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

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

  1. 24hourteaparty

    24hourteaparty New Member

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    I'll admit I did not read the whole thread , but ethical/fair trade is something I have been thinking about a lot lately.

    I would really love if I could buy fair trade clothes, and I would pay more, since it would be worth more. But I wear plus sizes and I spent hours searching online the other night looking for “green” clothing in my size. I didn't find any.

    And sadly most plus size clothes are made of the very not green polyester.

    Another thing if the lack of stylish green clothes, which I think is an improving situation, since being green seems like a bit of a trend.

    I have been trying to consume less, and only what I really love. Treat my clothes well so they last longer, and buy used when I can. Which I think is something most people can do. I think we really need to get away from fast fashion and the idea that everything is replaceable.

    Anyway, I am gonna go back and read the rest of the thread.
     
  2. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    ^ Maybe buying green fabric & having things made for you would be an option :flower:
     
  3. 24hourteaparty

    24hourteaparty New Member

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    i had not considered that before. but i really should look into it. it would cost a lot of money but then again, it should. having a product made for you sounds sooo worth it.

    and i have been trying to buy less since i think that is the most easy way to lower our impact on the planet.

    thanks.
     
  4. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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  5. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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  6. YoninahAliza

    YoninahAliza New Member

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    I was wondering what people think about sustainable clothing being made by highstreet brands. You know, by H&M and the like. Because on one hand I think it's quite cool to see them acknowledge that sustainable clothing is important but at the same time I feel like it's an oxymoron. Sustainable/ethical clothing and mass produced clothing don't really seem to go well together. I really want them to but seeing as H&M and several other companies have been cited for unethical treatment of workers and throwing out clothing that hasn't been bought it makes me think they need to fix those problems before they can try to make ethical/sustainable clothing. Or else it wont really be created for the reason's it should be. Only then will sustainable clothing created by highstreet brands be reflective on the ethical/sustainable values they are meant to project.
     
  7. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    ^ I see it as a bit like Wal-mart carrying organics. That's all nice and everything, and every little bit helps ... but I'm still not shopping there. In the case of Wal-mart, I need to see them fix the way they treat women. In the case of H&M, I need to believe I have a good chance of walking out with a quality product that's going to last. It's nice that they're doing some organic cotton & recycled polyester ... but they are adding to the problem faster than they're solving it, as far as I can tell.
     
  8. F0F0

    F0F0 New Member

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    You have people who buy their ethical credentials and people that don't. In the UK women tend to be more "believers" whereas men show more cynical attitudes about this according to one study.

    Ethical fashion/clothing is a broad term that can be subjected to too many interpretations: I'd say it depends on your definitions on what's ethical and what's not, or what better fits your own political agenda.

    Ethical clothing is now part of the overall high-street retailer's corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies made to boast themselves as moral guardians/examples/leaders of the communities they sell to, but not caring too much about what happens in the factories they cheap-manufacture and exploit in. Insincerity and hypocrisy to say the least (see http://www.labourbehindthelabel.org[/URL for more]).

    But not only the big companies play in this game: Even small fashion ethical labels and designers engage on it. :doh:

    Any fashion business or label that runs in the capitalism system participates in this rat race. B)
     
  9. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    So the study found men are cynical, eh? :innocent:

    I find it a bit ludicrous to think that any business is by definition corrupt. I think there are plenty of examples around of how to make money the right way. The cynical will never find them though ...

    I think those guilty of greenwashing (The Body Shop comes immediately to mind) should be hung higher than Walmart.
     
  10. YoninahAliza

    YoninahAliza New Member

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    ^What do you mean by greenwashing, sorry but I've never herd of the term before.
     
  11. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    ^ It's like whitewashing ... when a company pretends to be all green, but really isn't.
     
  12. YoninahAliza

    YoninahAliza New Member

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    ^Ah okay, that makes sense now. In that case I do understand what you mean- it's horrible how companies deceive the customer into thinking they are a green company but in reality they aren't. People often blindly follow adverts and companies without ever doing any research into how ethical a brand is. That's part of the problem I think, I mean often times the information is out there, people just don't bother to look. Or if they do see it they choose to ignore it. Which only continues the cycle of whitewashing.

    Also, isn't the point of every business to make money? It wouldn't be a business if that wasn't the point, it would be a nonprofit. And just because they are capitalistic doesn't automatically make a business corrupt. I think that several examples exist of how to create a business correctly and still be ethically/morally sound. Not every business is that way, but I do think that more and more businesses are recognizing the importance of not just creating a product but giving something back too.
     
  13. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    ^ And sometimes you can actually be more effective as a business ... look at Rugmark.
     
