When I decided to take my blog in the direction of a more ethical lifestyle and fashion focus, the main question I got was, “What is ethical fashion”? The second question… Why?
I kind of answered question two in this post explaining my personal decision for switching to this lifestyle. But I'm going to use today's post to explain more about what this lifestyle is.
So what is ethical fashion?
The fancy definition by the Victoria and Albert Museum is this:
Ethical Fashion is an umbrella term to describe ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare.
Say wha? That's a lot of things. A lot of general things. The truth is that maintaining an ethical lifestyle and wardrobe can mean a lot of different things.
There are people who tend to focus on pollution, which is a huge issue. Some don't like the chemicals used in the dying process. Others who notice the labor exploitation and trafficking that takes place in the fashion industry. All of these fall under this huge umbrella of “ethical fashion”.
Wait… There are certifications?
Yeah. There are. And not just one or two. In my research, I found at least twenty before I even got overwhelmed. When I'm looking at new places to shop, I typically look for the following two certifications.
The first is Fair Trade Certified. When a company is Fair Trade Certified, it means they are taking the people who produce the product, the community it's produced in, and the environment seriously. They cover everything from the income of everyone involved in the production process to the very chemicals used in production. This certification includes a variety of industries, including fashion, coffee, jewelry and more.
Some popular brands holding this certification are Nespresso Coffee, Pact, Patagonia, and prAna. Be careful with this one, though. Brands like Madewell hold certifications for certain products, like their jeans, but not all of their products are actually fair trade.
The other certification I look for in brands is Certified B Corporation. For me, this is a more important certification. Each business that holds this certification undergoes a rigorous evaluation to determine whether or not they uphold the standard required. Their words: “From your supply chain and input materials to your charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp Certification proves your business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance.”
But I don't have time to research if a brand is ethical.
Believe it or not… there's an app for that! Good On You is an app available on iOS and Google Play, making it possible to have all the information you need at your fingertips. They do all the research, so all you have to do is type the name of a brand you're curious about in the search bar.
Don't believe me about how easy it is to look for a brand? Here's a screen grab of how simple it is.