There seems to be a flourishing of buzzwords surrounding industries in today's world, with many fashion labels jumping on the green wave. This has ultimately lead to many questions being asked amongst communities about "ethical" fashion and what it actually means. The term ethical stems from ideas of what is right and wrong, yet it is essentially up to ones own to actually decide on what is right and what is wrong. What is right for one person might not align with someone else. What is ethical for M&S might be very distant to what is ethical to GAP. I ask the question if this could confuse customers. Are different brands simply jumping on a buzzword and what does this mean in the long run. Will customers start to distrust the wider green industry, as I'm sure we are all aware, they are a fickle bunch with a few merely trying to find holes to pick apart. With this in mind I raise the question to what else is needed to avoid this. What are customers looking for other than just buzzwords?

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I agree the term ethical or eco means very little on it's own and more clarification is required before consumers can really make a concious decision. I have just recently written an artical on my blog which tries to clarify What is Eco Fashion? I have also previously written about what is ethical fashion? . I believe that in order to be completely ethical clothing should have minimal impact on the environment and a positive effect on the people in the areas that it is manufactured. People and their environment are so closely linked it is impossible to separate the two.

Yesterday I came across a campaign by Rapanui clothing for Eco labelling. They want open candid information on every aspect of the clothing manufacture Product Life Cycle - to take a fresh approach to combat greenwash in a market saturated with unjusitfied marketing catchphrases. I think this is a great idea, you can sign their petition to Number 10 through their website
I am very interested in your question - "what are customers looking for other than just buzzwords?" And this is actually what I am currently doing my research on. I agree with the other comments below, the industry lacks transparency and accountibility and it makes me so mad to see these terms thrown around without any real substance. I think labelling is a great idea and I will be sure to sign the petition below...

What else is needed though? What do consumers need in order make the right choices in their consumer habits? I am running a workshop in Aug with consumers to find out, if anyone is interested PLEASE let me know!!
Consumers are innocents and not at the deciding end evils in green goods entering now.Non- Virtue based un -ethical Industiralists and Fashion designers who propagate false hood in the 2 nd millanium are continuing the same old ways . This bothers me too.

I have developed totally organic and Gunuinely natural chemcial 4% used goods to show as example at the price lesser than the regular cheimcal items.

Voracious industrialist cut particlular tree to re generate it with silver particlue which is radio active that will eat ones bones. Fashion designers propagate the false fibres and un real colours as ture . If the virtue rules instead of illusion it will be alright. Ethics is only guilt , virtue is duty and responsiblity to nature as larger than man.

Un less attitude change value changing into green is no use. Attitude can change when man stops thinking he is the centre ot this universe and his god is greater than Nature.

We in our tribal areas till dayworship Nature as god noe man made gods . Hence we preserve the secrets of mother earth to give gift to man magically in a miraculus cots and surroundings. Web :
A site called "Ethical Fashion Network" is as guilty as any; it's a tautology because everyone who can sew or trade must be living by some ethic or other, so the term implies that there is some special ethic without saying which one. And "Fashion" has a messy meaning too: is it apparel of all kinds, or just a certain kind of fast-moving fashion with self-concious design?

My most puzzling discovery was a Pangea leather shoe, made in China for a firm with good PR, that got chosen by the UK's Observer Newspaper for their Ethical Fashion contest shortlist.
(sites saved half way through....)

Main ethical strands
-green issues: organic or similar
-animal rights issues overlapping with green: avoiding meat and leather
-human rights issues: avoiding autocratic countries and those without a welfare state, unless buying fairtrade where it can be verified
-human issues: sometimes getting cheap clothing available is important; expensive high fashion just seems irrelevant.

One big survery of co-op customers in February 2008 reported that consumers fount animal rights more important than environmental issues.

Another ethical strand is attempting to justify the mainstream.
-the Ethical Trading Iniitiative tries to smooth-out the most over-blown ethical boasts and the worst employment standards among its members, while accepting that things are mainly bought in China. Here is an example of the mainstream that's as bizarre as the Pangea leather shoe getting into a journalist's ethical shortlist.

