The Fashion Revolution wheels are constantly turning. The question remains though, do you know where your clothes were made? And why should you care?
The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters today. Fair trade matters. Workers conditions matter especially as so many are children. Forced slave labour still exists and is flourishing.
Manufacturers produce cheap clothing in third world countries that shops can sell to achieve a higher profit margin. The demand we place for cheap clothes means someone else pays the price.
There is no beauty in the finest clothes if it makes hunger and unhappiness Mahatma Ghandi
We are all quick to focus on price but in future, please consider what you’re holding and ask why it is so cheap?
Bespoke garments are ethical although expensive but most definitely worth it, let me explain to you why:
Hand sewing takes time and yes time is money, but with this comes quality. Those stitches will last. It’s the elements you don’t see within a bespoke piece that ensures its durability.
Bespoke means we don’t hold stock. I am therefore not polluting the environment. I purchase cloth by order only, specifically to your measurements ensuring there is no waste. The finest quality cloth that has been ethically sourced, woven and verified – mostly in the UK and Ireland.
We don’t outsource any of our tailoring to a factory who can turn around units quickly and cheaply. Other than myself, we will only use a skilled team who have vast experience in tailoring and lovingly hand stitch every element of your garment with care. We passionately believe in paying well for their expertise and attention to detail.
If your only focus is on price, you are ignoring the value and most importantly, potentially slave labour. Yes you can get a product ‘cheaper’ on the high street but you are sacrificing the quality, fit and precision, character and uniqueness that goes into a bespoke creation. The harsh reality is that remaining unfazed about knowing where your clothing are made means you accept that you are possibly fuelling the fashion slave trade.
If we actually stopped to add up the cost of all our off the peg suits over the years indeed alongside other items that we replace more regularly, we would realise that we could have afforded a few key bespoke pieces that are individual, sustainable and last decades.
Designer brands place a huge demand for fake goods which contribute to modern day slavery.
What is ethical fashion?
In a nutshell it’s being socially and environmentally responsible, ensuring that all elements involving the design and manufacture of garments is done in a morally acceptable way.
A great read here from the ethical fashion forum explains this in more detail https://www.ethicalfashionforum.com/the-issues/ethical-fashion
What is slow fashion?
the opposite to ‘fast fashion’ where High street shops copy catwalk looks within a matter of weeks and increase units of production according to demand dictated by fashion and celebrity trends. Retailers offer these garments at much lower prices meaning people tend to buy more than they need. Our overconsumption means human and natural resources get overused, increasing our carbon footprint.
The slow fashion movement encourages retailers to concentrate on quality, waste, resources and productivity concerning manufacturing working conditions and environmental issues.
Read more here:
What can we do?
Evaluate your purchases. If it’s too cheap, the chances are it has been unethically made.
Buy less. Buy quality items that you will get good wear out of over high amounts of fashionable pieces.
Ask questions. Where has this been made and how? Become more aware of slavery in supply chains and try to proactively research ethical brands. Look for Fair Trade symbols and labels.
Try vintage, especially for hard wearing products like leather, there are plenty of amazing gems to be found.
Demand quality from the products you buy, not just because it is aesthetically pleasing but also for the freedom and rights for those who made it.
Let’s change the tide, or small changes make a huge difference. We can proactively stop buying the ‘disposable’ top that you wore 3 times and then discarded.
Recycle and upcycle. Fabric has so many uses, kids projects, around the home – see my previous post: https://craigfeatherstone.com/2017/01/16/upcycle-your-tweed/
When we throw something away, we don’t literally ‘throw’ it. It has to go somewhere!
Style isn’t copying others, it’s creating something unique to you. Style is an attitude, feeling confident in what you wear and not needing to follow fashion. Style is in knowing that the hands that created your garments are ‘happy hands’.
Buy less, choose well, make it last! Vivienne Westwood
We all have a choice. I hope you are inspired to choose well and expand your knowledge on this issue. We really can change the world together. I’m making the choice to help educate and continue to ethically source and develop our products through Featherstone London.
Please feel free to share this article and inspire others to action.