It's taken a few decades, but bit by bit, the Western world is realising that there are real, live people on the other end of the clothing brands we know and love - and not many of them are the models and celebrities who make them look good. There's a growing awareness that we have a responsibility to think about the people on the coalface of the fashion industry and the not-so-cool circumstances in which many of them work, and use our consumer choices to make it better.
That's why Wanderlust People brings you a market full of the world's handcrafted treasures where you can be certain that each and every thing you find is responsibly and ethically sourced.
But we understand that you can't wear a beautiful lavender and rose stole to the gym - some occasions just call for more standardised apparel! So we're stoked to hear about Good on You's initiative to give over 1000 fashion brands a simple ethics rating, and their current crowdfunding project to put those ratings into an app. And we're also glad to see our good friends at The Collective getting behind them with some great coverage...
WORDS BY HANNAH SILVERTON
What's better than a little retail therapy? Retail therapy that doesn’t blow your budget – or your values
The last couple of years has seen a growing awareness that perhaps our clothes don’t come as cheaply as the price tag suggests. Since the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed more than 1,000 garment workers, there has been a lot of discussion and increased questioning about the true cost of our clothes.
But finding relevant information can be quite tricky. Supply chains are murky and companies aren’t exactly forthcoming with how much they pay their workers for the $150 silk shirt you just bought.
So the clever team at Sydney-based, not-for-profit start-up, Good On You, came up with an easy, accessible solution – a system that lets you know how good or bad your chosen label is with a simple ethical rating. There are more than 1000 local and international clothing and footwear brands rated based on their impact on people, the planet and animals.
The ratings are available online, but the organisation is currently crowdfunding to build an app which will bring the ratings into the palm of your hands. And what’s more, the app will give you the ability to directly contact brands and companies, allowing for instantaneous feedback. So if you think your favourite brand should stop using poisonous pesticides on their cotton, you can let them know; this is fashion activism!
As more and more of us are asking where our clothes, beauty products and electronics are coming from – under what conditions they were made and at what social cost – this innovative technology is needed more than ever. Imagine the strong message we can send to big companies when we have access to this kind of information!
There are an estimated 150 million children in forced labour. In places like Cambodia and Bangladesh, workers are paid barely enough to cover their basic living expenses, and toxic run-off from cotton pesticides and fabric dyes are so poisonous they’re killing entire eco-systems. The cost of our fashion is being paid by those who can’t afford it.
The Ethical Shopping Assistant will help us take action on our awareness, showing companies that it’s time to do good.
Good On You hopes to raise AU$30,000 to build the app through their Start Some Good crowdfunding campaign. The app will be ready in September, in time to help shoppers make informed decisions this Christmas. Join the movement today by pledging for a more ethical future in fashion.
Words by Bethany Noble