Can high fashion ever be ethical? #Ethicalfashion #highstreetfashion #fashion #Sustainablity #Environment

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In recent news, high fashion retailer Gucci announced they have plans to discontinue the use of real fur. This grand gesture is not unique, as countless other high fashion labels have already gone ‘vegan’ but it does show a willingness to evolve with consumer preference.

As each brand makes such commitments to change the way they produce and what they sell, the industry will finally follow the direction it needs to. However, is this change happening fast enough?

An author for the Independent has recently argued that in actuality, the whole purpose of high fashion contradicts the ethical fashion movement (see here – http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/gucci-fur-ban-sustainable-ethical-high-fashion-designers-brands-no-point-a7998856.html):

“A ban by Gucci will make no difference whatsoever to the number of animals farmed for their coats. As for “saving the environment”, the airmiles and travelling involved in photographing ad campaigns for luxury brands, the copious packaging which cocoons their products, the glass and steel and non-environmentally friendly materials used to construct their retail outlets… well I could go on and on, but you get the point…

…When they stop selling over-packaged cosmetics in thick cardboard boxes and paying women in the developing world to produce their diffusion ranges for a pittance – then they can talk about ethics and the environment. High fashion is about producing and selling stuff we don’t really need – so the ideal of less consumption (and less waste) is not going to be a winning philosophy, is it?”

And so, we grapple with a few questions: Is the pace of change enough? What more should retailers and labels be doing? Is it even a realistic goal for such brands to embrace ethical as a way of doing business?

Let us know your thoughts.

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This Holiday Season – Think About Sustainable Giving! #Ethicalgifting #Holidayshopping #Fashion #Ethicalfashion #Sustainable #Environment

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With Halloween just around the corner, retail stores are already filling up with gifting ideas for your loved ones for the holiday season. This is a great time to remind the special people in your lives what they mean to you – whether that be through goods, gestures or words. This is also a good time to think sustainable.

As you pick out the perfect gifts – consider where and how the product has been produced, what materials it is made up of and the impact its disposal will have on the environment. Consider fair trade and sustainable brands to replace fast fashion products. Share the stories behind the brands and products you support.

Think about how you can use your dollar to not only improve the lives of others, but make a sustainable, long-lasting difference. This holiday season we encourage you to shop ethical, shop wisely and enable change everywhere.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING! #thanksgivingcanada #ethicalfashion #fashion #sustainability #environment #artisans

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We are thankful for the love, togetherness and the ability to improve the lives of artisans around the world.

From the Shopanthropic family to yours –

Happy Thanksgiving from Canada!

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[Article Round Up] A student’s guide to sustainable fashion #Sustainablefashion #Ethicalfashion #Fashion #Environment

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How to make ethical and eco-friendly clothing choices

“In recent decades, the fashion sector has managed to become one of the most damaging industries in the world on both a social and environmental level. Clothing companies turn over stock at rapid speeds and low prices in what is known as ‘fast fashion’ in order to attract large volumes of business and make the high profits they desire. This tactic results in vast quantities of clothing ending up in landfills.

In order for companies to maintain the low prices that western consumers demand, they outsource manufacturing to the global south to employ workers who earn meager wages and work in dangerous conditions. While many are aware of these injustices, it often feels overwhelming for those of us embedded in fast fashion and consumer culture to address this issue.

Here is a compilation of tips to help you promote a more ethical and sustainable clothing industry through your daily habits, thereby making the process of instigating change a less daunting task.”

Full article here: https://thevarsity.ca/2017/09/18/a-students-guide-to-sustainable-fashion/

[Article Round Up] 5 Ways to Translate Fall Runway Trends for the Office #Fashion #FallFashionTrends #RunwayTrends #2017FallFashion

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“Runway trends are many things: inspirational and directional, yes, but rarely work-friendly. A bit of clever styling is transformative though, making even the most out-there looks suitable for a conference room or meeting with clients. Here, subdued and statement takes on five of the trends we’re most excited for this fall (because saving fashion for the weekend is no way to live).”

