#buyethical, #SocEnt, Artisans, Change, developing countries, eco fashion, eco-friendly, Environment, environmentalism, ethical consumerism, ethical fashion, Ethical fashion university courses, ethically-made, fair trade, Social consumerism, social impact, Social Innovation, socially-made, sustainable, Sustainable consumption, sustainable fashion, sustainably-made, third-world countries
On April 24 of this year, more than 1,100 people were killed as the Rana Plaza building, a garment factory, collapsed in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka in Bangladesh.
Since the disaster, more than 50 fashion labels have signed a legally-binding agreement to ensure more rigorous safety standards in the factories that supply their clothes. But the campaign for ethical fashion is going further than that. Two decades since the first sweatshop scandals broke, students across the country are getting involved in a movement for a more ethical fashion industry.
Emma Waight, a human geography PhD student at the University of Southampton, is known in the blogosphere as a key figure in the ethical fashion movement in the UK. She’s organised two events at her university this year: The Ethical Fashion Workshop 2013, featuring expert speakers from across the country, and a clothes swap attracting 80 students.
The aim of the swap was to inform students from all courses about ethical fashion. “It’s really important to remember that the retail industry has so many areas to it. Everyone buys clothes and students from all kinds of disciplines end up working in retail,” said Waight.
Waight’s curiosity in the ethical fashion industry was sparked during her BA in fashion promotion and communciation at Southampton Solent University. “I believe that in terms of sustainable consumption, the best thing we can do is buy less. We’ve got into this culture of buying more and more items because it’s easily available, and there’s so much choice now,” she said.
Charlotte Instone, who recently finished her first year of a BA in fashion buying and merchandising at the London College of Fashion, is another student keen to spread the word about ethical fashion. She read up on the movement after taking a related module during her course.
Instone recently put on an ethical fashion show at her university with a programme of expert panel discussions and clothes stalls from ethical fashion labels. “I wanted to make the event a platform for everything available at the moment,” Instone said.
The show raised £900 for Rehema, a charity in Tanzania training women in textile skills, as well as educating fellow students about the industry. Instone has been asked to run it again next year.
One university has recognised this growing trend among students. In September this year, Buckinghamshire New University will pilot a new BA in fashion design, with ethical and sustainable fashion as its unique selling point. The programme looks at the sustainability of various materials and their properties, the conditions for workers in garment industries, and diversity in fashion. Course director Sian Kate-Mooney said: “It’s basically saying, ‘You don’t have to be a size zero, six foot 13-year-old white girl to enjoy and wear fashion’.”
The BA has seen a high number of applications, which Mooney puts down to a growing concern with where clothes are coming from and the conditions in which they are made. Speaking about the course at UCAS fairs and open days, she has been encouraged by the number of young people who were interested in the subject.
So why the growing awareness? Could it be that the recent disaster in Bangladesh, which received a good deal of media coverage, has fixed the plight of garment workers and the broader issues within the industry more permanently in peoples’ minds? Waight said: “I’m sure it’s had an impact – people I’ve spoken to around university say they’re more keen not to buy clothes either from Primark or from Bangladesh.”
Instone is also positive that the Rana Plaza disaster has encouraged engagement among her fellow students. “In terms of setting up companies at the moment with how the market is, the only way to do it is to have a really strong USP, and ethical fashion offers something different,” she said.
So what are the biggest barriers to engaging the interest of other students? For Waight, it’s the cost and availability of ethical products. “Most people do shop on the high street or in familiar places, and unless you’re looking for ethical brands you don’t find them because they’re quite small brands. I think it would be really great if there were more department stores or more independent shops on the high street offering that kind of thing. I think for students, cost is also a big factor,” she said.
She also thinks it would be inspirational for young people to have celebrity role models they can look up to for influence in the area. She compares ethical fashion to sustainability and the fair trade movement in the food industry, pointing towards household names such as Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who champion ethical produce. “I think a lot can be learned from the food industry. People buying free range eggs has no impact on us apart from a warm fuzzy feeling inside, and that’s because celebrity chefs have really been heading those kinds of campaigns, so I think we need more of that for ethical fashion,” Waight said.
Mooney hopes that once students graduate from the course, they will go to become industry influencers. “Hopefully we will have students who will say, ‘That’s not ethical, but there are all these ethical solutions.’ They will already be equipped to go into the industry.”
