Ethical clothing

What springs to mind when you hear the term ethical fashion? Is it long skirts made out of hemp, worn by people with long hair, no make up and no deodorant or do you think batik and tie die prints?

Do you think of it as knowing where the clothes you are wearing comes from, what type of factory has manufactured the garment, how the factory workers have been treated and how was the fabric itself made?

Ethical fashion clothing is the idea of following fashion trends in a way that encompasses a sense of morality in the production of the garment.

From the purchasing of the fabric, to the manufacturing of garments, each stage of the process should be conducted in a way that benefits everyone.


Cotton grow on fields and need to be picked.

Now you would think that as most cotton is now picked by machines, there is no longer any advantage taken of the people who pick cotton.

This may not necessarily be true as those who drive the mechanical pickers and all others involved are not immune to being taken advantage of.

Like any other workforce, they can be intimidated, bullied and threatened with loss of their job or hours cut drastically when money needs to be saved or even fired if they do not reach their quotas.

Thus, the concept of ethical fashion is about ensuring that those involved in the production of the clothes you are wearing are treated with dignity, paid a decent wage and have adequate work conditions.

Other than people, the other area to think about when talking about ethical fashion is the environment.


We’ve heard it time and time again, we only have this planet to live on and we have to look after it.

In the quest to have the latest trends quickly we should not fall into the trap of using chemicals that could harm the environment.

The use of harmful chemicals and pesticides may increase profits in the short run, by ensuring what is harvested meets the set standard, but in the long run by damaging the soil, others may not be able to grow crops and with no food to eat/sell, trade suffers.

The increase of organic clothing

When you look round shops there is an increase in the number clothing label as being made from organic fabrics. This labeling gives customers comfort in purchasing goods knowing care has been taken in its production.

As organic fabrics are free of pesticides, herbicides and generically modified seeds, its production is more expensive as crops are at greater risk of being damaged. This is where fabrics like bamboo are being used more as they grow fast, doesn’t need fertilisers or pesticides, has natural UV protection and has a natural resistance to bacteria.

Soy is a new fabric being used and is a by product of soybean production, a legume that raises controversy when asking if its healthy for you or not. It contains about 20g of fat per 100g and has polyunsaturated, saturated and monounsaturated fat. With this much fat, you may want to read a few phen 375 reviews like the one at

As retailers are in business to make money, they are able to charge a premium on clothing made from organic fabrics and are constantly looking, if they can get the fabric at cheaper cost, while still being ethical, this is a win/win for all.

Principles of ethical clothing

Ethical clothing has an important role in making the fashion world socially responsible, after all the fashion industry has a reputation of being exploitative.

Many brands have now jumped on the ethical trend bandwagon. Some are doing it to increase profits, some because they do not want to be left out and others because they genuinely believe it’s the right thing to do.

Being cynical, those who genuinely believe it’s the right thing to do would more than likely end up either going out of business or being bought by another company.

For the fashion industry a place to start in having ethical fashion would be to protect wages, have good working conditions and rights, not use harmful chemical and toxic pesticide, reduce water usage, promote or develop sustainable methods for fashion production, recycle and check energy efficiency of factories before deciding on which factory to go with and be mindful of animal rights.

To be truly, ethical companies need to constantly ask themselves if they can hold their heads up high when questioned on the making of their garments.


There are a few areas to look at here, wages paid, working conditions and not using under aged employees.


Its essential workers are paid a fair wage for the tasks they complete. Ideally, it would also be a wage that meets matches the cost of living.

Working conditions

The environment in which people work in is very important. It doesn’t have to be trendy with the latest office gadgets, but it does have to be safe, have amenities such as bathrooms, a place to eat during breaks, ideally it would be a place things like a hydrolyzed weigh protein can be prepared, read more about this at along with other quick snacks. Its also essential there is a first aid box, just in case there is a minor injury or accident.

The work environment also has to have the right type of tools to allow workers to perform their jobs well.

Workers rights

Having a process workers can follow clearly laid out if they have any grievances should be available to all. Plus having a work environment were grievances can be aired without the fear of being reprimanded, such as losing your job, is something ethical companies must have.

Underage employees

Under no circumstances should a company employ under aged workers. Do you want your latest bag made by a 7 year old working 10 hours a day in a factory?

Supply chain

Consolidating shipments with other retailers, using trucks that use alternative fuel and not using air as a means of transporting garments are ways a fashion retailers carbon footprint can be reduced.

There are more factors that make companies ethical and the above outlines the broader criteria.

People are behind any organisation and treating them well will benefit all concerned. On the environmental side, reducing the effect of business functions such as effects of supply chain is a step towards the goal of being ethical.

The Guardian