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Read full article here: http://www.elle.com/fashion/trend-reports/g30249/5-ways-to-translate-fall-runway-trends-for-the-office/ 

Article Round-Up: Fair-labour buzzwords distract consumers from fashion companies’ ethical records #ethicalfashion #fashion #sustainability

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Clever marketing and storytelling prevent consumers from discerning between brands that actually meet high labour, human rights standards and those that only talk about it.

“Our futures are woven together,” reads Gap’s sustainability webpage. “Look good, do good, feel good,” declares H&M. And Reformation, a Los Angeles-based brand, gets cute: “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2.”

Fashion companies’ websites are a rhetorical jungle of vague, virtuous-sounding self-description. As they boast of “ethical sourcing” and “positive impact,” the companies seek to reassure consumers and investors of brands’ commitments to “transparency” and “sustainability” — two of the most fashionable buzzwords in modern marketing.

Some flaunt complex graphics purporting to lay bare their global supply chains. Others display undecipherable legends of icons signifying their sustainable attributes.

Apparel makers lack a common definition of what constitutes “sustainability,” “transparency” or “ethical sourcing.” And in the absence of a uniform standard, each company can assess its ethical record independently and is free to give themselves all the accolades they like.

But that rewards clever marketing and storytelling, not actual monitoring and accountability — and leaves consumers without any way of discerning between brands that meet high labour standards and those that only talk about it.

As a recent report by the Human Rights Watch explains, supply chain transparency practices vary immensely among apparel companies. Many pick and choose what details to publish about their labour and human rights practices. Others refuse to publish supplier factory information at all.

The majority of companies measure the effort they’re making — touting their own policies or codes of conduct — but stop short of assessing whether those efforts are delivering their promised effects, according to new research by New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. “Having strong policies in place around workplace safety or wages is important, but it does not guarantee that workers are in fact safe and adequately paid,” said Casey O’Connor, who co-authored the report.

That leaves consumers in the dark about the type of labour standards they’re supporting.

“It’s very hard to distinguish,” said Dorothée Baumann-Pauly, research director at NYU’s Center for Business and Human Rights. “The facade looks identical.”

The problem has gained new visibility with revelations of the poor labour conditions in factories making clothing and shoes for Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. The factories severely underpaid workers and forced them to work excessive overtime, according to activists for China Labor Watch who made headlines when they were arrested by the Chinese government. The watchdog had previously alerted the brand to alleged labour abuses, which it ignored.

This wasn’t the first time: the Fair Labor Association also found that another factory making Ivanka products was in violation of two dozen international labour standards, and paid its workers little more than a dollar an hour.

Though Trump’s company lags behind other big brands, it is hardly alone.

Less than two decades ago, major apparel companies didn’t reveal any information about their supplier factories. That began to change after Nike came under scrutiny in the late 1990s for abusive labour practices. Phil Knight, then-chief executive, bemoaned that the brand had “become synonymous with slave wages, forced overtime and arbitrary abuse.” By 2005, Nike and Adidas published names and addresses of all their factories. Patagonia, Levi Strauss and Puma followed suit.

But transparency alone isn’t enough, Baumann-Pauly warned. She thinks the obsession with the word has led companies to conflate transparency with accountability. “You can disclose lots of information, but is it the right information to hold factories to account? And is there someone who picks up that information and acts on it?”

Frameworks for universal standards already exist.

The International Labor Organization (ILO), a U.N. agency founded in 1919 as part of the League of Nations, creates and maintains a system of international labour standards that set out basic principles and rights of work. Monitoring mechanisms exist too.

The Fair Labor Association (FLA), a non-profit formed in 1999 as a collaborative effort of universities, civil society organizations and businesses, evolved out of a task force created by President Bill Clinton in the wake of child labour and sweatshop scandals. It uses the standards of the ILO to monitor companies’ supply chains and protect workers. Participating companies sign up to a two or three-year implementation schedule, after which they open up their factory doors to the FLA for evaluation.

“We evaluate the action on the ground, the internal systems, the conditions for workers, against the benchmarks,” said Sharon Waxman, the FLA’s president. If companies meet the standards, they are accredited — a process that must be renewed every three years with new evaluations.