#buyethical, #SocEnt, Artisans, Change, developing countries, eco fashion, eco-friendly, Environment, environmentalism, environmentally-friendly, ethical consumerism, ethical fashion, ethically-made, fair trade, Social consumerism, Social Enterprise, social entrepreneur, Social Entrepreneurship, social impact, Social Innovation, socially-made, sustainability, sustainable, sustainable fashion, sustainably-made
Benjamin Franklin once said: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Our blogs are a reflection of what we do and are related to the topics we are passionate about – Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, and Ethical Fashion. With a combination of interesting articles, informative statistics, and educational infograpics, we are connecting with our readers and sharing our perspective on these topics. Our readership base has and continues to grow; our blog posts were read in 105 countries in 2012 alone.
Here are some highlights for the month of June for our blog:
-Our blog was read in 26 countries
– Hello to new readers who found us in Burkina Faso and Brazil!
– Our blog readers found us by searching for terms like “ethical fashion trends” and “glamour of sustainability”
#buyethical, #SocEnt, AltoRoma AltoModa, Change, eco fashion, eco-friendly, Empower artisans, Environment, environmentalism, ethical consumerism, ethical fashion, Ethical Fashion runway show, ethically-made, ethically-sourced, fight poverty, good cause, handwoven materials, Rome Fashion Week, Social consumerism, social impact, sustainability, sustainable, sustainably-made
“AltoRoma AltoModa, Rome’s fashion week, may not be as glamorous or high-profile as that of Paris, New York, and Milan, but it still offers some pretty rad runway shows. AltoModa is currently in full swing and earlier today, we already saw one show that really got our attention. It was called Africa to Rome, and we loved its colorful fashions as well as its unusual mission.
Africa to Rome is a result of a collaboration of the International Trade Center’s Ethical Fashion Initiative and Italy’s AltoRoma, and was designed to give global attention to African artisans. The Ethical Fashion Initiative is an ongoing UN mission that works to help women in Africa make their craftsmanship available to the market, and it’s an awesome, empowering way to fight poverty.
The Ethical Fashion runway show featured African designer brands Christie Brown, Kiki Clothing, Portenier Roth, and Stella Jean. The clothes were all made with ethically-sourced, handwoven materials made on the continent. Oh, and they were amazing.
It’s great to see fashion inspired by a good cause, and it’s also a refreshing take on clothing from the handful of top designers we see every other day of the year. Check out some of the best pieces from the Africa to Rome runway show below.”
See another ethical fashion look here: http://www.google.com/hostednews/getty/article/ALeqM5h9Mo2wQj0oJZ9G4ERt_oklaTVnMQ?docId=173104665.
Models display creations by Kiki Clothing during It’s Ethical Fashion ‘Bring Africa to Rome’ catwalk collection S/S 2014 fashion show as part of AltaRoma AltaModa Fashion Week at Santo Spirito In Sassia on July 7, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)
From the looks of it, it seems like ethical fashion and green fashion is white hot!
#buyethical, #SocEnt, Artisans, Change, developing countries, eco fashion, eco-friendly, Environment, environmentalism, environmentally-friendly, ethical communities, ethical consumerism, ethical fashion, Ethical market, Ethical marketing, ethical products, Ethical strategies, fair trade, social change, Social consumerism, Social Enterprise, social impact, Social Innovation, sustainability, Sustainability initiatives, sustainable, sustainable fashion, sustainably-made
We were recently featured in a blog on how ethical market can help a business by Melissa Reiter (http://www.uberflip.com/blog/how-ethical-marketing-can-help-your-business). We reposted the article below:
“In the past decade there has been a noticeable increase in the number of businesses using ethical, fair trade and eco-friendly marketing strategies to promote their products. Many companies have considered using ethical strategies and branding to help boost sales or attract consumers looking for assurances that their choice of product and service providers are in line with their personal beliefs. Here are some ways to determine if ethical or eco-friendly marketing strategies are right for your business.
Ethical Marketing Can Make You Stand Out
PrernaChandak is the founder of Shopanthropic, a company that works with local artisans in countries including India, Nepal, Cambodia and Bangladesh to create trendy, feel-good designer products and accessories that are ethically-made, fair trade and eco-friendly. “We wanted to do something that had meaning.” explains Chandak. “Cutting a cheque to an organization is one thing, but actually being able to help create change is another.”
