Why ethical fashion is becoming important

Fashion is a big part of everyone’s life, whether following the latest trend or outright choosing not to, clothes are an essential part of life, almost a form of self-expression without having to speak! Time magazine ran an interesting article about the 5 things your clothes are saying about you. Whether going out on a date, meeting friends, or even just picking up a few groceries, choosing an outfit that suits the occasion on the wearer's terms is a must.

There has been an “ethical wave” of late, as consumers want to know the source of their clothing. Fashion Revolution ran a campaign on instagram this year hashtagging it #whomademyclothes, wearing clothes inside out to ask well-known retailers to reveal the people and process behind the clothing. According to a study by Mintel, 56% of US consumers stop buying from companies they believe are unethical. More than three in five consumers feel that ethical issues are becoming more important.

Leading the way is the younger generation, the Ethical Fashion Forum calls them the ‘young optimists’ (aged 18 – 34), who are the most concerned with sustainability. Two thirds actively seek out sustainable brands and a quarter always consider the brand's stand on social and environmental issues when making purchasing decisions.

On the 2nd of February this year, another clothing factory caught fire in Bangladesh. According to the Clean Clothes Campaign, if the fire had broken out any sooner “the factory would have been filled with more than 6,000 workers.” This same building was inspected in May of 2014 by the US-based “Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.” The inspection found that the factory lacked the right safety equipment, proving that these kind of accidents are entirely avoidable.

We are proud that at Taita Leila, not only are we engaging artisans to use their skills to reinterpret our traditional embroidery, we also work with them under terms they set. Most of the women we work with tend to work from their own homes, at their own pace, we work around their schedule. The embroidery alone for our most intricate designs can take about a week of dedicated work.  

Consumers have the power to decide how their clothes are made. Doing something as simple as purchasing from ethical brands, with known high standards for manufacturing, can play a part in changing this world one piece of clothing at a time.

What do you think of when choosing what clothes to buy? Let us know in the comments!

Image: Um Nikola showing us the tahriri (couched) stitch used in our Bethlehem Qabbeh blouse; Photo credit Rafia Oraidi

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