I met a guy over dinner one night who questioned me on Ethical Fashion
Him: "What IS Ethical Fashion?"
Me: "I don't know - it means different things to different people - what does it mean to you?"
Him: "My workers are happy and treated fairly UNTIL you (he means 'the west') make last minute changes to your orders or design, want the delivery a week earlier and argue over pushing the margins down by even a rupee every season - that, is when we are forced to change OUR ethics'"
Me: "Humm tell me more"...
And so I went down to his factories in Hanawella to take a look for myself.
This factory makes clothes for some of the UK's biggest retail outlets - at a closer look and a chat with the department head teams, including some of the English speaking workers It is sad to say that their biggest problems in fair trade production come from the decisions that we make over here...
So, What is the answer? And who has them?
New Look are training their staff on the production process as a whole with emphasis on the impact that their changes and decisions have on the makers this, is a good start but much more can be done.
People to talk to?
The Centre for Sustainable Fashion give great advice on trading and alternative methods of production
A Boy Named Sue have great examples of how to source sustainably
As do UK, Isle of Wight based brand Rapanui