Clients ask me “but how would I know if it’s an ethical or sustainable fashion brand?” and I say “well, you have to do your research” – it’s not easy – being a conscious consumer takes effort. The same kind of effort it takes to stay healthy, go to the gym, prepare healthy meals and work your way up through your career. It just takes time.
But here’s where our lack of time to follow up and find out who is just pushing out fancy marketing and who is actually doing something to really try and reduce their impact on our planet, is catching us out. We are busy – and the big brands know it. Simply throwing in we are Ethical or Sustainable in their marketing copy is often enough to reel in busy shoppers who’d like to feel good about where their money goes.
There’s a little thing called ‘full transparency’ and it’s often not about ‘what they say’ but ‘what they don’t say’ that matters. Some companies are doing this annoying thing called Greenwashing; they are spending money to advertise and market their very small sustainable and ethical efforts so that they can use the words ‘Ethical & Sustainable’ in their big global branding. This is how we are tricked into thinking they are in fact changing their entire business – not just teeny percentage of it. The truth is it’s significantly cheaper for brands with money to spend it on fancy greenwashing campaigns, because, well, changing their entire business model is not only a logistical nightmare for them, but it’s VERY very expensive, labour intensive and VERY disruptive to everyday business – and the shareholders and CEOs down want to make a short-term loss during a very extensive investment to make their business model sustainable and viable for the future.
Changing the way they operate and re-adjusting their entire global supply chain isn’t something they are going to leap into to satisfy the small number of conscious consumers demanding that they take responsibility. If 95% of their customers are shopping without a care in the world then there is no pressure on the brands to change, at least not over and above what the law insists.
So here’s the dilemma is you want to be an ethical consumer, but it requires effort. You can start right now, right here today and it requires you to ask a question…to stand up and use your voice and demand and answer.
It’s fashion revolution week 23rd-30th April (every year) and the charity encourages consumers to use social media to call on brands to answer publicly and with full transparency who made their clothes. So if you are going to make the effort, this is the week to do it. Ask your favourite fashion brands who made your clothes – and don’t forget to show your label.
5 Questions To Ask Ethical Brands Right Now To See If They Are Legit
You can go that extra step too if you really want peace of mind and use these 5 questions to get the answers you need to find out if they really are a brand that cares:
- What kind of fabrics/materials/chemicals are they using and where do they source them from?
- Do they have any certifications to validate their claims?
- How transparent are they with their policies, values and beliefs – are they on the website?
- Do show any indication they are continually improving efforts across their immediate workforce and across the supply-chain?
- Ask them more questions or just stick with #whomademyclothes – a company with answers and no excuses will get back to you
You can find out more about Natalie’s 5 questions to ask an ethical fashion brand to see if they are legit that she encourages people to ask in her blog which I read, and it inspired me to write this one. She share’s the insight gathered from asking several brands the questions – if you have time read it, it’s really quite interesting.
I’m going to wrap up on one final note and let you know that I am busy working on an A-Z Ethical Brand Directory which will make life a bit easier for you when it comes to finding brands that give a damn.
If you are an ethical and sustainable brand you can add your business listing by visiting the company brand account page.
Have a great day everyone.
PS. Don’t forget to check my page to see so all the ways I am supporting the cause: