How To Start Learning About Ethical Fashion
Like anything that is new to us, Ethical Fashion can get overwhelming! While searching for clothing that were made in a fair and clean way, you may realise that ethical and sustainable practices are actually not common at all in the fashion industry.
But I assure you not to feel discouraged. As consumers become more conscious about their impact on the planet and the people we share it with, brands are feeling the pressure to be more transparent about their supply chain and manufacturing. The media has been exposing some dirty truths and so have organisations such as Fashion Revolution with their #whomademyclothes campaign.
To make it easier for you to start your journey into a more sustainable wardrobe, I put together a few of my favourite places when researching the fashion industry! Take your time, go through as much or as little information at a time as you want, Fashion is a fascinating industry that affects so many people socially and environmentally, so there is always more and more to learn about.
Their website is packed with so much information on the practices of the industry, and they also host the Garment Workers Diary project which focuses on interviewing workers themselves and exposing the abrupt conditions which they work under - they started a podcast on this but unfortunately it hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s so worth it to listen to the few episodes released. On their website you can also read reports on all things related to ethical fashion.
If you’re lost and don’t know where to buy clothes from anymore, worried that you’ll be supporting evil practices, download Good On You’s app on your phone now. They do all the hard work for consumers, rating brands according to their social, environmental and animal welfare impact which makes life much easier! I particularly like their “Made from” section which goes through the sustainability and ethics behinds materials. The articles are short and very easy to understand so in only a few minutes you can feed your brain with some interesting information to keep in mind when shopping for new clothes.
This is not only an amazing platform if you want to start an ethical clothing business, as it links brands to manufacturers around the world, but they also provide valuable information on the sustainability of fabrics, teaching us more about what is more sustainable to buy and what to avoid, the issues in the fashion industry, as well as various guides. You have to register (free) to gain access to the “Learn” section, but it doesn’t take long.
The True Cost
This documentary was a huge eye opener for me specially in terms of what conditions the people who makes our clothes are treated in the factories and the pressure they receive from brands to keep up with the demand and the low price tag.
Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret
Stacey Dooley’s BBC3 documentary features her travels around the world to uncover the hidden costs of consumers’ addiction to fast fashion. She reveals how toxic chemicals released by the garment industry pollute waterways that millions of people rely on. She also visits the former Aral Sea, now reduced almost entirely to dust since the region was developed for cotton production. It is numbing to watch but it opens our eyes to various issues related to the clothes we wear that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
What better way to understand who makes the clothes we love wearing than by watching the garment workers themselves? This documentary portrays a turbulent 5 years in the lives of the women at the grass roots of the garment workers struggle. From 2010, through the tragedies of the fatal fire break out at Tazreen Fashion factory and the collapse of Rana Plaza, to the present day.
Available on Youtube.
READ(y) or NOT
This is an informal monthly meet-up in the centre of Newcastle that I created alongside Melanie Kyles, a local contemporary embroiderer. The first meeting will be on 27th Feb 2019 at 6PM. We’ll get together to drink loose tea leaves and chat all things related to sustainable and ethical fashion. Everyone is welcome to join us!
Melanie and I are also organising the first ever Fashion Revolution Week event to take place in Newcastle. This will be throughout 5 days and will be packed with workshops, talks, panel discussions, interviews, and even a quiz, styling challenge, stalls and an installation!
Meeting like-minded people and professionals in the industry is a great way to learn more information and ask questions. There’s no better time to do so than during Fashion Revolution Week which is the week marking Rana Plaza’s collapse anniversary on the 24th April as that’s when there will be a lot of events happening about ethical fashion in the world. So if you want to check what’s going on in your local area, be sure to check out their events page. Mind there’ll be more added until April. If there is nothing going on in your area, you can set something up yourself too - even if you don’t work in the industry, call some friends over (or make it a public event) and have a discussion raising awareness about Rana Plaza while also hosting an informal clothes swap event - they’re very fun!
Declan and I are scheduling a number of talks across the UK. These involve what to look for when buying new clothes, common practices in the fast fashion industry in respect to garment workers and the environment, and how to run an ethical business. Keep an eye on our social media, or Events page to see where we’ll be next.
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There are so many more places to find information on the impact of fast fashion, and the benefits of ethical fashion. I hope these resources are useful to get you started on the amazing journey of consciousness! If you find any other interesting sources, please share in the comments below - I’d love to have a look and I’m sure other people will benefit from it too!
This article hits the elementary level of the complexities of fast fashion. If you’re thirsty for more knowledge, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to find out when more articles are published.
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