Industry wide strategies aimed at improving labour laws are essential; only through freedom of association can the millions of voiceless individuals employed in this multi-billion dollar industry take a lasting stand against systemic injustices. There is an urgent need for both the industry and the public to hear this collective call to action.
Sewing your own clothes allows you to take back ownership of your wardrobe. You can start making clothes that suit you, made from fabrics you choose, rather than being shaped by what retailers tell you you want... The first step to improving the ethical quality of the fashion industry is yours to take.
Three years ago who would have imagined how Fashion Revolution and The True Cost movie would galvanize that much interest and action from consumers and businesses? On the environmental sustainability side Greenpeace Detox campaign has forced companies to reduce the most toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of clothing.
What makes a 'sustainable' wardrobe? Quantity is certainly the first thing that comes to my mind. We all have far too many clothes. And despite this, I'm willing to bet that most, if not all of us, always gravitate towards the same small number of items, again and again. The first item to kick off this series of features is worthy of its number one spot: The White Shirt.
Parvin sits on the bed in a small dark room where she lives with her three year old son Rasul in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. She shares the room with another woman and her child. The bed takes up nearly all of the floor space, saris hang from the walls, hair oil, a brush and medicine sit on the only shelf in the room, and there is a pink plastic bowl on the floor for washing...
The raw materials used to make some of our most precious possessions are too often shrouded in secrecy. Gold, silver and precious gemstones can have a very murky past (think 'Blood Diamonds' and slave-labour mines), which is why provenance is all the more important here than in any other areas of the luxury goods market.
When I read that this year's Bright New Things at Selfridges were going to be some of the earliest pioneers of responsible fashion, I couldn't wait to take a look. Buried deep in the heart of the esteemed labyrinth, they were scattered, their innovation tightly controlled in neatly compact displays.
In an attempt to refine the information overload, I have picked the articles that I think are most engaging; voices that will both inspire and anger; brands worthy of attention; and concepts that will encourage reflection on this industry and how we interact with it. Here are the five topics that dominated the discussion:
Like most things, the beginnings of any great change often grows from the grassroots, and in this instance with the individual demanding greater transparency from their retail outlets. If the market dictates cleaner fashion, my hope is that mainstream fashion will start to clean up its act. Only then will I willingly retire.