Fair Trade Clothing Brands & Human Rights ... the Ethical Consumer Movement

Discussion in 'Fashion... In Depth' started by Erin, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. SomethingElse

    SomethingElse Press escape to continue.

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    Here is a link to the Ethical Consumer Organization which has a wealth of information about what each person can do to make a difference. http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/
     
  2. SwanDiamondRose

    SwanDiamondRose New Member

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    i agree
     
  3. SomethingElse

    SomethingElse Press escape to continue.

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    Green Card: Eco-Fashion Steps Up

    Renata Espinosa, 3 May 2007 - New York

    It used to be that eco-conscious clothing meant hemp t-shirts and organic cotton yoga pants - fashion hadn't yet entered the equation.

    Now, not only are there smaller niche designers to choose from like Linda Loudermilk and Elisa Jimenez, who have long used eco-friendly fabrics and production methods, but major fashion labels like Stella McCartney, Versace and Diesel are also producing clothes with Mother Earth in mind, using fabrics made from sustainable plants like bamboo and corn.

    "It doesn't have to be an aesthetic sacrifice just because it's eco-friendly," said Jimenez at an Ingeo NatureWorks "Earth Month" event in New York on April 24. Ingeo is a synthetic fabric whose selling point is that it is made from a 100 percent renewable resource, corn, which Jimenez has been using in her collections for the past three years.

    "It's not a trend, it's absolutely necessary," said Melissa Sack, who designs a line of sweatshop-free clothing called Moral Fervor with Emily Santamore. "People now shop at Whole Foods, they buy organic skincare and cleaning products, but fashion is the last frontier. It's been the slowest to integrate."

    Moral Fervor's mission is to be socially conscious on all levels, said Sack, from the biodegradable products they use in their offices to the mills in Portugal they've selected to produce their clothing, which have their own in-house water purification systems. In many mills, said Sack, the water used in the dyeing process turns black and it's released back into the water supply.

    "It's a holistic way of operating business," said Sack.

    For their current Spring 2007 line, Moral Fervor used Ingeo fabrics.

    It's a cross between a natural and a synthetic fiber, says Ingeo spokesperson Tiziana Tronci. "It breathes, it's hypoallergenic and has the performance of a synthetic fiber, but it comes from nature."

    Thus, it's an alternative for clothing manufacturers instead of using petroleum-based synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester, which do not originate from a sustainable resource and aren't biodegradable. While it's derived from natural sources, the fact that it is a synthetic makes it versatile, said Tronci.

    As far as textiles go, it's been used as denim, wovens, jersey and also more unusual fabrications, such as those found in Elisa Jimenez's designs, where the fabric takes on delicate, paper doily-like qualities, yet has the strength of a traditional woven.

    Ingeo is not without its critics, however, namely with those opposed to genetically engineered crops. It was reported by the Associated Press last year that Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company known for its environmental awareness, decided against using the fabric because Ingeo relies, at least partially, on genetically modified corn (known as GMO corn).

    But for designers like Jimenez, the pros of using a fiber like Ingeo - its biodegradability, its sustainability – are in keeping with their business philosophy.

    "I want to live more conscientiously," said Jimenez. The disposable nature of fashion is an idea Jimenez, also an artist, has incorporated into her designs, so using something like Ingeo as her medium is filled with conceptual significance.

    "Where does the stuff go after we've worn it?" Jimenez asked, arguing that if something isn't designed to be kept for a long time, like fashion, then it's better to use materials that are designed to breakdown over time.

    "Eco-conscious is the new luxury," she continued. "It costs more to produce, but it has more finesse."
     
  4. nqth

    nqth arndom

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    I saw tshirts in organic cotton in Zara in the whitest, painted vividly with japanese motifs and are ridiculously cheap (around 15 euro I think).

    Can organic cotton be white? AA has them in natural colour only. I am just wondering:)
     
  5. SomethingElse

    SomethingElse Press escape to continue.

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    I believe that organic means the way in which the cotton was grown. It has nothing to do with the treatment of the cotton after it is harvested from the plant. Just because the cotton is organic doesn't mean organic dyes were used in treating the cloth. So yes, organic cotton can be white.

    Lots of designers are announcing some kind of organic line, but it remains to be seen just how eco-conscious the products really are. Neither Zara nor its parent company have a particular mission statement about being green.
     
    #285 SomethingElse, May 6, 2007
    Last edited by moderator ScarlettLou: May 6, 2007
  6. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    ^ Don't know if the T you saw was bleached with hydrogen peroxide, but I believe that is the low-impact method (or one of them anyway) :flower: Lots of organic cotton products are available in white.
     
  7. nqth

    nqth arndom

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    ^ thanks, Somethingelse and Fashionista-ta. Indeed I thought that the bleaching should also be eco, too, or at least produced in a low-tech way.

    I have no doubts that Zara was just jumping on the new trend:)
     
  8. Feline

    Feline rock-chic

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    Monsoon & Accessorise are members of the Ethical Trading Initiative. They use fair trade cotton, mostly from small farms in India. The Monsoon Accessorise Trust was set up in 1994 to improve the lives of disadvantaged women & children in Asia. Projects include supporting street children, education for women & children and an immunisation programme.
    More info on www.monsoon.co.uk under Culture and Commitment
     
  9. ilaughead

    ilaughead New Member

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    Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is wrong with genetically modified crops? Are there harmful chemicals in them, or is it just because they aren't natural?
     
