5 tips to know if a fashion brand is ethical
So how do you determine if a brand is ethical? Here are our 5 tips and tricks to remember before embarking on your next wardrobe update:
- Research of the identity as well as the brand values in the "About us"
A general idea of the manufacturing and design values of a fashion company's clothing can easily be found in their company description. Vocabulary is important, look for words like 'eco-friendly', 'fair trade', 'organic', 'recycled', 'slow fashion', etc. When a brand carries human values at the heart of their identity, as a consumer, we expect that we can find them on all platforms combined.
- A local or exported workforce?
Some brands and big-box stores offer their clothes at ridiculously low prices. These companies are attractive because they offer a fast and varied product turnover. Of course, there is a catch to this type of consumption: the workforce is certainly exploited, barely paid by the multinationals they work for and often in dangerous conditions. It is smarter to choose a local company, which produces its parts on a small scale, made by artisans, paid a competitive salary reflecting the realities of the market and their experience in the field. We must bet on companies that ensure a human production environment instead of an overproduction system.
- Surfing the net for customer feedback
Do not hesitate to consult experts in ethical fashion such as blogs or influencers who have the experience and knowledge necessary to properly evaluate the products, the culture of the company and their mode of production. It is not uncommon for a brand to borrow “fashionable” ethical terms and principles without them being applied with integrity. These mirages can mislead consumers, which is called “greenwashing”. This is why a quick (or longer) research on the company is the key to getting the truth about the values of a fashion company.
- Consult the list of materials used
It's one thing to perfect your production method so that it adapts to slow-fashion, you also have to make sure that materials such as fabrics are organic, recycled or produced in a fair way. Examples of eco-friendly fabrics are cotton, linen and Tencel which is recovered from wood pulp. These are much more ethical than plastic alternatives such as nylon and polyester which are made with petroleum and take several hundred years to biodegrade.
- Ask the brand directly
The transparency of a mark is decisive. If the information you are looking for about the creation of the pieces and their provenance is not found on their site or their social networks, do not hesitate to contact them to find out more. And if you're left with no answer, the choice is clear: avoid their products.
The Takeaway: A fashion brand has become more than just a brand. It is an instance of purchase that will have an impact on the years to come at the planetary, human and economic level. Buying local, ecological and fair is a springboard to a brighter and more promising future.