Friday, July 13, 2018

Shopping Ethically for Fashion

Something that has been increasingly important to me is making the choice to support ethical and sustainable brands. I saw an article that talked about the annual ranking of fashion brands in regards to their ethical standards and actions. Link here: if you want to read the list yourself. 

Makeshift closet ideas // Gold mirror + clothing rack
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A lot of brands ranked low on the ethical scale are those that aren't keeping tabs on their suppliers or factories, and/or don't give their employees the ability to voice their concerns. Big scandals in the past have shown that companies like Nike may claim to be ethical, but by outsourcing their work to other factories or suppliers and not keeping in touch and watching how those contractors work, people are being used and abused under these outside companies and Nike is none the wiser. This is blatant neglect and ignorance by the parent company, and it's important they involve themselves in every aspect of their own business.

The list addresses those common problems by noting whether a company is keeping tabs on their contractors/suppliers and doing regular check-ins for the benefit of the workers. 

The four categories the list rates each company on are 1) Policies 2) Knowing your suppliers 3) Auditing and supplier relationships and 4) Worker Empowerment.

Falda de Zara temporada OtoƱo 2016
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Reviewing the list got me thinking about the brands I shop from that are not up to my ethical preference (Boohoo, Victoria's Secret) and the ones I didn't shop at for fear they were unethical, though they actually ranked fairly well (Zara, American Apparel).

While ethical clothing often costs a bit more, it means fair wages and healthier working conditions for those actually creating the clothes. Those in America or the EU may think their favorite brands based in-country wouldn't be allowed to conduct their business unethically or have employees working in dangerous conditions. But, in a global economy where corporations have their fingers dipped in countries like Vietnam and China, business practices are often poorly regulated or corrupt and factory workers and their families suffer because of it.

I'm not suggesting you blacklist every unethical store you shop at this instant, but perhaps it's time to look for alternatives. Maybe you always shop at Victoria's Secret for underwear, but perhaps Zara will have cute alternatives that fit just as well.

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Look for places you can shop at to replace those who are unethical. The power lies in the consumer to effect how companies operate, so I urge you to educate yourself, adjust your habits, and let companies know why you no longer shop with them.

In the interest of a better world, shop ethically. People deserve to be protected and cared for, and your choice in clothing can play a big role in that.

Now here's a breakdown of some of the brands that surprised me most:


High Ranking, Ethical Brands:
ASOS
American Apparel
Adidas
Cotton on
Glassons
H&M
Esprit
Kipling
Levis
Lululemon
Marks and Spencer
Old Navy
Patagonia
Puma
Reebok
Rip Curl
Billabong
Seafolly
Timberland
Tommy Hilfiger
Vans
Wrangler
Zara
Target

Moderate:
Miss Selfridges
Mossimo
RVCA
Topshop

Low-Ranking Brands:
Boohoo
Forever 21
Minkpink
Abercrombie & Fitch
Ralph Lauren
Nasty Gal
Uniqlo
Victoria’s Secret

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