In the wake of the Rana Plaza tragedy, the fashion industry has been scrutinised by the media and consumers blamed for their fast-fashion habits. Ethical fashion has slowly gained traction over the years, but there are still a lot of misconceptions around ethical and sustainable shopping in general. How easy is it really? The Monsoon Trust asked some ethical fashion lovers to weight in:
Emma blogs over at Emma Waight
"When I first started blogging about ethical fashion I was making 'token' purchases from ethical brands, but not really changing my habits greatly. I had good intentions, but I think it's actually only in the last year or two that I've really started taking it seriously. Now shopping really does make me quite uneasy, and I consider purchases carefully.
There are a lot of conflicting/changing opinions about what is ethical and sustainable so it takes time to gather the facts and make up your own mind. I don't think society is quite set up for it yet; I don't want to say cost is the biggest hurdle because if like me you favour second-hand stuff, it's not. Plus trying to save energy, save water, eat simple foods; you're going to save money. The biggest hurdle is convenience. To buy second-hand I have to commit a significant amount of time scouring charity shops or eBay, to recycle glass I have to collect it in my tiny
flat and take it to a recycling centre. It requires more thought and effort but for me now the benefits outweigh the disadvantages because I can't live with the guilt. If I throw something recyclable in the bin it will genuinely haunt me for days!
There are a couple of brands who have started upcycling tyres and inner tubes to make bags and belts, that's cool. I have a rucksack from Lost Property of London which was made from an upcycled coffee bean sack and had a lush Liberty print lining, used to use that every day and loved it.
We need more traceability and accountability. It's as simple as that. Brands mean well but they're too big and can't keep track of their suppliers. Consumers need to push for change as well, and diversify their own shopping habits so they support smaller brands and independent stores.
Fashion is too big to be sustainable. "
Keep an eye on the blog over the next week for more sustainable fashion talk from The Monsoon Trust and featured ethical fashion bloggers.