Whilst doing my initial research for setting up this website, talking to a number of friends, friends of friends, colleagues and business associates, the most frequent response I heard about buying ethical fashion was that it was so difficult to know who was or was not ethical. It seemed that almost all high street fashion shops were in fact unethical in some way. Even if they had some policies in place to be ethical in one area there was still another area that they offended in.
There is also this issue of trust, how do we know that any of these efforts of being ethical are in fact genuine and sincere they could be just another marketing ploy. H&M for example have an ethical line that is made from recycled polyester. That’s great recycling and reducing landfill but POLYSTER? And they are sold at such low prices which doesn’t seem environmentally friendly for the long term.
One of my friends said that she found it so hard trying to get reliable information on who was ethical and who was not that she eventually resolved to buying second hand and ONLY second hand clothes.
Personally I think it is next to impossible for the average consumer to figure this out on their own. The best advice would be to get ourselves connected to some good organisations that do the research and know how to explain it to us. The Good shopping guide I believe is one of the best resources out there. It is also now available on an App.
The chapter on high street fashion gives a brief outline of what actually constitute “ethical”. They look at 12 areas such as environmental reporting, Organic cotton, Nuclear power, human rights, call for boycott etc. and how well or badly the brand performs in each area and then rates the company in the ethical company index.
Another great resource is the www.gooshing.co.uk which is also operated by the Ethical Company Organisation. It allows you to compare companies’ ethical rating, has over 3 million unique visitors and provides ratings for over 250, 000 products.
Just as a taster a few slides with some interesting information from the Good shopping Guide. Wishing you happy ethical shopping!