When I first got involved with Jo’el worldwear I cannot say that Ethical fashion was something that I had ever really given much thought to. Yes I knew about the issues with slave and child labour but it was always something in the back of the mind that never really came to the forefront when I was clothes shopping. Now after having looked into it and become more involved I realised that I don’t feel comfortable condoning that kind of exploitation, now I won’t say I’m perfect, far from it, I’ll still slip up occasionally but that’s why I entitled this post “on the road”.
I’ve started to think about where my clothes are actually coming from and who makes them, in so far as I can I am making the effort to avoid the high street shops that deal in cheap fashion that is made to be consumed and disposed of and instead I have started to look into more ethical and sustainable ways of buying clothes. I don’t have a huge budget so one of the best ways cost wise for me is charity and second hand shops, while it is true that a lot of the clothes in them have been made in these conditions, when you buy from those you are not giving your money to the corporations that exploit their workers, but rather to the charity that the shop runs on behalf of. I’ve also started thinking about clothes made in the UK (those abroad who are reading could think about clothes made ethically in their own countries!) and while I have found some beautiful brands that are produced here- Harris Tweed and Nessie being the examples that come to mind in Scotland- these can be very expensive, but this does not necessarily matter if I was to make up my mind to buy them I would save up and treat myself to them, it’s not about having a different outfit for every day of the year as the items you would buy in these places are more for keeping and often you’ll find these clothes are better made and beautiful enough to be timeless and worth hanging on to. The same principle applies to vintage clothes, which is another style which I adore.
Many would be thinking at this point that they are just a drop in the ocean, and what does it matter if they themselves try and take this attitude and there are two things I would say to that. Firstly, one of the first things one learns when they take an economics class is the principle of supply and demand, where there is demand there is supply and if the demand for ethically produced clothes is there, then the supply with gradually appear, perhaps not overnight but it will happen, which ties into the second point I would make. If everyone takes the attitude that they cannot change anything then of course nothing will happen, but if everyone thinks “perhaps I am just one person, but I can try and make a difference” then collectively you will, if enough people think about ethically produced fashion then the industry will take note and will eventually reform. So make the effort yourself and spread the words to your friends. As the quote on the top of my post says, every time you spend money you cast a vote for the world you want, what kind of world are you voting for?
-Guest post by Daphne