Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why Buying Into Ethical Fashion is a Really Good Idea

By Kevin S Longworth

Unfortunately it's not as straightforward as saying, don't buy your clothes from the big boys, stick to independent retailers that source everything ethically and organically because even the supermarket giants are making sure they've got an ethical range. Not wanting to be seen to be outdone or above helping the planet and workers in the Third World, they've jumped right in and used their cash to make sure they're in the organic thick of it.

But look closely and you'll see that one of the largest supermarkets to stock clothes offers two ethically sourced dresses out of a collection of 110, less than two per cent. Smells a lot like a token gesture to me but better that than nothing at all, Rome wasn't built in a day and all those other appropriate clich├ęs.

What is clear is that just as organic and free range chicken became the full time hobby of Jamie Oliver a few years ago, first in schools and then in supermarkets, so too can ethical fashion become just as much of a hot topic.

A lot of people now um and ah in the fresh poultry aisle these days and don't automatically dive for the cheapest or the ones on offer, often the free range meat is the first to sell out. It's true that there is still less choice when it comes to the fairtrade and British meats but it has dramatically increased since all the publicity and if we can keep that going there'll soon be only free range and British to choose from and wouldn't that be quite something.

Buying clothes that are made from ethically produced and sourced materials helps crop farmers and textile workers across the third world from living in absolute poverty as it provides a fair and stable income that doesn't just see all the profit go to Western designers and stockists. The problem with this practice is that it's easy to ignore what we can't see, ignorance is bliss as they say. So while we're happily buying hundreds of new items of clothing at every opportunity, most of us don't even consider the consequences or how those items came to be so incredibly cheap in the first place.

Buying fair trade clothing and organic clothing not only helps workers in the third world to benefit from their hard work but also helps the environment and our health. Growing organically means drastically cutting back (or stopping altogether) on the use of chemical pesticides and stimulants, reducing harm to the environment but also to our skin and respiratory system and while it may be more labour intensive and therefore at slightly more of a premium, just as with free range meat, the more we choose it, the more the demand and the cheaper it will become.

For ethical fashion items such as womens fairtrade clothing look online for the best retailers selling clothing made from fairtrade sourced materials.

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