Clare Lissaman, a consultant on ethical trade, fair trade and corporate social responsibility answered a question for an interviewer in I think Ethical Consumer:

Q: If we can generally guess what the problems are, can we shop by country, picking good ones and bad ones?
Usually you can see where a product was made.

Clare Lissaman replies:
I don't think you can compare countries. You're just as likely to have a sweatshop down the road here in London in the east end as you are in China, India or Bangladesh. One of the best factories I've come across in the world was in China. One of the worst factories I've come across in the world was in China.

I find that too bizarre to understand.
It does sound bizarre, but actually makes sense...

One of the biggest problems in Developed Countries (re ethical fashion) is Outsourced sweatshops. While we assume that national laws and unions protect our workers, there are many thousands of 'Homeworkers' making garments in their own homes for pittance. Yes - it's generally not legal, or falls through loop holes.

Because they are not all grouped together in a heaving factory, it makes them invisible. Have a look at to see how Australian textiles workers are being supported.

Anyhow, the point that she is trying to make, I believe, is that looking for the country in which the garment was made will not necessarily tell you what you need to know. However I would be guessing that your odds would be much better with 'made in australia' than 'made in china'...

Jen x
This is a great question. I think we have to turn the whole thing on its head. The consumer required brands to be much more transparent about their own stance with regard to ethical issues. The consumer can then make an informed decision regarding the brand. There is no hiding behind the very broad ethical statements that are currently so favoured.

The consumer for their part has to make their own decision as to what they really mean by ethical and what is important to them. Then see if their favoured brands match their preference?
Both parties have to start answering some fundamental questions and making the answers their reason to buy a particular brand.

To answer your last question honesty.
this is excactly why we on the supply end must include education as a part of our mandate!

ethics implies honesty, and if we can get the facts about the industry in circulation, we can get the consumers asking questions...
No, Virtue based ethics is important . Mere ethics is guilt only. Virtue involves duty and responsiblity to one and all. That can become practical only when man drops his ego grip and his feeling that his god is great , nature is great.

Mother nature never will reveal her secrets and magical gifts to man when is is ego grip. We,one of old well preserved tribes in South India proved it first time now after 200 years Live-processing Denim jeans to give miraculous life of 100 years and power to cure many body diseases.

Ethicals, and Voracious tree cutting Industrialists for regenerating fibres to particule chemical dying ,as it is poison , it can not revel the mother nature secret as gifts to man , as they are in the antimatter opponent killer side to humanity.

In the banding of ETHICS SLOGANS they are pushing humanity from fry pan ( Chemical molecules dyes) to fire, with the help of nano science . Science can serve not man virtuous way, but hollow green wash them well with ethical slogan,it is business by usual anto social elements.
Hi, BryanJandrell,

Now I decided to seperate and identify my produce in the market from mere general term Ethical goods to as follows ;

It is Virtue based Fasion . Since it is totally Organic cotton natural indigo ethnic dyed by Live processing , it is every way similar to those old world denim jeans .This is to lost like time has the medicinal power to it to detox body blood.It is many colour fresh ever wash after in one colour. It is Art of Ecstasy and Bio-Sheath .It has antique value .Its price is equal to any premium Jeans as well lesser than its last price .

To give seperate identity I am declaring it from now on as Virtue based Fashion, give any suggestion if you have . ;
It’s pretty easy in this green day and age to get confused when it comes to all the eco-ethical-environment friendly, social responsibility awareness that has been developing at a rapid pace since the start of the millennium. Fashion houses all over the world have begun changing the way they source and produce clothing, labeling these items accordingly so as to ease the conscience of the buyer, as well as often to justify the price. But what exactly do these labels mean? Ethical Fashion as a whole employs a different manufacturing process to that of the regular fashion most of us have been buying thus far.

Organic Material is the first trade mark of Ethical Fashion. This describes the standards by which the unwoven fibers used to produce the material in question are grown. In order to be labeled “Organic” the growing process needs to meet certain Organic Agricultural Standards. This is not the same as Natural Material, which is the second trademark sector in Ethical Fashion. Natural material refers to raw materials that have minimal impact on the environment themselves as a result of their specific cultivation process. These materials require less pesticides, water and fertilizers than other materials – making them more environmentally friendly.

