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The Observer Ethical Awards 2013: Shining a Spotlight on Sustainability

Posted by Helen Archard Online Fashion Content Intern

20th Mar 2013

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Written by: Hattie Peacock  // @peacocks_hat // insidethemindofadiscoball.blogspot.co.uk

Known as the 'green Oscars', the Observer Ethical Awards were founded in 2005 by Lucy Siegle, journalist and author of ethical fashion bible 'To Die For'. The awards aim to recognise and promote businesses and individuals who are making a real contribution to ethical living. Since then, the they have continued to reward the constant innovation that is vital to develop sustainability, not only in a general lifestyle sense but also in business. 

The awards honour a wide range of category. Retailers and campaigners each have their own group, but travel is a new addition this year. Travel is often perceived to be the antithesis of sustainability and an absolute no-no for anyone attempting to reduce their carbon footprint. The introduction of this category hopes to recognise the importance of being exposed to new ideas and the positive contribution tourism can often make to local economies. There is also an award for an arts piece, whether that be a book, film or documentary, that highlights ethical issues or presents them in a new light.

The most appealing category, well at least to us here at Oxfam Fashion, is the Well-Dressed Award. Organised in conjunction with Livia Firth, the brains behind the Green Carpet Challenge, the award is looking for someone whose wardrobe is a true celebration of sustainable fashion- whether that be through charity shop purchases, vintage, or ethical clothing brands. If you nominate someone else you can be in with a chance to win a week's holiday to Kerala for two and all winners will be featured in the special Ethical issue of the Observer, published in June. To enter, all you need to do is upload a photo of an outfit which best showcases your ethical wardrobe with a brief description of your personal efforts to dress sustainably and how they are displayed in the outfit. 

If putting yourself forward for the Well-Dressed Award doesn't appeal, perhaps you may have a nomination for another category. Get involved and, even if nothing springs to mind nomination-wise, have a look into last year's winners and the work that they do. You may find out about an amazing local community project or a new designer who makes incredible ethical clothing. 

The awards do the important job of highlighting the continuing issue of sustainability in the national media. There is already much discussion around them including from fellow Oxfam Fashion blogger Rosalind Jana who also features an interview with Lucy Siegle. Give us a hand and keep the conversation growing.

Blog post written by Helen Archard

Online Fashion Content Intern

More by Helen Archard