Hello. Thank you for coming to learn more about our ethics and practices at TŪNIQ. Only through radical transparency in everything from clothing to the meat industry to technology and beauty, can we begin to reverse some of the harms of industrialization, colonization, and capitalism.
Unlike the fast majority of fashion brands in the world, who don't know where their raw materials came from or who made their clothes, TŪNIQ has created our own supply chain so that we are in full control of production from end-to-end, raw fiber to finished garment, sheep to shop.
We have three things which we believe are sacred and which we hope to protect and nourish through TŪNIQ:
- Workers are entitled to work from their homes and on their own schedules. They own the means of production and freely choose to produce as much as they wish.
- Within reason, we never negotiate with the asking price our artisans have named. Quite frequently, we offer more when we believe a quoted rate to be too low.
- We distribute 50% of annual profits amongst all artisans in our cooperative, if they choose to accept it, so that they share in the fruits of their labor, the ownership of TŪNIQ, and are not alienated from their labor. We believe profit sharing is an important tool in combatting global wealth inequality and capitalist centralized power.
- We do not share our workers information or photos & videos of their faces without permission.
- At this stage, the entire founding team at TŪNIQ is working on a volunteer basis, and we have not paid ourselves one cent of revenue. We will not feel at peace paying ourselves until we have secured this cooperative and the livelihoods of our artisans.
Like many of you, we have thought a lot about colonization and the need for reparations. And we've wondered why, if the poor former colonies of the world are essentially the ones producing everything that the wealthy former colonizers of the world are buying, why isn’t that benefiting those countries? Why isn’t that bringing about the redistribution of wealth that it should be resulting in and that it has the potential to create? It has the potential to be the basis for the self-empowerment of the Global South. Instead, it seems to only be further impoverishing us.
The reason, we've learned, this isn’t benefiting them is because their labor is being exploited by Western corporations who take all of that generated wealth and the profit margin for themselves. In fast fashion for example, you have women in Bangladesh making 5 Zara shirts a day getting paid a few dollars a week while Zara charges $80 or more per shirt. This is happening in almost every manufacturing industry where products are mass produced outside the West and brought back to be sold at cheap prices.
It is just as Marx aptly said that the defining feature of the modern economy is that those who own the means of production get richer and richer while the worker "becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and size. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates. The devaluation of the world of men is in direct proportion to the increasing value of the world of things. Labor produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity." (Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844)
For all of these reasons, we believe it is our duty to ensure that the labor of our artisans humanizes and enriches them the more that they work, rather than commodifies and impoverishes them.
- We conceal the faces of models in order to fight against the rampant commodification of the unique visages of real people, to focus your attention primarily on the product, and to avoid contributing to harmful beauty standards perpetuated by our online culture around face photography.
- We believe sizing charts implicate serious ethical and moral issues. For too long, the fashion industry has taken a women's size 4 and simply scaled her body proportions up and down for all other sizes. We believe this contributes significantly harmful body standards and to exclusion of community members. This is why we chose instead to begin with a US women's size 10, to create designs and size proportions that are much looser-fitting and do not sexually objectify men or women, and to reflect proportions such as wider hips or thighs, that are too often left out of the industry or made to feel ugly. This was difficult work, and it is ongoing as we adapt all our sizes and as we adjust with your feedback, but it was important for us to undertake it.
- We offer products that we firmly believe nourish and are of benefit to our customers lives, body and soul, rather than harm them.
- We do not pay for intrusive advertisements of any kind, especially not on social media platforms. This is for many reasons. Such advertisements mine your personal data and violate your privacy to "target" ads towards certain demographics. We also believe the over-saturation of our lives with constant advertisements that we do not choose to see is harmful to our psyches and peace of mind. We also do not use language in our marketing which contributes to the harmful culture of consumption and soul-degradation perpetuated by modern capitalism (such as, "must-haves"}. We believe in creating a beautiful offering which is available to those who seek it (for example: online searches, marketplaces, and trade shows, etc.)
- We offer fair and honest pricing, working hard to be accessible to all communities and all classes. We do not overly markup goods or seek to inflate prices to appeal to "luxury" markets, despite meeting that standard with our quality.
