creating awareness needs to be done in a positive way, not by pointing fingers.We are at an early stage with that and it will still take some time, for sure it takes another 15 to 20 years until it will be a big trend.