The world is far more connected and aware than it has ever been. Consumers want to know whether the products they buy are ethical and fair. We are warned everyday of the future of climate change and social inequality. Yet, we may not realize that how we shop can positively or negatively impact these causes. Supporting brands that produce ethical clothing can be a big step forward in helping change the world.
What is Ethical Clothing??
There is no set definition, but an ethical brand or clothing looks to improve its business by one or more issues such as: working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare.
An ethical piece of clothing can have many different meanings, but ensuring the safety of its workers is at the forefront of fair manufactures. The fashion site, The Good Trade, features several ethical brands. One of the brands featured, Everlane, puts transparency at the top of their agenda. The site reports how the brand spends months finding the right factories, developing personal relationships with the owners, and maintaining quality control over the factory’s production practices.
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Often in fashion, brands can hide behind a veil of secrecy when promoting how their products are manufactured. Everlane makes sure customers know every detail about the clothes they buy. From the true costs to sharing stories behind each piece of clothing produced, they are truly setting an example for ethical clothing.
Wearing secondhand clothing is also a way to promote ethical fashion. Buying second hand doesn’t make the clothing itself ethical, but the act of recycling versus buying something new is a green practice. When you buy secondhand clothing you are essentially extending the garment’s life and lowering its impact on the environment. You can find some great ideas for ways to shop secondhand from Moral Fibers, such as on eBay, charity shops, or vintage shops. One new modern trend is wardrobe-swapping events. These are a great way to find the clothes you want without having to shop, therefore creating an ethical cycle of fashion recycling.
Ethical clothes aren’t just about how they’re made, but how they are sold. Children’s clothing brand, Tootsa, puts an emphasis on gender natural clothes. They are passionate about breaking down stereotypes at an early age in children and designing clothes that can be worn by boys and girls. Tootsa’s founder, Kate Pietrasik, said she “wanted to offer an alternative to the sea of pinks and blues, whilst also offering practical, easy care, and quality clothing. A unisex range which doesn’t limit a kid and let’s a child be a child.” I don’t need to tell you how much fashion enforces stereotypes on children, particularly girls at a young age. Encouraging a different set of ethics, not defined by color or style is the prefect way to promote equality from an early age.
How to Identity Ethical Brands
If you are looking to buy ethical brands from a store, here are several tips to look out for. The number one tip – do your research! Many clothing brands produce in unfavorable conditions and try to hide it. A brand that is proud of the way they manufacture their clothes, is upfront about it and will make it easy for you to learn about their practices.
Another tip is to buy handmade products. Not only do you know the origin of the product, but you will be supporting someone’s craft and positive business practices.
In the end it’s down to you, the buyer and your personal set of ethics. There are brands that are willing to make their products using ethical methods and fair working practices. If you are prepared to do a bit of research to will be helping the future development of the world look a little brighter.