Transparency relates with the quality to see the truth. Then, lack of transparency is the quality of being obscure in meaning. 

The corporate or business meaning of transparency is about knowing how things are done and what is the accountability for it. Transparency refers internally to how the companies are behaving, and externally to explain or publish this behavior. 

In the fashion industry, with a complex and global supply chain, transparency means to be sure about where the products are made, who is making them, under what conditions. In sum, to be able to trace the products and to communicate it. 

According to the not-for-profit organization Fashion Revolution, Transparency is defined as “the public discourse of credible, comprehensive and comparable data and information about fashion’s supply chains, business practices and the impacts of these practices on workers, communities and the environment.” Transparency “implies openness, communication and accountability across the supply chain and with the public too” (Fashion Revolution. Fashion Transparency Index 2021). 

Transparency has been linked with Compliance. Several institutional norms and regulations, for instance the Textile Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011, talk about the need of transparency for the fashion industry. 


Transparency is one of the pillars of any sustainable action. It is a necessary condition, but not sufficient. This means that transparency “allows brands to trace and identify areas of risk and opportunity of which to improve and hold themselves accountable for the harm their products create whether that be to our people, planet or the rich ecosystems which reside within it. Through traceability, brands are emboldened to rethink and rebuild, setting the foundations for improvements and innovative solutions that create prosperity for all supply chain actors as well as for the planet” (Global Fashion Agenda, 2021).

Adoption of technology is a key to transparency: “some fashion companies adopt technological tools to enhance transparency within their supply networks. Hugo Boss is using the blockchain technology in their cotton supply chain. Similarly, Everledger tracking and tracing the authenticated source of diamonds has encrypted the source of more than 2 million diamonds since 2015. What emerges is that transparency and traceability solutions, including the blockchain technology, requires strong organizational and supply chain capabilities such as collaboration, governance of these efforts and leadership (Brun, Karaosman, Barresi, 2020). 

For consumers, transparency is the key to responsible consumption. Brands must do an effort in this direction. An easy and clear communication is needed. Over information could have at some point the opposite effect and create confusion.  

  • Supply chain transparency in both cases, food and fashion, is one of the main drivers for sustainability decisions. Technology for achieving this goal could also be the same. 
  • In both fields, transparency has implications for safety and health of consumers, as well as for the labor conditions. 
  • Communication tools, from labeling to social media strategies, are also very similar.  

Everlane, Patagonia, Oliver Cabell, and Arket are sharing information on the cost-breakdown of products and manufacturing processes 

a) academic peer review

Brun, A., Karaosman, H., & Barresi, T. (2020). Supply chain collaboration for transparency. Sustainability, 12(11), 4429.

Jestratijevic, I., Uanhoro, J. O., & Creighton, R. (2021). To disclose or not to disclose? Fashion brands' strategies for transparency in sustainability reporting. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal.

Jordan, A., & Rasmussen, L. B. (2018). The role of blockchain technology for transparency in the fashion supply chain.

Kim, N. L., Kim, G., & Rothenberg, L. (2020). Is honesty the best policy? Examining the role of price and production transparency in fashion marketing. Sustainability, 12(17), 6800. 

b) other sources


Fashion Brand Compliance: Transparency Is On Trend - Oracle