The fashion industry has begun to embrace a movement toward sustainability and social justice, and there are numerous existing brands which echo this trend.
The list included in this directory is far from exhaustive, as new brands are constantly emerging, and a small amount of individual research online is likely to lead you to the perfect piece, with the right credentials. The majority of ethical brands exist online, but there are also some bricks and mortar boutiques dotted around the UK. Although more road miles are involved with online shopping, the overall environmental impact of running an online business is far less.
This list does not outline the ethics of each specific company, and so it is important to consider how a brand’s principals reflect your own. If you are unsure, email the company directly.
Ethical Fashion Brands: An ethical fashion brand will identify all the stages of its supply chain, from the farmers to the spinners, weavers, dyers, seamstresses etc. Beware of brands that “green-wash” and look for complete transparency in terms of fabrics used, where the garments were made, and a companies ecological principals. Some companies may boast impressive environmental credentials, however, this must align with a guarantee that all workers are paid a fair wage, and are working in a safe working environment. It is important to support and promote principled brands, who are putting workers rights and sustainability, ahead of inflated profits.
High Street Brands:
High street brands have been omitted, as there are few which can actually be considered “ethical” for a variety of reasons. To get a more comprehensive idea of how brands rate in terms of their ethics visit www.ethicalconsumer.org or www.projectjust.com
Buy Second-Hand First:
Some vintage brands have been included. These are online stores which mainly deal with high-end and designer vintage pieces, or second hand luxury items. Charity shops and e-bay have not been included, only because they are such an obvious solution for any costumier looking to reduce their carbon footprint! Buying second hand, is always better than buying something new!
Buying ethically produced shoes and trainers, is just as important as clothing. If not more so, given the number of chemicals workers are exposed to during their production. Fortunately ethical shoes no longer means cork sandals, and there are numerous brands who are doing the right thing and paying workers fairly, and avoiding harsh chemicals.
Questioning the origin of gold, silver, precious metals and stones is very important to find companies who recognise the importance of conflict free mining and responsible sourcing.