I’ve been researching ethical fashion for a while and every time I feel like I’ve got a handle on it, I learn something new or gain a new perspective that changes everything. Like all causes or objectives, there are a multitude of facets and variables to unravel. In the unravelling, more and more pros and cons arise; as soon as I decide where I stand on one aspect, I learn something that makes me rethink my stance. Sometimes it’s the choice between prioritizing people in the short-term or the environment in the long-term. Or, parts of the industry require overhauls to such an extent that the resultant ill-effects to so many interconnected factors would render the changes worthless.
Trying to concentrate on one aspect and really channelling all my energy into that could be more worthwhile and could effectuate more change. But does that mean I isolate one facet at the expense of all others? Some people are concerned with Fairtrade and certifications, others with ethical work practices and others still with the extensive damage to the environment, yet within these three general categories, there are hundreds of individual aspects to consider. It’s a minefield of do’s and don’t’s and causes a lot of confusion for those willing to get involved and even more so for consumers. I struggle to see why or how any consumer would buy into the ‘ethical’ world when the information is so unclear and the protagonists so divergent in their opinions.
My only solution is to take each new piece of information as an individual nugget and decide whether it’s something I wish to endorse or not. For now I’m willing to support any company or individual who is at least trying and acknowledging that change is needed, without suggesting that their products are the last word in ethical fashion! While that might sound a little wishy-washy, I don’t think it’s possible to begin with a dogmatic approach and risk alienating some of the hardest working and well-meaning people in the industry.
And so it begins…