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 →

Adult’s Clothing is GO!

 

adults and kids ethical clothing marketplace

Adults and Kids Ethical Clothing Marketplace is Open for Business

Start Trading Your Ethical Sustainable Adults Clothing For Free!

muka kids marketplace is now taking adults (mens and womens) ethical and sustainable clothing. Pop over to the shop and sell your preloved ethical and sustainable brands for free (no fees at all we promise). While you are there pick up some stylish threads that, as one of our accredited brands says, don’t kill the environment or kill people. By ‘ReGooding’ and using our marketplace you become eligible for discounts with many of our accredited brands.

It all makes perfect sense! So get trading!

Our 41 accredited adult brands include Kowtow, People Tree, Everlane, Patagonia, Chalkydigits, Thunderwear, The Goodnight Society, Veja Shoes and a load more! See the full list of the near 90 brands! you can trade with us (kids and adults).

Learn more about how we accredit brands.

Expanding Muka Kids To The Grown-Ups

Adults clothing at muka

Let make this short and sweet: We have a problem with our clothes, but we also have a solution and you will love it!

We need more ethically made, organic, durable clothes for kids that we can swap, sell, pass on and eventually recycle (hence why muka kids was created). BUT really the nature of the clothing industry has changed so much (especially for women’s clothing) that we now buy, wear, discard, reuse, repurpose our clothes as adults at near the same rate as kids do (all be it for different reasons).

We SHOULD all buy less BUT….

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Are Used Clothes Ethical & Sustainable Clothes?

Buy used clothing? Is it ethical clothing?

Buy used clothing? Is it ethical clothing?

I talk with people who both buy and sell used clothes a lot and often discuss the role of preloved clothing in conscious and ethical consumerism. Quite often people tell me that they feel used clothes are ethical & sustainable by their nature. Here is why I think this is both true and false.

First, let’s deal with ethics and sustainability issues separately because there are a couple of differing factors at play.

 Buying Used Clothing is on Balance more Sustainable than New Clothing

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Is Your Ethical Shopping Really Ethical & Sustainable? 5 Questions You Can Ask to Check

Ethical Shopping Questions

How to Ask Where you Clothes Come From

We do ethical shopping and look to buy sustainable products for any number of reasons: going green, doing our part for the environment, protecting ourselves and our family from harsh chemicals, concern for the treatment of women and children in clothing factories. And people want to be part of the sustainable fashion movement in particular for some or all of these reasons. The people who make and market clothes also recognise the growing value of offering products that meet these needs. Some clothing businesses are honestly & genuinely committed to delivering some or all of the solutions we need to fix the fashion industry (even if they are not 100% there yet). However, others well they just recognise a niche market and are going for your jugular.

So how to tell the difference between REAL ethical and sustainable clothing and greenwash? Continue Reading →

Fixing Fashion: A Framework to Make Sustainable Fashion the Industry Standard

Sustainable Fashion As the Industry Standard needs Action on All Levels

Sustainable Fashion: It Needs Action on All Levels

Often I am part of discussions on the best way to ‘fix fashion’. How do we move such a massive industry from the unethical, environment destroying beast that it is, to one in which sustainable fashion is just the industry standard? You know the drill – clean and clever and kind business.

People feel quite strongly that their own area of expertise offers THE best solution. This is an enduring reality of any specialty area, and why evidenced based decision making was introduced into medicine & healthcare in the 1970’s (more on how this relates later).  Recently questions have been raised about the actual impact of hashtag activism (notably #whomademyclothes). While the development of sustainable fashion brands and the rise of ethical consumerism have been critiqued (and counter critiqued) as an approach that will not work because it fails to address the complex global politics that are involved in making the industry what it is. Continue Reading →

Why Gender Neutral & Unisex Kid’s Clothes Can Actually Harm Girls

Why Gender Neutral Clothing is Harming Girls

Why Gender Neutral Clothing is Harming Girls

With an explosion of gender neutral lines for kids & babies* have you ever wondered who these clothes are really benefiting? There is it turns out a dirty truth in the supply chain of some ‘gender neutral’ clothing: the empowerment of girls in the west on the back of the misery of the world’s poorest women and girls.

 

Clothing is, at its Heart, a Business Propelled by Women & Girls Continue Reading →

muka kids’ accreditation of sustainable clothing brands

Accreditation Standards

Accreditation Standards

Preloved clothing from accredited ethical & sustainable brands (our ‘good’ brands) can be bought and sold on our muka kids shop (in time we will offer discounts on new items from our ‘good’ brands).

To be accredited a clothing brand needs to earn a certain number of ‘muka buttons’ – each button is for a specific ethical & sustainable practice*

Preloved clothing from accredited ethical & sustainable brands (our ‘good’ brands) can be bought and sold on our muka kids shop (in time we will offer discounts on new items from our ‘good’ brands).

A brand that is awarded buttons for being ‘Fully Ethical’ AND ‘Fully Organic’ earns muka accreditation for just those two buttons, a brand that is EITHER ‘Fully Ethical’ OR ‘Fully Organic’ needs ONE other button (nos 3-13) to be accredited, and other brands need to be awarded THREE of the other buttons (nos 3-13) to be accredited.

The 13 muka buttons for ethical & environmental practices Continue Reading →