On the hunt for an adorable blouse or killer blazer for fall? Want to be a conscious consumer but not sure where to buy? We’ve got you covered with the 5 essential questions to ask ethical fashion brands before you treat yo’ self. Trust us, they will revolutionize your ethical fashion experience.
1 | Where is the factory that produces this piece of clothing?
If the factory is in a developing country, consider what labor laws may or may not be in place to protect workers. Earlier this week we chatted about why fashion brands shouldn’t automatically assume they need to be Made in America in order to be sustainable. Whether the brand produces domestically or abroad, the deeper issue is what kind of environment the workers experience at said factory.
2 | What does “fair” or “ethical” mean to this company?
How is this company going about being conscious or sustainable? Some brands focus on eco-friendly business practices, some focus on fair wages. In a perfect world, we would like all brands to be perfect on all fronts but that just isn’t feasible. Decide what is important to you and shop from brands who work towards the same end.
3 | Is the company disguising cause marketing as sustainability?
Make sure to cyberstalk the company’s CSR policy. Does any bad press populate on their working conditions (Forever 21 is a great example of this). You know that nagging boyfriend who is always really jealous but buys you a necklace to appease you? A company with a terrible pollution problem who happens to give to charity is just like him. Their “caring” giveback program is really just a distraction for their harmful and unsustainable practices. I think it’s time for the break-up talk.
4 | What materials do they use?
Conventional cotton or organic cotton? Polyester? Fast fashion trends often lead to lower quality fabric choices, which are often harmful to the environment and textile farmers. Nobody likes that scratchy freebie t-shirt and neither does the environment.
5 | What sustainable certifications does the brand have?
WRAP and other certifications help consumers buy consciously. They do the legwork for you so you can relax and shop sustainably. Can’t get much better than that.
Bonus: Do I feel good about this purchase?
Take a second to remember why you want to be a conscious consumer. Is this purchase reinforcing that? Maybe it’s a cute blouse but deep down you feel like it would be contributing to harmful fast fashion.
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