Shopanthropic, which began as a small project by Chandak and her mother on a trip to India, has grown to be a multi-faceted business. Chandak works with corporations in creating sustainable products that can tie into their corporate responsibility initiatives, works with non-profits to build fundraising campaigns using ethically-made products and helps artisans connect with the global community by learning to use and embrace technology as part of their businesses. Choosing to be an ethical business has been a conscious decision for Chandak. “Our strategy has helped us set ourselves apart,” she says. Shopanthropic’s unique approach has created a niche and distinguished the company from other retailers in her business space.
Ethical Marketing Can Help Build Trust
“Even if [a company] is not fully socially conscious, it’s a platform to go into your community and say ‘We support good things’,” Chandak points out. Marketers can learn from this approach and even apply it in the online space. Taking a strong and well-expressed position on ethical issues like data mining, managing users’ privacy and information and other ethical issues helps build trust with users and helps express your company’s ideals.Showing that your business uses sustainable or eco-friendly materials in its day-to-day operations or takes pride in its waste-reduction strategy also helps show your commitment to issues consumers care about. Discuss your business’s sustainability initiatives in the signature line of your emails, by displaying your LEED certification on your website, or through articles on your blog. Adopting a more sustainable model of operations can also help you save money. Eco-friendly business models like paperless offices reduce both your waste and your expenses.
Create Content and Educate Consumers
Educating potential consumers and addressing your target market in general about the ethical or eco-friendly measures your business has adopted is an important part of helping potential customers understand the value of this part of your strategy. Shopanthropic helps promote the importance of its commitment to ethical products through regular blog posts and even editorials in major publications. This is a lesson Chandak has learned while establishing Shopanthroic’s niche within in the accessories industry. “We compete with a market that’s dirt cheap. It’s very difficult sometimes when you’re dealing with consumers who may not realize the benefits of ethical products, whether they’re eco-friendly, fair trade or both.”
What is Chandak’s advice for companies thinking about moving forward with an ethical marketing strategy? “Do it. But make sure you stay committed to it.” Some organizations have decided to move ahead with ethical marketing, only to revert back to their previous approach. “This hurts the ethical sector in general because suppliers doubt the industry,” Chandak observes. The ethical community has a consistent message about the way products should be made, and consistency helps your businesses express that message and be part of that community. “Stay committed to it and voice that,” Chandak says, “Go out and talk about it. We’re all moving in the same direction.””
“Affordable products, such as solar-powered lamps and mobile phone chargers, are often called innovations for low-income markets. But service models – such as outsourcing companies in rural areas generating local employment – can also be high-impact innovations.
The common factor whether it is a product, service, process or technology is that innovations can create value for people on low incomes and improve their lives.”
#buyethical, Artisans, Change, developing countries, eco fashion, eco-friendly, Environment, environmentalism, environmentally-friendly, ethical consumerism, ethical fashion, ethically-made, socially-made, sustainability, sustainable, sustainable fashion, sustainably-made
An article in the Guardian recently stated “From suicide-themed fashion shoots to tax evasion – the rag trade is notable now only for moral bankruptcy”
So is it true? Is an industry that runs off of well-tailored garments and fine fabrics really rags and shabby morals?
The hits keep coming – a recent photo shoot in a hipster lifestyle magazine had suicide-themed photo shoot, with a focus “on the demise of a set of writers whose lives we very much wish weren’t cut tragically short, especially at their own hands.” While there might be a deeper meaning behind the photo shoot, does it justify the brutal way to drape designer labels in a consumer publication?
With the factor collapse in Bangladesh, the recent news of Dolce & Gabbana and their tax evasion issues , and constant issues in relation to the pressures on models to be stick-thin, can we justify premium prices on pieces of fabric that were produced for less than a tenth of the store prices? Moreover, how can we get the media to seriously think about what they publish and what social trends they create?
We need to revaluate what occurs in the media and in our own daily lives. We need to consider the decisions we make, and the products we wear and use. It is this process that will enable us to bring moral fibre back into the actions of the designers, media publications and everyday consumers.
As the last words of the article earlier referenced said:
“For, like designer tax evasion, garment sweatshops and the fate of tissue-eating models, the suborning of the media is too delicate a question to detain upscale fashion reportage while being, at the same time, too commonplace to outrage everyone else.”