  14. Eterna

    Eterna New Member

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    ^But Rugmark is not a business, is only another certificate that ensures that children have not made a product, right?
    Such certificates are great, but usually implies an increase of the price in the final product, because to get them they have to pay for them (for the procedures that involve not talking about anything corrupt).
    And a product made in Germany or France likely is not made by children even without that certificate.
    so true. Am I the only one who is surprised that there are sales at these fair trade stores?
    agree, and for me it is also wrong to think that the big clothing stores (h&m, zara,...) are unethical and don't respect the rights of workers simply because their clothes are very cheap and sell a lot.
    Course cases occur but are reported and punished and corrected; but sometimes it just means they are better businessmen than others who sell less or who have a similar product with a higher price
    for me it is a good thing. Means that it is an issue that people care, and if people buy more at H&M that kind of clothes than those without the label "fair trade", "organic"... H&M will have more of these products and may come to have all products of that type.
    H&M wants to sell, and if the consumer demand for "fair trade" products, that's what they'll sell
     
    #374 Eterna, Aug 27, 2011
    Last edited by moderator Alekya: Aug 27, 2011
  15. fashionista-ta

    fashionista-ta Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Rugmark is a certification. The woman who founded it was originally a volunteer. She saw the child labor problem associated with rug making, and decided that getting involved in the business was the way to fix the problem. She now owns a company as well. The way that Rugmark works is that when their inspections find child laborers, they take them out of the factory and **send them to school.**

    Absolutely the price goes up when goods are manufactured in an ethical way. It costs more to pay people a living wage than to starve them, or to 'employ' slave labor.

    What you say about H&M reminds me of someone I knew who was Muslim and called McDonald's to ask if the meat was hallal. When told yes, he went off happily to eat there. I guess people can believe whatever they want to :innocent: But show me some evidence that H&M is doing things right in a consistent way ... that this isn't window dressing. Generally when the mass-market labels are doing things right, it's because they've been caught and slapped upside the head (hello, Nike). It's easy to go with the flow and do things the wrong way. It takes considerable effort to do things right.
     
  16. YoninahAliza

    YoninahAliza New Member

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    Personally, If I had to I'd rather pay more for something if I knew it was ethically sound rather then buy something cheep if it was made in unethical conditions. But that's just me. Certificates are great because they tend to ensure that an item was made in proper conditions. And I like knowing that sort of thing when I buy my clothes. But I know loads of people don't care about what condition clothes are made in because they just see it as a product but I like to see it as the end result of someone's hard work. Thus I'd want the person who made the shirt, dress, or whatever I just bought to be paid fairly and treated right. Just like I would hope that others would want me to be paid/treated fairly for my job. Often times people never stop and think about who made the clothes they are wearing which stems from our mass consumer culture.

    Also, I see your point about how its a good thing that H&M are creating eco clothes because it shows that people obviously do want it. And that it does have a market in the high street fashions. Now, if only H&M would work on not throwing out unused clothing and treating workers better, then I think they could be a force to be reckoned with in terms of creating eco clothes. Maybe someday they wont need a tag that says "eco friendly" on it because everything they sell will be eco friendly.
     
  17. Style Eyes

    Style Eyes New Member

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    Ethical and environmental responsibilities of luxury brands

    There was a really interesting article in the Guardian about luxury brands and ethical and environmental responsibilities. Just goes to show that just because you are paying more for clothes does not mean it has been produced more ethically. I was really surprised to hear about designers who are so vocal about ethical and environmental issues are not concerned when it comes to their own brands.

    I was wondering what everyone thinks.

    Does this concern you? would you still buy from these brands?

    Source: The Guardian
     
  18. ffashionist

    ffashionist New Member

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    @Style Eyes
    This is very true. Unortunatelly many, if not all, big designers have lost the control their own brands. So they may have some good ethical philosophy, but with all the licences, outsourcing and big fashion groups, they can't really be sure how the products that carry their name are being produced...
     
  19. YoninahAliza

    YoninahAliza New Member

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    ^Yep, completely true. It's really sad how many designers are all part of one large corporation. I don't think many people realize (well those who don't follow fashion avidly) that so many designer brands are owned by a few companies. And these companies are so large and they have so much power over the designers and the labels that it's impossible for a designer to stick to their guns. Unless they want to risk being sacked. So a designer might have good intentions, like Stella McCartney, but in the end the clothes that are produced aren't ethically sound like they think/hope they are. Plus, think about it, a person is paying a ton of money for a designer item yet it was quite possibly made in unethical conditions/not eco-friendly. People expect that when they buy a luxury item it'll be well made and in the correct conditions but as this research shows, it isn't necessarily true. Even designer clothing can't escape the unethical side to the fashion industry.

    I just wish more people were concerned about this issue and took the opportunity to vocalize their opinions. Because then I feel like those who run luxury companies like Gucci or LVMH would feel more pressure to change their ways. Because until that happens people are going to continue to buy shoddy designer items (which you'd think are suppose to be better quality). And these companies are going to continue to treat workers poorly and do damage to the environment.
     
  20. HeatherAnne

    HeatherAnne Well-Known Member

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    Fascinating article on Maiyet in today's Wall Street Journal:

     

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