The problem is that FLA accreditation has yet to go mainstream. Just 23 apparel and footwear companies are currently accredited. Twenty-seven others are seeking accreditation — but this is still just a fraction of an industry whose firms number in the thousands.

Meanwhile, the current system allows companies to continue profiting off exploited labourers.

Many brands, claiming to self-monitor, focus only on factories with which they have direct agreements and ignore the back chain of unauthorized subcontracting to smaller factories. In the wake of the 2013 collapse of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza building, in which more than 1,100 workers died, more than 200 brands signed up for the Bangladesh Accord and the Alliance for Bangladesh Workplace Safety, committing to improving safety standards by summer 2018.

Yet these initiatives, aimed at ensuring factory safety, cover only about 2,000 out of 8,000 garment factories in the country, according to a study by BRAC University in Dhaka. That means approximately 3 million workers toil in factories that fall outside Bangladesh’s monitoring and remediation mechanisms.

“These brands know,” Baumann-Pauly said. “They give out orders that exceed the capacity of the facility they audit. It’s a known secret.”

An assessment by NYU Stern has found that four years later, only 79 factories have passed third-party inspections set up by the Accord and the Alliance. The rest remain critically behind schedule for fixing structural, fire and electrical issues.

Genuine commitment to sustainability — rather than merely the show of it — requires monitoring of the entire supply chain and a willingness to meet internationally recognized standards. For most brands, this is still more than they’re ready to do. Pressure from the public and from companies that do meet the standards could change that.”

Sustainable Fashion Doesn’t Have To Be All Or Nothing #ethicalfashion #fashion #sustainability #environment #ecofashion

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Reposted from The Blog in the Huffington Post by Meera Solanki Estrada, Fashion & Culture Expert:

“Just the way we play with new looks and don’t always jump in both feet wet, same goes with eco-fashion.

The fashion industry is notorious for being resource intensive. From water usage, pesticides, sweatshops to textile waste — we are tearing at the seams when it comes to sustainable concerns associated with the world of style. Yet surprisingly, it’s not uncommon to get an eye roll or glazed-over gaze at the mention of eco-fashion. Why?

 

Never mind that we are living in the era of Trump — when political correctness and caring for the environment are suddenly sore points of scorn — but many simply see “sustainability” as yet another buzzword, something too leftie tree-hugger for their liking.

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There’s also this perceived workload in buying sustainable clothing and joining the movement which deters many people away from it — too daunting a task to neatly fit into one’s stylish sensibility. That’s two strikes against the sustainable style movement and we’re barely getting started. Tough sell — literally.

 

Admittedly, I didn’t pay much attention to sustainability in fashion until a couple of years ago when I started forging closer relationships with more Canadian designers and really understanding exactly where and how my clothes were being made. And full disclosure, I still don’t have an exclusively eco-fashion wardrobe, but I am certainly more conscious of my choices, and that’s a start.

According to Myriam Laroche, the founder of Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week:

Eco has held a heavy, all-inclusive concept to date but we need to understand there is a spectrum and we don’t have to be ‘completely eco.’ Every little bit helps… Taking action is what we need to do even if we are still trying to figure out how to create a healthy fashion industry, because it is the first time we are challenging the way it’s always been done.

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How you can support sustainable fashion

Just the way we play with new looks and don’t always jump in both feet wet, same goes with eco-fashion. You can make small changes towards sustainable style. Every action has impact.

A few simple ways to work sustainable fashion into your look are:

1. Buy natural fibres: Cotton and bamboo are two examples of natural fibers that make great fabrics and clothes.

2. Upcycle: Re-fashion your apparel. Little Grey Line takes old men’s work shirts and remakes them into adorable dresses for little girls. You can also give it a try at home. Just find a great shirt and create your own custom design for your mini-me.

3.Do some DIY: YouTube lately? Even those that can’t work a needle and thread for the life of them (myself included) have learned some pretty cool hacks and can work magic on old wares with some viral video inspiration

4. Shop and swap your closet: Whether it’s a swishing party with your colleagues or swapping pieces with your sis, a simple closet swap instantly adds new life to your wardrobe. You can also take it to the next level by renting pieces from your closet. East or West, you got options. “Take My Sari is a new app dedicated to renting as well as buying and selling Indian fashions.

