Introducing the Open Apparel Registry

By Deb Boyer on March 28th, 2019

We are excited to announce the launch of the Open Apparel Registry, an open source global map of garment producing facilities that we have been working on for the past few months. The Open Apparel Registry (OAR) enables clothing brands, manufacturers, civil society and stakeholders from across the textile industry to upload facility lists into a single database that provides transparency into clothing supply chains and encourages collaboration.

Global clothing supply chains can be challenging to untangle. The goal of the OAR is to bring clarity to where clothing and shoes are made by providing everyone from clothing brands to factory groups to public consumers with the ability to quickly search and discover the locations of factories and the organizations associated with those facilities. To support that goal, Azavea created a name and address matching algorithm that standardizes data from multiple sources into a single database, applies a unique identifier to the facility, and displays the resulting locations on a map. The map can be searched by facility name, contributor, contributor type, or country, and the unique OAR identifier provides a method for standardizing facility information across the clothing industry.

Commenting on the launch, Project Director Natalie Grillon said,

As we launch the Open Apparel Registry today, we look forward to seeing all the ways the industry will use the tool for its work. As part of its development, we’ve conducted an extensive stakeholder consultation exercise, gathering input and feedback from across the industry – from non-profits working on the ground in major sourcing countries and the factories themselves, to major global brands and the industry MSIs. Based on this input, we’re confident that we’ve built a tool that will be of practical use throughout the industry, enabling organisations to better understand their supply chains, collaborate on in-factory improvements and act as a source of truth on name and address information for global apparel facilities.

The OAR was developed by Azavea with funding from the C&A Foundation and under the project direction of Natalie Grillon with support from Katie Shaw. Our experience managing open source projects like OpenTreeMap and Raster Foundry and our mission-focused commitment to projects centered on creating a positive impact for people and the planet made Azavea a great fit for collaborating with the OAR. Over the next two years, we will be working with the OAR Board of Directors and several Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in the apparel industry to develop additional features for the site including more robust API services and options for more details about each facility. We’ll also be detailing some of the technical challenges of the project in blog posts here on the Azavea website.

Explore the Open Apparel Registry at https://openapparel.org and check out the open source code at https://github.com/open-apparel-registry. Questions? Email info@openapparel.org.