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:
Sarah writes at Fair Enough
"For a while before I started my year of shopping ethically, I had been getting more and more concerned with where and how the clothes we buy so cheaply in our stores are made. My excuse used to be that there was just no other way. I used to tell myself that - unlike food - there was no real option to buy clothing fair-trade unless you wanted to dress like a hippie. There just came a point where, as a Christian, I could no longer stand that my actions and the way I lived my life contributed to maintaining injustice and poverty. If I truly believe that my life should serve people
and fight injustice and poverty, then how could I justify nipping into H&M or Primark to buy a £5 t-shirt just to make myself feel better?
In October last year I made my commitment to only buy ethical and second-hand clothing for a year. I then started to do some research and discovered many more ethical brands, such as Annie Greenabelle, Komodo or Bibico as well as handy search engines and online super stores for ethical goods.
In a way I think the biggest issue is us. It is all well and good for us to constantly blame the fashion industry, but we have to realise that we all contribute to the way things are. We demand and buy the cheap, poor-quality clothing.
The way the industry is at the moment is just not sustainable. Apart from injustice, there are huge waste issues. It is a strange world we live in where surplus clothes get slashed and destroyed to protect a brand identity and where our waste clothing is being sold back to the very people who made them in the first place. We have to wake up and realise that this fast fashion industry that is so consumer-focused cannot be sustained. Maybe the customer should not always be king..."
Keep an eye on the blog over the next week for more sustainable fashion talk from The Monsoon Trust and featured ethical fashion bloggers.