Photo courtesy of Thr3fold.

“You don’t have to be ‘Made in America’ to be ethical. That’s the main tenet of technology start-up Thr3efold, a company that connects fashion brands to ethical factories worldwide. The firm said today that it is crowdfunding the development of its new technology platform and seeking funding by Aug. 15. Thr3efold partnered with iFundWomen for its funding initiative because the fashion industry is the largest employer of women globally and Thr3efold’s founder is female, the firm said.

Eighty percent of garment workers are women ages 18 to 35 that live primarily in developing nations; and fashion employs one in every six people, making it the largest labor workforce in the world.

Founder Jessica Kelly describes the platform as a marriage of Airbnb and PLM software, with aims to present a “clean marketplace interface that will streamline the process of cherry-picking ethical factories for fashion brands, “supported by a two-sided review process to provide insight into their working relationship and quality, the company noted. Kelly spent almost a decade in the fashion industry working across public relations, events, sales, and marketing for various brands in New York City, such as Alexander Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Tory Burch and Tommy Hilfiger.

Kelly told WWD she was inspired to create Thr3efold subsequent to returning from meaningful travel experiences abroad: “[After] a life-changing trip to Zimbabwe, I fell in love with the people and was heartbroken by the injustice they suffered. I was empowered to return and find a way to bring sustainable employment to people in need around the world through fashion. Kelly added that her platform helps brands find ethical factories to work with, “who account for people and planet as well as product in our hidden, ambiguous, confusing, and sometimes even shady supply chains. She launched Thr3efold in 2016 upon realizing “the impact her career was having on people and planet, and after encountering incredible factories, according to the company.

Thr3efold’s membership-based platform simplifies the process of locating and vetting factories for brands, as only “ethically certified” factories are available on its platform. Each factory on its web site has completed processes that ensure “high ethical and environmental standards” for production, the company said, inclusive of no child or slave labor; fair wages; no discrimination; a safe and healthy workplace; the right to unionize; clear management communication; and eco-consciousness. Its platform provides a template that enables factories to convey their story and services, as well as filters that can help determine brands’ specific needs for production. The new database will feature project management tools for price comparisons, tracking of production, and streamlined payments, among other attributes.

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