How To Shop for Ethical Clothing
With so many options on the market and so many stores offering cheaper and faster fashion, it is important that we stop and consider where our clothes are coming from. Cheap clothes often mean cheap labour, and we have to be careful that the weekly cycle of the latest trends is not contributing to the marginalisation or exploitation of workers in another country. There are several organisations dedicated to tracking and collecting information on ethical clothing brands, including websites such as Shop Ethical and Ethical Clothing Australia that make this information readily available. Their mission is to keep consumers up to date on the practices of the entire manufacturing process, and to track the behaviour of companies throughout the production line to ensure accountability. It’s exactly the kind of information consumers have been asking for, and should be the first place you look when starting to make better consumer choices.
Doing a bit of research into the company practices of your favourite brands can help you make informed decisions about where your money goes. As consumers, we have the power to dictate how a company behaves by ensuring we talk with our wallets. Therefore, it is up to us to make better choices, so that companies that are doing the right thing are rewarded, and equally companies doing the wrong thing are not profiting. This goes for big companies and flea-market stalls equally; even if you shop at one-off places, check for ethical or Fair Trade accreditation on the products. At Seven Women we pride ourselves on knowing that every step of our production line is ethical and our store is directly benefitting the women who make our products. Our Fair Trade accreditation speaks to the power of ethical business practices.
So as a consumer, take the time to research your favourite brands and stores, and use tools such as these websites and the Fair Trade symbol to inform your future choices. Don’t unknowingly contribute to foreign sweatshop labour or environmental destruction when the information is right at your fingertips.