So many people talk of ethical fashion and its impacts. But what is it really?
Ethical fashion is a term commonly used when talking of issues such as working conditions, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare.
I love watching fashion documentaries and last night finished ‘The True Cost‘. It was so powerful and totally eye-opening. It makes you consider who really is paying the price for our clothing and what sacrifices are made?
It inspired me to look into ethical fashion a little more and got me super excited when discovering new clothing companies and their values. Though I’m not expecting everyone who reads this to renew their entire wardrobe and start over, I still wanted to flag up where and why to look elsewhere and open our eyes to the alternative options that surround us.
The market is definitely growing for ethical fashion, especially with celebrities such as Emma Watson, Will.i.am, Pharrell Williams, Lily Cole and Michelle Obama getting behind the cause.
I have talked to so many people about this and their biggest issue with purchasing Eco clothing is the added cost. I totally agree, though we are all for saving our planet, we can’t afford to be ‘unnecessarily spending out on clothes sold for half the price’.
When researching this topic, I was shocked to find that many shops I regularly go to have ethical and eco alternatives, or at least are conscious of their ethical impacts…
Though ASOS was put under a microscope in the news recently for having “child refugees as young as 15 found working, some for more than 12 hours a day” in their Turkish factories, they actually have an ‘Eco Edit‘. This was news to me to! It is filled with ethically conscious brands and means you don’t have to go out your way to look good and do good!
New Balance is one of my favorite shoe brands! These guys are fairly ethically conscious as their factory is in Cumbria so therefore have to follow UK protection laws for workers rates and conditions. They also have a 16 professionals who check up on oversea suppliers and their production around the world. They also choose to focus on material choices in design via their use of an internally developed, environmentally preferred materials tool.
People Tree featured in the documentary and produce Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable clothing. They have won loads of awards over the years and aim to support producer partners, to protect the environment and use natural resources, to supply good quality products and to set an example to other businesses and the government.
Stella McCartney is a life long vegetarian and choses not to use leather, skins, feather or fur in any of her work. They are the first luxury brand to team up with National Resources Defense Council on its Clean by Design program. Her work looks not just at the future of design, but also the future of the planet.
H&M is one of my favorite shops. I regularly use it to recycle old clothes and receive a discount on my next shop. Its conscious collection was launched in 2012 and uses materials such as organic leather and recycled wool.
Matt & Nat stands for MAT(T)ERIAL + NATURE, and is a vegan brand therefore there are no animal products used in production. The linings inside all MATT & NAT bags are made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles and their head office is in Montreal, Canada which is a ‘cruelty free’ zone. The company also visits each factory to build strong personal relationships with their owners. Their bags and purses are unique and very beautiful!!
Outsider is a women’s fashion store – you may not have heard of it – but they have been involved in the ethical & sustainable fashion movement since their launch in 2009. They work with family owned factories and produce beautiful clothes.
I am not perfect and usually can’t resist a cheep top in Primark or Urban Outfitters however, there is always time to change our lifestyles and I am pretty excited about tackling day-to-day fashion in a different way, whilst also allowing me to help our planet.
Though I have only listed my favorite stores and their values, you will easily be able to see how sustainable and ethical your shops are. Most fashion websites will have a publication acknowledging it. It tends to be at the bottom of the page under ‘policies’, ‘corporate Info’ or ‘Responsibilities’… its likely to be there and you can still find paths to shop the right way in your favorite stores.
Good luck hunting and I hope you are inspired to set a new future for fashion!!