A Year of Ethical Fashion

The brainchild of the famous Pip Lincolne of ‘Meet me at Mikes’, the Year of Ethical Fashion is a blogger challenge that I first came across when Ruthy of Minibreak Mummy wrote this post about Who Made Your Pants? – an ethical underwear company.

Pip’s challenge is for people to:

  • wear clothes you already own
  • buy from ethical companies
  • make your own clothing
  • buy second-hand and vintage
  • swap with other folk

This subject resonates heavily with me, as I have long raged about cheap fashion. The nasty truth is that if you’re paying very little for your clothing, the chances are that someone, somewhere is paying a far heftier price. A lack of regulated working conditions, no sick or maternity pay, no regular breaks for food or the toilet, not to mention horrific factory disasters such as the recent fire in Bangladesh; the worst disaster in the garment industry’s history. And this is even before we start talking about child labour.

My own rules for clothing purchases have long been this:

  • Only buy what you NEED – and then wear your clothes, don’t leave them languishing in a wardrobe with the tags still on because you’ve got so much stuff!
  • Only buy what you LOVE – that way you’re not wasting money, resources and someone’s work on something you’re ambivalent about. (I realise that necessary clothing might not fit into this – but I think that work clothes that make you feel good do actually make life better…)
  • Look after your clothes properly. Wash according to the instructions. Take proper care of your belongings. Realise that resources are not infinite and treat them accordingly.
  • Get stuff repaired – I had my beloved (only) pair of jeans repaired at the end of last year, and they have months of life in them now.

One final point. The campaigning group Labour Behind The Label, suggest that one thing we could all do, regardless of where we shop, is to write to clothing companies and ask them about their labour policies. The more pressure they receive, especially from their customers (because that’s where their profit lies!) the more likely they are to improve their supply chain and those people who are making our clothes for us will receive a fairer deal. Sounds like an excellent idea to me. Take a look HERE for their guidance on doing this. 

I’ll be following this challenge with interest this year (and wearing what I already own) and I’m really hoping to come across some new ethical companies in the process.

A Year of Ethical Fashion

11 Responses to A Year of Ethical Fashion

  1. helenlay82 says:

    Brilliant post, I’m in the middle of a ‘rediscover my wardrobe’ time at the moment – working out what I’ve got & still want to wear, what I’ve got I could sell/donate etc etc and then thinking seriously about any new purchases. Not that I’ve ever gone mad with clothes/shoe shopping but I definitely have fewer things still with the tags on than I used to! Good luck I shall follow your posts with interest.

  2. This is great – couldn’t have put it better myself!

    Your rules for clothing purchases are excellent.

    I’ve moved from a house with lots of built-in wardrobes to a house where we’ve have to buy a freestanding wardrobe and this has forced me to ensure that I don’t keep or purchase anything I won’t wear often enough to justify the space it takes up on the rail.

    • I think enforced space limitation can really help focus you on what you want and what you don’t. Like you, I’ve got really limited space and so I really can’t hang onto things that don’t justify occupying the room!

  3. Sounds like a great challenge! I’ve just had a cardigan fixed recently, there’s no point buying a new one when it just needs sewing up a bit.

  4. I have one chest of drawers and no hanging space so my wardrobe (without a wardrobe) has to work really hard for me.

    My favourite ethical purchases have been my Burberry coat (charity shop, £50), Loewe bag (charity shop, £25 with dust bag!) and Kew skirt (charity shop, £2.50).

    I go in there on the way to other places and it’s usually the same shop that has what’s perfect fpr me.

    Oh yes, and the lady in there gives me free apples from her tree. It’s brilliant.

  5. Katy says:

    What a great idea. I had a big clear out recently and want to shop a lot more sensibly in the future. Including quality rather than quantity. It would be interesting to find out company policies for my favourite shops.
    Katy x

  6. bettypark says:

    It’s really a new idea for me.I think it also saves my money when I’m buying second-hand things…Thanks for sharing,mate!!!

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