The sun is starting to show itself, temperatures are creeping up, festival season is around the corner, and summer trends are hitting the stores. It’s tempting as hell to ditch our winter wardrobes and start afresh with some cute new clothes. But wait, how many times will you really wear that new floral Bardot top? And how can we make informed choices about where to shop ethically on the high street?
We’ve all seen the news stories of garment workers being paid far less than a living wage, heard the tales of protests and unsafe working conditions, and watched the tales of refugee children being exploited in sweatshops. It’s absolutely heart-breaking, but at times it feels like something that consumers have no control over, making it seem easier to turn a blind eye and carry on with our fashion habits. Surely, it’s the brands’ responsibility to fix this, not the consumers’? And will one more new dress really hurt?
Being able to love fashion whilst upholding moral standards seems impossible at times. But please don’t give in, or be put off – this blog piece is here to help you get started in finding a balance between dressing up and doing the right thing with three painless steps.
Ask questions. It doesn’t have to be difficult to be savvy in store, and finding out how much information brands share about the women and men who make our clothes is a good place to begin. By seeking out and using this information we have the power to spend our money on brands that are taking active steps to improve their supply chains, and to call-out the brands that we want to do more.
Look after your clothes. Alongside spending your money carefully there are other simple steps you can take to become a more ethical shopper. Invest in fewer pieces of higher quality, wear them more than 30 times, wash with care, and repair or recycle when your time together is over. Next time you’re tempted to buy something new have a good sort through the clothes you already own and see how you can repurpose and refresh the pieces you haven’t worn in a while.
Use your consumer power. Put your money where your morals are, brands will feel the pressure to clean up their supply chains and make sure that the women and men who make our clothes are safe and happy. The more information we all ask for; the more brands will respond. Wearing clothes we love, that have been made with love, by happy people, sounds pretty damn good to me.
Fashion is meant to be empowering, so let’s use our choices as consumers to band together and empower those who make our clothes, but currently don’t have the power we all deserve.