Archive | April, 2016

How to Tell Designer Clothing Makers You Want them to be Ethical Designer Clothing Makers

Ethical Designer Clothing?

Ethical Designer Clothing?

There is a bit of a myth that surrounds more expensive and designer clothing brands. It has come about mainly as an unintended consequence of our focus on the evils of cheap Fast Fashion ones.

This week during Fashion Revolution week the Behind the Barcode report was released. This report rates well-known clothing brands on their ethical practices based on the information they provide about their supply chains. It is a useful tool, though we argue that an A+ is pretty much the minimum we should ultimately be demanding from those that sell us clothes, as this offers workers employment conditions comparable to our own (i.e. safe, respectful, protected by legislation, meaningfully paid etc).

While there were a number of New Zealand and Australian ‘Fast Fashion’ brands who performed poorly, there were also plenty of so called ‘designer brands’ who do equally poorly. For example Karen Walker achieved a pretty feeble C. These are not cheap garments and they are being marketed as high quality designer clothes. Why does the price make a difference?

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5 Ways to Revolutionize Fashion When you Care (but just not right now)

(Fashion) Revolution - The Easier Way

(Fashion) Revolution – The Easier Way

Ok so from a humanitarian standpoint and an ecological one the fashion industry is failing. From a purely profit driven individual share holder point of view it is not. But stretch it out to a wider economic view where growing the wealth of a few is not a very robust measure of success and well the clothing industry is actually looking pretty weak. Fast fashion in particular is a massive failure of morality, real economic prosperity and environmental stewardship. Fast Fashion you just got an F for “Fatal”.

So at this time of year, every year, a bunch of people and organisations, who would rather that the fashion industry (and human kind more generally) was not in a race for the bottom, come together to highlight that great big stinking F that fashion has. It is called Fashion Revolution week. A big aspect of this protest movement is to ask you to ask #whomademyclothes? In its simplest form this means stop and think about the people who work to make your clothes. Do you know if they are treated well, paid well, and not at risk of being buried under a collapsed building or suffering some other awful calamity while their foot is jammed hard on the sewing machine pedal whipping up some garment that will be worn 5 times and ends up in a plastic bag heading for Africa.

Ok you have thought about it and it does suck but it is kind of too hard right now

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#who made your clothes Kate?

Ethical Fashion is Cooler Kate

Ethical Fashion is Cooler Kate

While I would not call myself a monarchist – there are far too many issues of inequality attached the the institution of monarchy for me to be comfortable with the idea- I do recognise the huge platform the UK royals, notably the young ones, have. Especially notable is the power they have to highlight important global issues. Given that fashion and clothing is where much of the focus is when the global gaze falls (with unrelenting frequency) on Kate Middleton (The Duchess of Cambridge), the opportunity to do good in that space is immense.

I was therefore disappointed to see that on the latest Royal visit to India (#RoyalVisitIndia), Kate was wearing a  75 pound Topshop dress. A ‘Fast Fashion’ brand that makes its profits, and Kate’s dress, off the backs of the exploitation of Asian women garment workers.

Given that the very same day the Royal couple had met to talk about advancing women’s rights in India, this seemed to be both a massive missed opportunity and an extraordinary misstep in public relations.

Let me explain why. Continue Reading →