Ethical Fashion

Clothing choice is not something I really thought about too much before going vegan, obviously as a vegetarian I tried to avoid leather, but my consideration didn’t really stretch much further than that. Now, however, I feel that not only is it important for me to avoid animal derived products like wool, but to also to start thinking about where my clothes actually come from.

Like many others, I am guilty of falling for the cheap prices of many high street stores such as Primark and Forever 21, without really knowing the conditions that the clothes are produced in. With multiple media uproars about Primark’s use of sweat shops and child labour, with workers making just 60p on a good day, I have decided that 2016 will be the year that I concentrate on becoming an ethical consumer.

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In May 2013, a devastating collapse of a sweatshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh killed over 1000 people. Many of the clothes being produced in this unsafe factory were for Western retailers, meaning that the safety and welfare guidelines many companies supposedly employ, are not being met.

While some high street stores such as H & M have signed important safety accords to ensure their workers are well looked after, and also have a ‘concious collection’ which aims to provide consumers with fashion that is good for the environment and people, whilst still being affordable, many others have not followed suit. Fast fashion is in high demand due to ever changing fashion fads, meaning that customers are looking for cheaply priced goods to last a couple of seasons, rather than looking for clothes made sustainably and to last, meaning companies often use cheap, outsourced labour to meet this rising demand.

Despite this even large online retailers such as ASOS are trying to become more sustainable, with the addition of a marketplace feature, where sellers can display second hand and handmade goods that they have for sale as well as the Greenroom, in which ethical or eco-conscious  brand can share their story. It offers a wide range of recycled, organic and fair-trade clothing and accessories, allowing consumers to shop responsibly.

Many other, smaller brands are also doing wonders for the ethical fashion world, and here is a list of some great retailers that you can feel good about buying from!

If anyone has any advice for an ethical fashion newbie like me, please feel free to leave it down in the comments.

Katie x

 

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