There will be much more coming from me on the ethical fashion front in the coming weeks. I have watched the True Cost movie, and The Boy watched with me, and we both were horrified by the way the people who make a lot of the clothes filling our closets were treated.
I truly want to throw out most everything I own. That doesn’t solve the problem though (there is already so much textile waste in the world). But it does make me want o make much much smarter choices in the future. I will say I put on a pair of jeans yesterday and cringed because they came from one of the biggest abusers of not providing a living wage to workers and of using child labour; our old friend the Gap Inc conglomerate (which includes Old Navy, and where most of my current closet comes from, Banana Republic). There are a lot of other articles as well, here’s one from 2007, showing the same violation of child labour. So, they have been caught many times, but refuse to do anything to actually stop it from happening. Consumers will keep sucking up their $25 shirts, and the bargains Gap churns out, so why should they worry about how these bargains are made? After all, the cry from all the retailers who violate basic human rights is “we don’t own the factories”. So, it’s really not their fault if the middle man makes decisions they might not agree with.
Yes, Gap, and H&M, and Inditex-Zara, and many, many others, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure the middle man is doing the right thing.
You won’t be getting my business in the future. I will spend more at an ethical/fairtrade clothing company and know an 11 year old, or a woman forced to work 14 hours a day in an unsafe factory for pennies, who can count on being beaten or abused, didn’t make my t-shirt.
The following is a list of ethical &/or fair trade companies who will be getting my pennies in the future. (sourced from different publications of ethical/fair trade listings, a lot of great information from diamondsanddaisychains.com)
- Fashion Conscience
- Skunk Funk
- Crew (note, it is NOT J Crew!)
- Frank & Faith
- Cock & Bull
- Beaumont Organic
- Annie Greenabelle
- Sole Rebels
- Monkee Genes
- People Tree
- Ruby London
- Gudrun Sjoden
- Gather & See
- Juicy Tots
- Livie & Luca
There are many more but these are the ones I’ve come across in my research. I’ve found great information from Lucy Siegle’s book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out The World She is a journalist and passionate champion of ethical living who writes for the Guardian newspaper. Her new ethical fashion series starts September 13 in the Guardian Observer magazine.
I will definitely add more as I learn but once you see for yourself what making fast fashion choices costs on a human (not to mention environmental) scale, I hope you’ll make the right choices too. No one wants another Rana Plaza disaster.