Tag Archive | ethical fashion

The Ethical Fashion Journey

I blog a lot about ethical fashion and sustainable fashion but how much do I actually know about this topic?

I’d say maybe 20% if that? Ignorance is bliss until you decide that you want to know more. I’m not an avid fashion trend follower nor a 2nd hand shopper. I just bought when I either needed something or absolutely must have that deer cardigan. As time has gone on, I have grown out of a few items or they’ve been worn to death that they were either see-through or could’ve been used as rags. I find shopping arduous. I never seem to find the perfect fit or things that I like that I want so it was only up to very recently, maybe past 2 years, that I’ve sat down and thought about clothing.

We all start at this point of something triggering yourself to do something. So I started paying attention to articles, brands and youtube videos that explored this whole topic of which I knew nothing about. Ethical/sustainable fashion is not mainstream. Let’s face it, if I asked you for names of 5 companies that produce sustainable ethical clothing could you tell me? I can’t even tell myself. So I’d like to share some brands that I’ve come across on my journey into ethical fashion .

So far, I have got People Tree founded by Safia Minney. Made Jewellery . Australian brand Gorman. Australian adventure store Patagonia. Clog shoes brand Swedish Hasbeens.

Which brands do you know? Let me know because I’d love to discover more.

-S.

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2 Euro T-shirt: Social Experiment

I know this youtube clip came out ages ago (about 2 months ago!) and I had seen it in passing probably when I was on the train so didn’t click on the link (high data rates but that’s another story) and had recently remembered to watch the clip. It was part of fashion revolution this year, a vending machine selling t-shirts was set up in a public space and the public were giving the chance to buy these 2 Euro shirts after watching a small clip about how the shirts were made. They could then choose whether or not they still wanted to buy the t-shirt.

People cannot act on what they don’t know so it was a great initiative which was short and straight to the point. Ah, I love it when there are these social experiments around.

If you’ve just stumbled upon this blog now here are some handy links:

This is what fashion revolution is about. My post this on fashion revolution day. And the True Cost documentary trailer and my review of it here.

Keep at it kids,

-S.

The True Cost

Following on from Fashion Revolution (also previously blogged about here and here), The True Cost documentary takes us inside the fashion industry and reveals at what stake cheap and fast fashion is having on our world socially and environmentally. Judging from the trailer, it looks like it’ll be an informative session.

The documentary will be released world wide on the 29th May, so check around town to see if there’s one screening near you (click on the true cost documentary link above to find out about screening locations on their site).

-S.

#whomademyclothes

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Today is Fashion Revolution Day and marks the day that we, as consumers, demand more transparency in the fashion industry. In the wake of Rana Plaza (previously blogged about here), there is a call for change to ensure safe working conditions and treatment for everyone along the production line of our favourite fashion labels, which will lead to sustainable changes.

This year is the 2nd Fashion Revolution Day, so what have we achieved since? This report came out by Baptist World Aid featuring many popular stores in Australia and they’ve been ranked across 4 categories: Policies, Traceability & Transparency, Monitoring & Training and Workers Rights Grade with each company/brand receiving a score from A-F. The first report came out in 2013 and this year, 18 new companies representing over 91 brands have been added to the report. That’s a total of 219 brands this year compared to 128 in 2013. The good news is that since the 2013 report, many companies have started to change their transparency. The cessation of child labour in Uzbekistan and increase of minimum wage of 75% in Bangladesh (although still the lowest in the world) are pointed out as some of the positive changes that have since occurred.

What is interesting in the report is how much change has occurred and how well companies are ranking at the Cut-Make level compared to the collection of Raw Materials (aside from ethical fashion brands). This highlights the point that for the fashion industry to become more sustainable, change also needs to happen at the bottom of the level. How are these materials grown? What is the impact of fertilizers and harvesting on the environment and human health? What are the working conditions and treatment of those employed at this level and the use of child labourers? These are still some of the issues that remain unanswered in majority of the companies in this report.

Why is it so important that we keep asking questions? It’s the recognition that these conditions that fashion is made under cannot last and is not sustainable enough to last because of seasonal changes in trends and fast fashion. It’s the recognition that workers across any industry should have equal rights and working conditions-conditions where they are safe and healthy. It’s the recognition that consumers have buying power and choice and we can use these towards what we care about. It’s the recognition that everyone in the fashion industry- from designers, companies, makers, purchases- are all tied together.

Who made your clothes? Who made my clothes?

-S.

Where do your clothes come from?

In a few days, it will mark the one year anniversary since the collapse of Rana Plaza on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh that killed 1,129 workers and considered to be one of the worst garment factory accidents in history.

When news broke last year, I checked the tag of my t-shirt to see where it was made. Bangladesh. I naturally freaked out. I usually check the tag to see what materials it’s made out of and will invariably see where it’s been made but out of sight and out of mind as I don’t think that extra step of what it might be like for the workers. I was not a regular clothes buyer but I did buy clothes and knew about sweatshops but you don’t get much more information from your clothing company other than where it was made. So all of a sudden, I had all these questions.

How does a factory with THAT many people, not have at the very basic level, a structural building? Is our over consuming “i want what she’s wearing” society fueling this? Why aren’t these big western brands not assuring decent working conditions for those that are making their clothing? Does this not come under corporate social responsibility in a business model? Why should we be paying so much for a piece of clothing where the workers making them make them for so little? Why the disparity and how do we fix it?

I was tweeted this link today by Kirby Bee, which is an interactive video about the Bangladeshi garment industry and what happend the day Rana Plaza collapsed from some of their workers. It’s an interesting video that will hopefully make you think about where the clothes you’re in are made from and will raise some social awareness.

What options do we have to make a difference as consumers and how do we go about it?

April 24th will be Fashion Revolution Day, #insideout on twitter!

I have some answers to my questions and some remain unanswered, but I hope that it’s something that I will continue to investigate and hope to share on this blog in the future.

– S.