Today fashion dances at our fingertips for the taking. Trends whirl through at speed, living and dying within weeks, Pinterest boards fill up with wishlists, and beautiful Instagram posts with “#linkinprofile” lure us into a dangerous game of satisfying our cravings instantly. The fast fashion industry has worked to create and satisfy consumers’ hankering for the latest looks, but this cycle of wanting, having, and wanting more has far reaching consequences for people across the world.
What you may not realise is that your pound, spent wisely, has the potential for massive impact. Beyond the high street is an ecosystem of companies working to produce fashion in a different way, and while accessing them does require a shift in mindset, fashion with a positive impact is within reach.
There are two wonderful UK based organizations that spring to mind when meditating on the power of the pound. They have made it a priority to understand the positive ripples that ethical spending can create around the world, and seek to ensure ethical practices and living wages throughout their supply chain.
What they do: Women Worldwide sells “beautiful things handmade by beautiful people who simply want to have better and beautiful lives for themselves and their families.” Susan Ma, co-founder and CEO, built this fair trade and ethically driven company from scratch to empower women at the global and local level. Her goal was to ensure the living wage become a standard practice and to ensure that women have opportunities for personal and professional growth. The company operates in two parts: an online shop which sources products from around the world, and an Active leadership and jewellery making programme for low income women in London.
How they do it: All products sourced and sold on their website have a story and a woman behind them. Each purchase has a positive impact somewhere in the world, from supporting formerly trafficked women in Scotland to providing business training to women living on the Thai/Burma border. Every pound spent on their fair trade products has a purpose and ethically connects the consumer to the artisan.
What they do: People Tree is a sustainable and fair trade fashion company which makes “beautiful garments that are a living blueprint for [their] values: people and the planet are central to everything.” They seek to create clothes at the intersection of fashion-forward and ethically-minded, creating luxurious and elegant pieces that add huge value to any wardrobe.
How they do it: By incorporating Fair Trade standards into every aspect of their company, People Tree was the first clothing company to receive the World Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade product mark in 2013. In addition to the use of environmentally friendly dyes, People Tree has also developed an integrated supply chain through which organic cotton is sourced for their products.
So when you next scroll through pages of fast fashion challenge yourself to think again. Let’s make the ripples we create send kindness, agency, and dignity to every corner of the world.
With thanks to Marissa Conway for this post
Picture credit: pexels.com