  10. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    It's not about chemicals, it's because they're not natural. The issue is that Mother Nature has very effective methods for cross-pollinating. Among the things that are being done with GMO crops ... making them infertile so that no one can save seeds & farmers have to buy seeds from Monsanto every year. Potentially this could kill off the fertility of ALL our crops thru cross-pollination. There goes biodiversity. Now all you can plant is Monsanto's brand of whatever. They have also spliced animal genes into plants. They are also using plants to "grow" drugs. The problem is that an open field is an uncontrolled environment, and GMO spreads like wildfire thru pollination. Making sense?

    Also, GMO crops appear to be dangerous for unknown reasons. Some sheep got into a GMO cotton field, ate it, and died. No one knows why.

    Bottom line, it is very weird s*** that could screw up the whole planet.
     
  11. SomethingElse

    SomethingElse Press escape to continue.

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    Ethical fashion MA and discussion on R4

    Quote from fuk.co.uk

    23/05/2007

    Today Dilys Williams from the London College of Fashion and Katharine Hamnett discussed ethical fashion on Women's Hour. To be honest, I'd forgotten Women's Hour exisited and haven't heard it for gawd knows how long but this item is worth checking out. Dilys is heading up a new MA in Ethical Design at LCF and her stance is very much that designers coming through are making ethics a priority - couldn't agree more Dilys. That is totally my experience - five years ago indie designers looking to make an impact hardly ever mentioned the word 'ethical' and would look dumbstruck when you questioned them about manufacturing work practices etc.. Now I meet designers regularly who tell me that this is the starting point of their business.

    Hamnett makes the point that the big players are having to change their ways or risk being "caught with their pants down." Hamnett - who has been campaigning for organic cotton for several years now, thinks that companies have to stop manufacturing in China where trade unions are illegal and that country of origin classifications should be introduced. Although the ETI doesn't preclude members from manufacturing in China, it is I agree bizarre to try and reconcile this with some Chinese work practices. Dilys believes that there are no single answers here - it is fantastic though that soon aspiring designers have an academic course focused on ethical fashion.

    Have a listen here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/ram/2007_21_wed_02.ram
     
  12. nqth

    nqth arndom

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    I am wondering why the big names don't use organic cotton, which is also of a very good quality. Is it because of the dyeing problems? Or production? Low quantity, perhaps.

    And why jkts cannot be made of organics, too, I can only see tshirts, underwears, skirts and dresses. Ok maybe pants:) but never jkts or coats. Of hemp, yes, but organic cotton, no.

    Fashion is about designing clothes not just source of cotton, but still. Maybe some companies use organic cotton without saying loudly so:)?

    I think young designers who state "ethic" is their most important issue should think twice. It should be design. Ethical should be production.
     
    #292 nqth, May 24, 2007
    Last edited by moderator : May 24, 2007
  13. mediocrityrules

    mediocrityrules New Member

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    ahhh scary :cry:....
     
  14. VampireCa

    VampireCa New Member

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    well, organic cotton takes time to grow, because it is not growing with harmful pasticise (to kill insects) which damage heath of the cotton farmers, the rate of harvest is smaller than conventional cotton, and the price is higher. From 2002 the amount of organic cotton produced has tripled, but it still far away from reaching the huge demand. Organic cotton production is about less than 1% of the total cotton produced in the world, more and more brands are responsing to this trend and wanting their brand with the title "organic". The problem is organic cotton does not just grow from the ground in 1 day, it takes time..... besides, are people really willing to pay the difference? What if being green becoming "out of the trend", do u still want to spend more money on organic clothing?
     
  15. SomethingElse

    SomethingElse Press escape to continue.

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    Bamboo and hemp and linen and lots of other renewable and sustainable fibres are tops on my list. Here is a though provoking article about bamboo, for example: http://www.theecologist.org/archive_detail.asp?content_id=919

    But the greatest impact we can all make today is to buy locally grown foods. The cost of going from the local farm to the local farmers' market versus shipping food for thousands and thousands of miles - it's kind of a no brainer.
     
  16. nqth

    nqth arndom

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    Well, I know that organic cotton takes time to grow, and I know what means organic, 100% organic, made with organic and made with organic under 70%.

    I did some research on it. Since a company like Pantagonia could make their entire cotton items from OC, and it does not cost 100 euros for a tshirt, as any designer tshirt, and a lot of other small companies sell everything from socks to underwear and baby wear from OC cotton, it doesn't seem to me that OC is that expensive and small.

    I came accross and article saying that in 1994 or 1996 the cost of producing a pound of OC was1.25 usd, while non OC was 1 usd. 25% pricier, but not like 2 or 3 times.

    It is interesting that OC is never used for jkts and coats, that's my point. Maybe it's an issue with textile companies.
     
    #296 nqth, May 26, 2007
    Last edited by moderator : May 26, 2007
  17. ilaughead

    ilaughead New Member

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    Thanks for the article! I feel like planting a forest of bamboo in my backyard now!:ninja:
     
  18. nqth

    nqth arndom

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    ^ you are welcome:)
     
  19. meme527

    meme527 New Member

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    thanks you guys for all the information. really inspirational.
     
  20. misssakura

    misssakura New Member

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    From ethical consumer:

    How ironic.
     

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