Recycling is the third ethical sector under the Ethical Fashion umbrella. This refers to the process of re-using clothes and other objects in creating something new. As millions of tons of re-usable textiles are thrown away each year, this is a highly effective way to aid in preserving the environment.

The next sector involves promoting traditional textile techniques as well as promoting Know-How. This provides local artisans with job opportunities, as well as creates cultural richness and diversity within textiles.

Yet another of these ethical sectors involves Investing in Social Projects. This includes working with minorities and underprivileged communities, and providing them with training and jobs – enabling them to take control of their futures.

Last, but certainly not least, is a key element in realm of Ethical Fashion. Within the Fair Fashion sector, it is imperative that that the standards of fair trade are respected. The idea is to ensure that pay rates remain decent, in turn resulting in sustainable development.

In order for a brand or item to achieve Ethical Fashion status, it is not necessary to meet each and every sector under the Ethical Fashion umbrella. In a realistic sense this would be near impossible taking into consideration how the fashion industry is currently operating. The idea at the moment is to encourage awareness of a new attitude, way of thinking and manufacturing style, and hence every little step in the right direction counts. By even only employing one of these ethical standards, a label is able to brand themselves as ethically aware.

While this trend in ethical awareness began in the 80’s, the start of the new millennium saw exponential growth in this area. And it seems that is a trend that is not about to phase out any time soon either. In fact, it has been suggested that this ethical consciousness may not be a trend at all, but rather a more permanent awareness and shift in the foundations of the fashion industry itself.

And mainstream names are becoming more and more aware of the growing demand for ethically produced fashion. While previously it was only a few elite designers and boutiques that stocked ethical fashion, names like Topshop, Marks and Spencer, Ascension, asos, and africhic of course, are now branching out and starting ethical fashion ranges, stocking them alongside their other regular ranges. This makes what was once less attainable to your middle class, pressed for time, uninformed shopper a more plausible option in terms of wardrobe choices.

Check out the blog of africhic for more on ethical trade.
Yes, if it is a shift in the foundation of fashion and it is born of Good time 2010 -2100. They say more conciouse and creative people are going to be born in this century and the time is good. They comprise only 4 % now in the global population . Conciouse and creative ones only can make the niche market for virtue fashion goods. In this on line niche market the competitors are absent and no imitation possible . The Rural agro and craft people in 3 rd world poor nations can add now to quality to their jobs as it is green goods . When the job adds quality to it the junk economy goes real . Sensible investment in this century here will directly help stop the recession dips other wise recessions are going to chase us with chemical and plastics. Urban small industries working on plastic and chemical in food and textiles are doing no quality job or do any solid contribution to stop junk economy. Whe the economy is junk no one wish to revive it including our poilticians and beauracrates . Recent G8 & G20 did not touch this topic for the reason they are aware of that all jobs now are laking quality in all sectors of economy . It is wast of time to discuss on recovery ,better they discussed on stimulus to lending institues , terrorism etc.

Global economy is now growing at 4% . When small scale enterprenurs is not able to access to credit from bank what does this means to making green goods and adding quality to jobs being done.

Hence, it is under this circumstance I would like to bring it to focus all creative and conciouse smll population that Science and Technology is now in the area of spirit and mother earth another diamention to exploit is her rural poors traditional craft practices and creative genius , a source unlimitted . One must see this oppturnity by mind's eye. Mother earth has not betrayed humans . They till date use science only one side of material and luckly neglected tribes . Un balanced is always danger . Now spirit and Material balanced way can work in green goods production . 250 years rural agro and crafts people were neglected by moden science , it is blessing in disguise for the poors. Till day they are protected by mother earth . Now modern man could exploit them again . But they can not, as it takes conciouse and creativity .It is a stuff rare in the 96% of global population .

Conciouse creative producers and distributors and consumers can benefit in this virtue fashion . It is real economy and and dip less recessions. It is certainly a shift in the fundamental level not only in the fashion also for economy and also for fesh source from mother earth and its people of creative ones.

When callenges comes support also arrives for use those who can will use and recover.


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