|coat: vintage, necklace: DIY, skirt: moda in, boots: Šimecki|
With the Fashion Revolution Day close at hand, I feel prompted to write something about clothes and ethics. Most people will tell you that a good way to support ethical fashion is to buy second hand or vintage clothes, recycle your clothes or even sew your own clothes. They would be right! I do all of that and not merely because of ethics behind it. By doing any of the things listed above, you'll make your style more unique and versatile.
Let's take a look at these three things that are quite easy to do. Second hand shops are not only environmentally friendly, they are also a very practical option for us financially challenged people. It is no secret that the clothes used to be made out of more quality materials and while I feel it is great that today there are so many options, I often wonder at the price we had to pay for it. When it comes to recycling our clothes, I think that is pretty much self explanatory. It is a good thing to do period. On the other hand, some people might feel apprehensive about making/sewing their own clothes. If you fall into that category, just remember that a bit of DIY goes a long way. Plenty of videos and tutorials out there so inspiration shouldn't be a problem either. You'll feel better about yourself once you do a DIY or two, take my word for it.
When it comes to choosing one brand over another, this is where things get a bit more complicated. The thing with ethical dressing is that it is sometimes hard to define. Do you see how this might be a problem? Someone will define ethical dressing as buying clothes from one particular brand, while that same brand might be on someone's else boycott list. We do all have our reasons why we might want to support a brand or not, so I won't get into that ( I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject, though). What I do want to stress is that the question 'Who makes my clothes?' is a good question to ask. I think we should encourage one another to ask this question more often, rather that judge one another for what our personal choices might be. It is a wonderful thing to see people caring about the way clothes are made. Generally, we take so much for granted so taking a moment to see things from a new perspective is always good.
Furthermore, if we want to get deeper into the whole question of 'ethical clothing' than things can get a bit more complicated. I feel that sometimes underdeveloped countries get exploited twice. First the factories get settled there and exploit people and then they get closed down and the company (now having the funds to employ workers in their own country) brags about as it is a moral choice they suddenly decided to make. Such rash actions are not very ethical, are they? What happens is that those workers get abandoned (after the company had already made money on them) and the very act of closing down the company is presented as something positive. We are not always helping people by putting pressure on some factories to close down. Life can be complicated that way. Sometimes we do harm when we want to do good, but still I think it is better to mess up and try to fix it, than just be a passive consumer who never thinks of anything.
As you can see, I still have some dilemmas of my own on the subject. Perhaps ethical fashion is still work in progress. Nevertheless, isn't it great that so many people are interested in this concept? Many things still need to be defined and those of us interested in it, still have a lot to learn. That is why I wanted to stress that asking questions is a good place to start. My advice to everyone is to do your own research and don't take something for granted. Just because some celebrity supports a certain company doesn't make it ethical. Write to the companies, make inquires and make your own reasons. In the end we are all responsible for the choices we make, so don't let anyone make these choices for you.
Like everyone else, I have my own reasons to do things. As you might have noticed, brands don't appear often on my blog and when they do, they are usually local ones. The main reason why I often chose to buy local brands is that I hope that in some small way I'm helping somebody to keep their job in these difficult times. Alternatively, perhaps I just don't like owning the same clothes as everybody else and I have invented fancy reasons for it. I mean, who knows what is really in our subconsciousness?;) Even before I ever heard of ethical dressing, I was always shying away from the big brands hence my reasons for doing this may be entirely selfish. Joking asides, I do sometimes go out of my way to purchase a product because I believe in the company that sells it and I'm sure I'm not the only one. If we must live in a consumerist society, we must at least take notice of what we consume and why.
This once I will refrain from summarizing. Principally, because I believe that in a way ethical clothing is something we all need to answer for ourselves. So, do tell me, what is ethical clothing for you?