What is ethical fashion?

Ethical Fashion has emerged as an umbrella term to describe a whole range of processes including design, production, retail, and purchasing which aim to transform the environmental and social standards in the fashion industry. It addresses issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, animal welfare and means increased knowledge of the supply chain, growing transparency and accountability.

Globalisation means that materials and labour can be purchased and shipped to different parts of the world where costs are very low. Also, industrialised methods of growing cotton mean that fabrics can be produced quickly and cheaply, and in very large quantities. These savings are passed on to the customer, meaning that high street fashion is available at increasingly low prices, and much of it is regarded as disposable.

Although these costs are not seen on the price tag, they do not simply disappear, in effect they have consequences for farmers and producers who are being played off against each other in a race to the bottom; for workers who are subjected to increasingly longer working hours to satisfy demands for very quick lead times and shorter production turnaround times for a wage that doesn't even afford two meals a day; for the environment affected by both the use of industrialised methods of farming and growing waste.

See also Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF)