a conscious consumer
buy less choose well
We need clothing, we no longer have (much) body hair and we need to keep warm, clothing can therefore be classed as a necessity. Having said that, we have taken that need and turned it into a desire.
Clothing has become a way to express ourselves, an art form, in a society increasingly focused on image, assumptions are drawn even before you utter a word. People buy clothes to feel good about themselves, we use fashion as a medium to express our inner self through our appearance.
For most people, buying clothes therefore becomes a hedonic, emotional experience rather than a functional motivation.
Generally, consumers are becoming more ethically aware, more concerned with where and by who made their clothing. On 24 April 2013, 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. That’s when Fashion Revolution was born. 1,134 is too many people to lose from the planet in one factory on one terrible day to not stand up and demand change.
We believe transparency is the first step to transform the industry. And it starts with one simple question: “Who made my clothes?”
Yet despite a number of international standards, certifications and government legislation to tackle human rights, working conditions are not up to scratch in many of the places where clothing, accessories and footwear is made, including factories in the UK. Systematic exploitation remains rife. It is up to us as consumers to ask questions, and to demand change.
“We need more transparency from the fashion industry. Transparency involves openness, communication and accountability. Transparency means operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. Transparency is a means of holding people and businesses to account. It is an approach to doing business and a professional behaviour. Transparency is a means to a better industry, not an end itself. This is what Fashion Revolution means when we talk about transparency for the fashion industry.”
There is also a necessity for change in our buying habits. Cheap clothes are thrown out as rapid trends pass. Perhaps we should instead be looking at clothes that last longer and benefit the people making them. Ethical consumption is not only about buying more conscious items but buying fewer products in general, as Vivienne Westwood famously said- “Buy less, choose well”.
When you do buy, take a minute to think about that garment, the first question you should ask yourself is do you really need it? If you are intent on buying then ask some more questions, is the garment made from organic fabric? Is it made locally? Is it made from recycled materials? is it upcycled? is it fair trade certified? is it secondhand or vintage? is it made locally? are you going to wear it... alot?
Conscious fashion needn't be “uncool” or “unaffordable”, there is a wave of incredible brands emerging that are guaranteed to stimulate all of our aesthetic senses, from nightwear including our own brand- noctu, to high fashion- The Reformation, to footwear- Veja, brands that are shouting loudly about their ethics and their transparency. Surely we all want the same, we want to own clothing that hasn’t hurt anyone in its production. If we think a little more about the clothing we buy, those decisions and choices will make a difference to the lives of people all over the world. By acknowledging the power and responsibility we have, each and everyone of us can make a difference.