- We do not steal unrecognized and uncompensated designs from other cultures, particularly if they are in the Global South and have had their culture colonized and exploited for centuries prior.
- Through the direct to client model and other measures, we ensure that the vast majority of earned revenue and expenses remains within the hands of communities in the Global South to combat the growing global wealth and power gap.
- We strive to educate our customers about the work that goes into making clothes across the garment industry, and the harms resulting from negligent and exploitative practices, so that they can make informed, ethical choices. We include information about the making of our products in numerous places on our website, including on many product pages and in our Meet the Makers section.
- We seek to offer a soul-nourishing experience and connection on our website that goes beyond being a mere online store and seeks to create change in the world through our online platform for modern ethicists, The Oasis Journal.
To be frank, we used to be somewhat ashamed at TŪNIQ that we started a business. The pursuit of profit seemed to us, a corrupt impulse, and we wished we could help these artisans without seeking to make money off our customers. But, further thought and experience has taught us that of course humans traded with one another and did business long before the modern era which has been so destructive. Such premodern forms and cultures of trade can inspire ours today.
We believe that trade should not be about the relentless pursuit of profit. This was not God's design in creating the blessing of human commerce. It should be about sharing and generating benefits for everyone. Every step of the way should bring benefit and blessing into the lives of everyone involved, not destruction. Our artisans support themselves and fulfill their love of their craft, our customers get to purchase beautiful unique products at fair prices and engage with a business that enriches their soul and humanity, and we get to work in accordance with our values and support ourselves as well as explore our ideas for generating a more just world through The Oasis Journal.
Where there was nothing, through loving labor, we can generate benefit for all. That's our economic philosophy.
- All of our pieces are made from 100% organic, locally sourced and handmade materials without the use of any toxic dyes. We do this to protect the environment from harmful chemicals and to boycott the destructive cotton and wool industries, as well as the tremendous pollution caused by the synthetic fabric industry. Please note: this is with the exception of our chechia hats, which are currently produced by artisans who use 100% wool but do apply synthetic dyes. We are actively working with them to experiment and create alternatives, taking the risk for failed inventory on ourselves.
- Our packaging is plastic-free, hand-wrapped, and 100% backyard compostable.
- Our entire workflow is plastic-free, and we reject any single-use plastics in all aspects of our work, even beyond packaging.
- Our production process is as energy-efficient as possible, relying for nearly every task on human power, rather than electricity.
- Our Co-op from end to end is carbon negative, regenerating the soil with every textile.
When it comes to our fabric, our wool is raw, untreated with any synthetic dyes or treatments, local and hand-woven.Some of our oldest linings for wool coats were made with synthetic blends, which we will discontinue and replace with organically-dyed cotton once all stock is sold. We offer wool products that rely on natural colors produced by sheep, rather than injecting them with toxic dyes which are harmful to the soil and the health of workers. We continue to experiment with local plant and herb dyes.
We are also proud to say we have finally been able to cut plastic (including plastic tape and labels!) completely out of our packaging and are instead protecting your pieces with 100% recycled paper boxes, large paper flour bags, staples, and jute thread.
Please watch this video for a transparent look at our process of hand-producing every one of our pieces in harmony with the rhythm and lives of local communities
All TŪNIQ pieces are manufactured from start to finish, raw material to completed piece (sheep to shop, we like to say), by hand by artisans in North Africa using natural materials. We partner with shepherds who sell their unprocessed sheep's wool which is then handspun into thread, dyed using local plants and herbs or left in natural hues, woven into fabric, cut and sewn, and finally embroidered and finished in our cooperative. This process is a far cry from widespread industrial textile production which uses abusive labor practices and carcinogenic chemical fabric treatments from start to finish. Unlike the vast majority of clothing companies, we make the clothing we sell in house and are therefore able to create and tailor every step of the process to our standards, which are to do absolutely no harm to communities or the environment and to seek blessing and benefits for all at every step.
Below is a map of Tunisia, our main location of work at the moment, showing the towns and cities we work in. It is not uncommon for a single garment to pass through most of these cities as the wool is transformed to the final piece by artisans with varying specialities all over the country.