Why shop ethically?

Shopping ethically for food is generally well accepted, we regularly buy free range eggs, organic food, British/local produce, seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as popular fair trade foods such as bananas and chocolate.

Somehow when it comes to fashion the message hasn’t quite got across that buying mass produced cheap clothing & accessories is having a negative impact on the rest of the world.

The problem is that we have come to accept “fast fashion” as the norm and expect to be able to purchase our clothes at a bargain price and then discard them next season. A century ago clothes were well made and repaired again and again before being discarded. Now we view clothes as disposable, which all has a negative impact upon the environment and workers in developing countries.

Some of the problems fast fashion creates include:

1. Poor working conditions – Workers are often made to work in unsuitable and even dangerous environments. In 2013 there was the Rana Plaza disaster, when a building which housed various clothing factories collapsed in Bangladesh and killed 1,134 people

2. Low pay - Hourly wages in garment factories around the world are often less than 50p. Almost ¾ of the world’s clothing exports are made in developing countries. With many factories in developing countries competing for valuable contracts with garment companies, prices and production times have been pushed down and down.

3. Throwaway society - The UK creates more than 1.8 million tonnes of clothing waste each year, which is approximately the weight of 100 pairs of jeans per household.

4. Wasteful manufacturing - An estimated 400 billion square meters of textiles are produced annually, of which 60 billion square meters are left on the cutting room floor.

5. Unrecyclable textiles - Only one per cent of collected clothing from charities can be used as recycled fibres, but 95% of discarded clothing can be upcycled which also takes less energy than recycling.