The human side of Ethical Fashion

Our chat started as any other…

I told her that I’m part of a business that specialises in Ethical Fashion. First there was the “that’s a little left of field” look. Someone’s initial thoughts on Ethical Fashion are always written all over their face.

Then the “Oh that’s interesting” comment followed which inevitably will direct the conversation one of two ways. The first path is what I’ve called the “well isn’t that good” convo whereby the person you are talking to kind of brushes over the ethical fashion comment and moves the conversation on. The second path usually finds the person some what trying to justify why they think ethical fashion is great but they just can’t walk past a pair of jeans for $20.

Whilst either option is some what demoralising to someone who is trying to (with many others) create a movement of change in the fashion world, this is actually my favourite part of the conversation. No matter the response from the person, I find it challenging to figure out what will actually resonate with them.

In the case of this conversation, I began with a couple of little stats, casually thrown out there, watching intently to see how they fell. You know the stats I’m talking about –

“the Fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world”

“we buy 400% more clothing today than we did 20 years ago”

“30% of the clothing you purchase today you will throw out after wearing it once”

But this didn’t seem to resonate too deeply. A couple of wow’s but that was it. Interesting, I thought. And as the conversation progressed to what we stock on our site and the different brands we promote I realised that stats, whilst punchy and powerful, miss one important element. The Human element.

So as I was chatting through the importance of a living wage, knowing this young woman had recently become a mum, I highlighted that by paying a living wage it allows the women in the factories to go home their families and provide food, shelter, water and education for their young children.

And though it was small, I saw a slight flicker of deep compassion cross her face. It was that moment that I realised the human element is far more powerful than we realise.

Those stats are big and should shock us into action, but momentum is gained when we realise that how we shop directly impacts another person. All of us deserve a safe working environment, clean water, food and shelter. We all deserve an education and a chance to excel in life. We shouldn’t be oppressed or exploited because we were born into an impoverished situation.

Whether or not that conversation will result in a big change or little change, the important thing is that it results in some sort of change. If the only that resulted in that chat is that I got this person to think a little harder next time they come across a pair of $20 jeans, then that is still a good result. Change is like a seed, an idea or possibility needs to be planted, watered and begin to take root. Most of which happens underground, where you can’t see it. But over time the fruit of your labour starts to show and it is then you realise that if you hadn’t been diligent in being an agent for change in the smallest of ways, than change itself would never happen.

Each of us has the power to create change, even if it is as small as no longer buying from brands we know are exploiting people. If all of us just started to make small changes, then like a small shift in the tectonic plates can great a tsunami, so too can we, together, create a wave of change.

Start your journey of change by checking out our Brands and the ways they are creating change.