Ethical Fashion 101: Resources
This information was originally created for participants of Fashion Revolution YYC who attended in an in-person event. The resources provided below are meant to further attendee's knowledge, and provide further information discussed at each of the events. That being said, all of these resources are valuable to everyone, regardless if you were in attendance!
Typically referring to a set of morals, standards or values. A definition of what 'Ethical' emcompasses varies from person to person, depending on their culture, their life experiences, their upbringing. In the context of fashion, ethical fashion could include things such as fair wages, and no child labour.
Transparency in fashion refers to the amount of information a consumer has access to in regards to a businesses operations. Transparency from a business could include: governance (ie: who is on the board of directors), traceability (does the brand publish a list of its suppliers, from manufacturing to raw materials?), social and environmental policies, or their investors. Transparency is essential in ensuring that human rights are being respected, working conditions are adaquate, and the environment is safeguarded. If we know all of this information, we can hold the fashion industry accountable for bad practices, and encourage and support good practices. More information about transparency here.
A certification body following 10 principles: Fair payment, transparency and accountability, no child labour/forced labour, fair trading practices, respect for the environment, promoting fairtrade, good working conditions, opportunities for producers, capacity building, and gender equity/non-discrimination/freedom of association. More information about the principles here. More information about the spelling of Fairtrade vs. fair trade here.
A trading process based mostly on interpersonal relationships between the producer and the buyer. There is no middle man, or large overarching certification or auditing organization. You may have heard this term used in relation to coffee. More information about direct trade here.
No official definition, no official certification, and no official guidelines are associated with the term 'ethically made'. The Ethical Trading Initiative have outlined some codes of practice founded on the conventions of the international labour convention. More information about ethically made codes of practice here.
Made In Canada:
A term that means an item has been made in Canada. This does not mean that all materials or other labour is Canadian, just that some part of the product was produced in Canada.
A term in which marketers, or PR companies deceptively use green or eco terms to promote the idea that their product is sustainable or ethical. A company may greenwash by spending more money on 'green' advertising than actual environmental initiatives. More about greenwashing here.
How do I know if a brand is ethical?
Apps to Help:
1. Good on You
2. The Good Guide
Great Blogs To Follow:
Founded in 2010 by Jennifer Nini a writer, activist and certified organic farm owner, Eco Warrior Princess covers a variety of topics, including sustainable fashion, conscious business, green politics, feminism, eco beauty, wellness, and green technology.
Sustainability In Style is a platform committed to helping stylish folks become resilient, mindful, and conscious consumers. Their believe is that every individual is a leader for sustainable action. Their goal is to empower individuals to take action through self-guided learning.
Ethical Writers & Creatives is a group of bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, photographers, influencers, and other creatives who seek to improve the world with their work. Members of EWC (including myself!) focus on topics surrounding ethics, sustainability, social justice, etc. I reccommend checking out all of the members, as they each have such unique voices and perspectives.
Binge Worthy Podcasts:
Clare Press is the presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast and Australian VOGUE's Sustainability Editor-at-Large. A passionate advocate for ethical fashion, she is Australia's go-to journalist on the subject, and sits on the Australian advisory board of Fashion Revolution. This podcast is engaging, informative, and the perfect dose of fashion news and information!
Hosted by Kestrel, a storyteller & conscious style maven, who believes fashion + ethics can jive, and maybe even thrive together. For over a decade, she's been enthralled with asking questions about where our clothes are made, what they are made of and who made them. Conscious Chatter opens the door to conversations about our clothing + the layers of stories, meaning and potential impact connected to what we wear. It's a venue that allows us to continue to learn more about the garment industry and how we can all be a bigger part of positive change in the industry.
Copenhagen Fashion Summit is the world’s leading business event on sustainability in fashion. Since 2009, the multi-stakeholder event has brought major fashion industry players together to discuss the most critical environmental, social, and ethical issues facing our industry and planet. Known playfully as the Davos of the fashion industry, Copenhagen Fashion Summit hosts agenda-setting and thought-provoking talks, debates, and discussions with prominent figures. Their podcast channel brings you the very best of the event for your enjoyment.
1. MagnifECO by Kate Black.
2. Naked Fashion: The New Sustainable Fashion Revolution by Safia Minney.
3. The Sustainable Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black.
4. Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went From Sunday Best to Fast Fashion by Clare Press.
5. Wear No Evil: How to Change The World With Your Wardrobe by Greta Eagan.
6. Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline.
7. Slave To Fashion by Safia Minney.
8. The Responsible Company by Yvon Chouinard & Vincent Stanley
9. Fixing Fashion: Rethinking The Way We Make, Market, and Buy Our Clothes by Michael Laverne.
10. Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Secondhand Clothes by Andrew Brooks.
11. The Travels of a T-Shirt in The Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli
1. The True Cost
3. Alli Cherry
5. Eco Boost
Other Great Websites:
The Clean Clothes Campaign is the garment industry's largest alliance of labour unions and non-governmental organizations. The civil society campaign focuses on the improvement of working conditions in the garment and sportswear industries.
The survey allows users to input select data about their consumer spending habits, which then outputs a graphical “footprint” of the user's participation in modern-day slavery (as quantified by their consumption of items created by forced labor and child labor.)
A hub for the the ethical consumer movement, helping consumers to shop ethically, campaigners to challenge corporate power and businesses to improve their supply chains.