The past few years have seen a major paradigm shift in the way Americans relate to brands, with research by Mintel showing that around 56% of Americans stop buying from brands they consider unethical, and almost 30% of them take to social media to complain about unethical brands. If fashion is a major pursuit for you and you regularly shop in retail stores or online, then you may have become more interested in the ethics behind the production of items sold by your favorite brands. How can you boost your ethical buying practices by supporting companies that are authentically committed to making the world a better place?
What Makes Fashion Ethical?
Ethical fashion shares a host of characteristics, which include environmental friendliness, ethical work practices, and kindness to animals. As a whole, its aim is to reduce the burden placed on people, animals, and the planet as a whole. It takes into account everything from how to reuse clothing to how to make it sturdier (so it gets passed along instead of thrown away after a couple of wears). It also considers the need for washing and care. Finally, ethical fashion seeks to battle exploitation. This is rife in developing countries, where cheap labor is often relied upon to mass produce clothing. Before supporting a brand, it is important to research into its policies on everything from child labor to the use of sustainable materials.
Companies With A Heart
Ethical companies seek to give back to local communities. Some ethical fashion brands focus on children by refusing to rely on illegal, dangerous child labor. Some stand by the stipulations of the Fair Wear Foundation’s Code of Labor Practices, earning a spot on the organization’s list of ethical brands. Other companies are donating part of their profits to ensure that children, women, and other vulnerable groups receive safe water or housing. Still others work with disadvantaged groups, holding workshops to give children with a talent for sewing or design a chance to learn the key concepts and skills involved in fashion, business, economics or crafting. Some companies hold mentoring programs, while others visit children at schools to talk about ethical fashion and the ways in which they can form part of the movement.
Brands That Embrace Eco-Friendliness In Production
There are many forward-thinking ethical companies, one of the most renowned of which is arguably Stella McCartney, which makes clothing, handbags, shoes, accessories, and more. The brand uses materials such as recycled polyester, certified sustainable paper and cardboard packaging, innovative materials made of regenerated nylon, plant-based plastic, and biodegradable stretched leather. Other cutting-edge brands include Sandra Sandor (which sells vegan leather apparel and items made from upcycled materials), Eileen Fisher (which recycles old materials and garments), and Katie Jones (which uses unclaimed materials from apparel manufacturers and turns them into one-of-a-kind creations).
If you love fashion but wish to ensure your purchases are ethical, research is key. Log onto your favorite brands’ websites and see what they have to say about energy use, recycling, and fair work practices. Also, look into how they support vulnerable communities – be it through donations, workshops, mentoring, or other means of aid and education.