5. Do some research: There are so amazing eco-friendly brands out there. Get on Google and find something that suits your style. You may find that even one of your favourite designers, like Stella McCartney, has an eco-chic line.

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Canada’s Sustainable Fashion Awards

There is a steadily growing group of talented eco-friendly designers in Canada, and celebrating them is a step in the right direction. Fashion Takes Action’s Design Forward, a sustainable runway show featuring the top designers in Canada puts them to the test for the first time this year. All of the designers featured beautiful workmanship. The three finalists included Peggy Sue Collection, Triarchy and Omi Woods.

Know who made your clothes

Part of better understanding sustainable style is getting to know the designers behind the brands and what they stand for. Ethics play a key role in many of these brands’ philosophies. From the use of eco-friendly dyes andusing natural, local materials to their fullest extent to working directly with the farmers and artisans involved in making the clothes to ensure fair wages, strong ethics are at the core of many eco brands. Many do not mass produce. They keep a small inventory and only make what is ordered so your product is that much more unique and their manufacturing practices have less of an impact on the earth. Knowing how and where your clothes are made is all part of making you a more conscious consumer.Know who made your clothes”

7 Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Ideas to Embrace Your Fashionable Side, Without a Big Budget #Ethicalfashion #Fashion #Sustainability #Environment #Eco

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Written by Sohini Dey for http://www.thebetterindia.com/

In this blog, the author has written an excellent piece on steps that you and I can take to support a movement towards slow and sustainable fashion:

Full article from: http://www.thebetterindia.com/98881/slow-sustainable-fashion/

“Promoting fair wages and minimal waste, slow and sustainable fashion demands change in the way we perceive clothing”

A friend of this writer once said, “I will just have to reconcile with children in sweatshops making the clothes I wear; after all, who can argue with cheaper prices more affordable.” Needless to say, the listener was horrified. With increasing awareness, more people are now making an effort to live less wasteful lives—yet we sometimes fall woefully short when it comes to clothing choices.

This is the age of fast fashion—trends change every few weeks, or less, and brands keep up by churning out new designs at alarming speed.

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Fashion has, over the years become associated with excess and frivolity but beneath the surface the simple fact is that clothing is essential to our lives. There is much to value about fashion (and that is a subject for an entirely different article) but some of its trends and practices can certainly be changed for the better.

Slow fashion is slowly (pun intended) taking over, and its principles are simple—fair wages, eco-friendly fabrics and practices, and minimal to zero waste. But it does demand change in the way we perceive clothing.

From keeping your shopping habits in control to knowing about the supply chain of your favoured brands, a conscious interest in your clothes—and their makers—not only has a positive impact on the environment but also the communities engaged in the production of clothing. Here is what you can do to be part of the slow and sustainable fashion movement.

1. Reduce your wardrobe to only what you need and love

To begin with, keep your shopping habits in check. Retail therapy may be happiness-inducing, but its long-term effect usually includes a pile of unused clothes in our wardrobes. Instead, shop with discretion and buy only what you need or like enough to wear often.
If an occasion demands an ensemble that you will never wear otherwise, consider borrowing or use clothing rentals, an emerging trend that some suggest will pose a grave threat to fast fashion brands in the future.

2. Your choice of materials makes a difference

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Take cotton for instance, a crop that is both water- and chemical-intensive. In the ongoing drought across numerous states of India, cotton farmers are among the hardest-hit.

However, organic cotton is gaining ground—not only does it require less water but also substantially less chemicals. On the other hand, Ahimsa or vegan silks are becoming popular as conventional silks raise questions about boiling silkworms to produce the threads. Handspun khadi and traditional techniques are being revived and internationally, bamboo, recycled fabrics and hemp are becoming popular over synthetics.

3. Say no to sweatshops, breeding grounds of labour exploitation

Cheap clothing always a welcome addition to wardrobes, but it often comes at great human cost. In 2013, Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed in a heap, killing 1,134 people all of whom were making clothes for international brands under strenuous conditions. And this is not a stray incident—news reports frequently bring the exploitative working conditions in sweatshops to light.

