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 on the vulnerable. We commend you for seeking this information for yourself.
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 farmers who sell their unprocessed sheep's wool which is then handspun into thread, woven into fabric, cut and sewn, and finally embroidered and finished in our cooperative. Unlike the vast majority of clothing companies, we make the clothing we sell in house and are therefore able to monitor every step of the process ourselves. 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.
We have three things which we believe are sacred and which we hope to protect and nourish through TŪNIQ:
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 strive to ensure our designs are loose-fitting and not sexually objectifying for men or women.
We offer products that we firmly believe nourish our customers lives, body and soul, rather than harm them.
We 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 offer fair and honest pricing, working hard to be accessible to all communities and all classes.
We do not steal designs from other cultures, particularly if they are in the Global South and have had their culture colonized and exploited for centuries prior.
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 in many product pages, themselves.
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 shouldn’t be about the relentless pursuit of profit. 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.
It's really that simple to us. Where there was nothing, through loving labor, we can generate benefit for all. That's our economic philosophy.
This ethos is manifested in many subtle ways in our business. Because we believe that humans have been degraded and commodified through the culture of overconsumption and marketing which has seeped into the very fabric of society and community, when we “market” something, we are completely transparent. We do not overly praise our product. We do not insist that you “need” this, because you most likely don’t need it and that language contributes harmfully to the global consumerist culture. We hope to honestly and simply describe our products and their benefits while aspiring that you feel a connection to their beauty and authenticity.
It also means we reject the over sexualization and objectification of human bodies by brands and corporations, so we knew that we wanted the clothes to be easy to layer, loose fitting, and not overly sexual, but rather practical and functional. We designed our own sizing chart to fit the needs of average people and we strive to create designs that are comfortable and modest.
It also means we are angry at the rampant cultural appropriation and racism in the fashion industry, which is why we only design clothes that draw directly from our own traditions, our own culture, the traditional Tunisian and North African crafts and arts.
- 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. In some cases, we offer more we perceive a quoted rate to be too low.
- We distribute 50% of all 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 don't feel robbed of the right to profit and feel the benefits of success.
- 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. We believe that is modern slavery. And its happening in almost every manufacturing industry where products are mass produced outside the West and brought back to be sold at cheap prices.
Though we're not Marxists, 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.
- 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.
- Our packaging is plastic free.
- 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.
When it comes to our fabric, our wool is local and hand-woven, and our women's tunics are currently a blend of organic cotton and viscose, which we will discontinue once we sell all premade stock. Some of our linings are currently made with synthetic blends, as we await a partnership with organic cotton artisanal weavers to provide our lining. We also primarily offer wool products that rely on natural colors produced by sheep, rather than injecting them with toxic dyes which are bad for the earth and our health. We continue to experiment with natural plant-based dyes, which are available upon request.
We have also cut plastic completely out of our packaging and are instead protecting your pieces with recycled paper and other similar materials.