Top 5 Ethical Clothing Brands
Capitalism has been the dominating force of mankind for centuries now and despite Marx and Engels predictions, it is showing no signs of being overthrown by a proletariat (socialist) revolution. Like it or not, we are all consumers, quenching a seemingly endless thirst by shopping, shopping and more shopping. In recent years, however, while we are still eager to buy, the question of ethics has come to play a role in our shopping habits. While we may still be bowing to the capitalist master, the puppets’ strings are beginning to show a little resistance as we demand more from the manufacturing giants which clog our high streets. Recently, there has been increasing pressure from consumers in the area of ethical clothing. This blog offers you five reputable companies you can buy from to fulfil your consumerist cravings while still upholding your ethical code.
When stories of sweatshops and the plight of workers in developing world garment factories first hit the headlines, western society was appalled and outraged. But nothing much changed at first. While a few committed souls may have to boycotting certain brands, it was painfully clear that there were few ‘ethical’, affordable alternatives. Now, however, years after the hell of sweatshop work became public knowledge, a large number of well-known brands are making a conscious effort to improve their code of ethics. Even better, the market is opening up to new, small but intrinsically ethical clothing companies. Wherever possible, I would advise you to buy from localised, independent and morally sound clothing stores. But for those of you who are hitting the high street and wondering which multinational giants are worthy of your money, take a look at our list of the top 5 ethical clothing brands:
One of the best known long-term supporter of ethics in the manufacturing industry is Monsoon Acessorize. They have a Code of Conduct enforced throughout their factories and have been dedicated to protecting their workers for decades. The company also has an artisan range which sees them collaborating with skilled workers to create unique items for the company for which they receive a fair piece rate. They have an ethical compliance team which works internationally ensure these standards are consistently upheld. Oh, and they have a charitable trust which was founded in 1994 and focuses on helping disadvantaged women and children in Asia! They are also committed to sustainability and have minimised the use of packaging for their products. Basically, they are the pinnacle of what we want all high street brands to be. Most importantly, they began all this work because the company leadership have their heart in the right place, not because they were losing sales when consumers found out about their sweatshops …
2. Fat Face
This is one of my favourite brands and I’m proud to say that Fat Face have been committed to ethical practice from the very beginning. All their factories adhere to a Code of Conduct so you know their amazing clothes are coming from a good place and are made by people who are treated fairly. Beyond that, however, Fat Face also give back through the Fat Face Foundation which works on environmental issues and encourages people to get outdoors and live a healthier lifestyle. Good work all round!
While they have been involved in scandals in the past, Gap have really stepped up their game recently and now has its own program, One Stitch Closer, which focuses on female empowerment. In fact, 70% of the company’s senior leadership positions are held by women. As for the clothes, they are focusing on removing all hazardous chemicals from the supply chain (bear in mind that many small, local companies do this with ease) and Gap has also been transparent about the factories it uses, working to enforce good labour conditions internationally. They also have a great Gap Sustainability website which offers consumers more information on their work.
This online clothing giant has an entire section of their website called the ‘green room’ where they promote ethical brands. One of the best features of this is that many smaller brands also get a look in rather than being limited to competing on an overcrowded high street. ASOS have a criterion for sustainability which all brands must pass to be featured in the ‘green room’ and themselves have a fair-trade label: ‘ASOS Made In Kenya’.
5. H & M
Good news – this high street staple has its own range of ethical clothing: Conscious Exclusive. Now, these clothes are a little more expensive than the rest of their items but it is still a very affordable way to by ethical. The catch? Well, the Conscious section is relatively small and I can’t help but walk around assuming that all the other clothes are ‘unethical’ … The company is working hard to improve conditions in all its factories but I will only buy from Conscious in H & M now which could be seen as a success for the ethical consumer campaigners.
If you’re off shopping soon and you purchase an ethical piece of clothing, why not shout about it and encourage others to do the same though our More Good Deeds app. We’ll donate $1 to your chosen charity for your trouble as well!
Go. Do. Experience. More Good Deeds.