According to the Ethical
Fashion Forum, the term "ethical fashion" represents
an approach to the design, sourcing, and
manufacturing of clothing that maximizes benefits to
people and communities while minimizing its impact
on the environment.
The meaning of "ethical"
goes far beyond doing no harm, representing an
approach which strives to take an active role in
poverty reduction, sustainable livelihood creation,
minimizing, and counteracting environmental
When discussing "ethical"
fashion, the term "sustainability" often comes up.
Sustainability is about meeting the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs.
Some believe a business or
initiative is not sustainable unless the triple bottom
line is integrated at the core of business practices and
policy, from board level to studio, shop, or factory
Increasing the capacity and
well being of the people and communities behind fashion.
Any fashion business depends on the people behind it. In
a broader context, poverty and exploitation of the human
workforce behind fashion affects the stability of the
Minimizing the environmental
impact of all business operations throughout the supply
chain. Creating and acting upon opportunities to reduce
environmental issues beyond the immediate operations,
such as awareness raising, investment in and support of
Without a robust financial
business model, none of the above can be achieved. Good
intentions without an effective business structure can
backfire. A sustainable approach includes quality
products or services that meet market needs and demands
and are fairly marketed.
The Ethical Fashion Forum has
drawn up a set of 10 criteria for ethical fashion.
- Countering fast, cheap
fashion and damaging patterns of fashion consumption
- Defending fair wages,
working conditions and workers’ rights
- Supporting sustainable
- Addressing toxic pesticide
and chemical use
- Using and/or developing
eco-friendly fabrics and components
- Minimizing water use
- Recycling and addressing
energy efficiency and waste
- Developing or promoting
sustainability standards for fashion
- Resources, training and/or
awareness raising initiatives
- Animal rights
Written for Apparel Search by Regina Cooper June