If a brand, no matter how aspirational or abounding in gorgeous clothes, is repeatedly in the news for malpractices, ditch them for fair-trade labels or factories that conform to regulations for workers safety and other standards.

If enough people refuse to invest in such brands, the industry will be compelled to regulate the measures for workers’ welfare.

4. Ask this: Who made my clothes?

The previous point naturally leads to this one. Remember that prices aren’t the overriding factor in determining whether your clothes are sustainable or not — a great deal of luxury products aren’t always ethical and many surprisingly cheap products often are. It is important to check the supply chain of the brand you purchase from and most importantly, pose the question, “Who made my clothes?”

5. Buy local, and support fair-trade and craft clusters that practice sustainable techniques

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Buying local keeps your carbon footprint lower—after all, your clothes haven’t travelled the world to reach your wardrobe. Second, it is a means of sustenance for local weavers and artisans. India is home to countless handlooms and crafts and unfortunately, many of them are dwindling. These karigars need patronage and support for their craft traditions to continue. Many shoppers are ditching big brands for handlooms and old techniques are being revived by designers and organisations to be relevant in contemporary times.

6. How you use your clothes affects your carbon footprint

Washing and drying your clothes might keep them clean, but also increases your carbon footprint and reduces the lifespan of your clothes drastic. Now the solutions: use non-toxic detergent, hand wash as much as possible and remember that air drying is better than the spin tub.
Most of all, wear your clothes more than once before washing. In a tropical country, this can be challenging especially in the heat, but choosing airy fabrics and air drying them can solve the problem to some extent.

7. Finally: recycle, upcycle and donate

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While many of us are increasingly conscious about the immortality of plastic, landfills are also choked by immense quantities of clothing.While organuc fabrics are bio-degradable, synthetics may not be so. There’s also the questions of plastic and other non bio-degradable items that make their way into clothing via buttons, zips and other fixtures.

Instead of tossing old clothes, considering repairing them or donating to someone in need. A number of NGOs and other organisations can make use of old clothes in crafting refurbished products as well.

[Article Round Up] Four Foolproof Sustainable Fashion Tips to Help You Build a More Ethical Wardrobe #ethicalfashion #fashion #sustainability #eco

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Everyone in the fashion supply chain is responsible for its impact on the planet, from designers and manufacturers to retailers and consumers. The Care Label Project, launched by AEG, is a global initiative connecting these players and encouraging them to execute positive changes towards an ethical fashion industry.

Its primary focus is on breaking non-sustainable garment care habits, but as part of its mission, it’s has partnered with Fashion Revolution to examine a garment’s entire lifecycle—from design to aftercare—and understand where key parties can make improvements.

Fashion Revolution Week marks the anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse on April 24, 2013. The incident killed over 1,000 people and injured thousands more at a garment factory in Bangladesh. Fashion Revolution challenges people to demand greater transparency in the fashion industry and to question where clothing comes from. Its manifesto is clear cut: “We want to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased so that what the world wears has been made in a safe, clean and fair way.”

But as the Care Label Project rightfully highlights, we as consumers have a big role to play after purchasing clothes too; according to WRAP the way clothing is cared for contributes 25% of its carbon footprint. As well as saving energy and water, better aftercare could extend the life of garments, decrease the demand for new clothing and reduce non-sustainable production rates. So how can you make your clothing last longer and become a more ethical consumer of fashion?

With the Care Label Project and Fashion Revolution’s help, we’ve formulated four foolproof tips to help you on your way to building a more ethical and sustainable wardrobe: investing in quality clothing, rethinking care habits, utilizing modern washing technology, and restoring, reusing and recycling old clothes.

 

Read more: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2017/04/27/sustainable-fashion-ethical-shopping-tips/

The High Cost of Our Cheap Fashion | Maxine Bédat | TEDxPiscataquaRiver #ethicalfashion #sustainability #environment #eco #fashion

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Do you know where your clothes come from? The apparel industry is one of the biggest violators of both the environment and human rights. In this compelling and information-packed talk, co-founder of Zady Maxine Bédat shows how you can take back the power of your wardrobe, and feel better in (and better about) your clothes.