Ethical Fashion 101: Online Resources To Get You Started
The world of ethical fashion can be overwhelming. I get it. Luckily, there is a world wide web of incredible resources to help you get started on your journey, and keep you up to date with the latest news, trends, innovations, brands, events and more.
Before we delve in to podcasts, documentaries, books and blogs about all things fashion and sustainability, I have to mention the ethical fashion resource ultimate resource - Fashion Revolution. From their Transparency Index, which ranks 150 top brands on how much they disclose about what happens within each stage of their supply chain, to their How to Be a Fashion Revolutionary ebook and their list of easy ways to take action on fast fashion - Fashion Revolution is the go-to site for all budding fashion activists, whether you work in fashion or simply get dressed every morning.
ETHICAL FASHION PODCASTS
Work in Progress
Episode 8 with Ruth MacGilp (shameless self promotion!)
The Slow Home
Wear Your Values
Fashion No Filter
The Rich Roll Podcast
Conscious Creative Vegan
The Business of Fashion
The Plant-Based Podcast
Desert Island Discs
Low Tox Life
Behind The Thread
BOOKS ABOUT ETHICAL FASHION
Founder and CEO of fair trade and sustainable fashion label People Tree, Safia Minney, invites you to join the consumers, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals who are using their purchasing power, talents, and experience to make fashion more sustainable. Naked Fashion is a comprehensive guide in which contributors including Emma Watson and Vivienne Westwood discuss everything from styling and modelling to upcycling and how we can change the high street.
Safia Minney’s latest book profiles men, women, and children who are caught in slavery making the clothes for the fast fashion sold on our high streets. Additionally, Slave to Fashion highlights the best practice of brands and designers to prove that slave-free fashion is possible and that the industry can empower workers while still producing beautiful, competitive, and accessible fashion.
Leading academic Sandy Black examines the fascinating relationship between fashion and the environment. Using various case studies, she confronts the supposed ethics vs. aesthetic trade-off and shows that designers can place ecological thinking at the forefront and still create high-end, design-led collections, rather than merely environmentally sympathetic garments.
Largely acknowledged as the definitive reference on all aspects of eco-fashion, the book is divided into five thematic chapters – Fashion cultures, Ethics and aesthetics, Fashion business, New frontiers, and a comprehensive list of organisations enacting change. Each is made up of an array of articles, essays, and statements by industry heavyweights including Stella McCartney, Ali Hewson, Vivienne Westwood, and Dries van Noten. An eco-fashion Bible if ever there was one.
Eco Chic investigates what the rise in popularity of ethical and sustainable fashion means in an industry that is notoriously fickle. It breaks down the ‘slow fashion’ phenomenon into easy-to-dissect chunks. By the end of it, you will have discovered how to discern which fabrics are harmful to the environment, which garments have been produced in a sweatshop, and how you can create your own eco-friendly fashions by recycling and savvy shopping.
With smart and inspirational tips and tricks from Blanchard’s celebrity friends, Green is the New Black shows even the most diehard shopaholic how to wear one of fashion’s toughest colours with ease. From green carpet glamour and ethical bling, to slow travels and fabulous swap parties, Blanchard explains the principles of green fashion, why it is so important, and how to do it. It is an essential directory on every aspect of sustainable stylish living.
Greta Eagan looks at fashion as the last frontier in the shift towards conscious living. Founded in research and experience, and coupled with real lifestyle advice and everyday inspiration, Wear No Evil provides the reader with a roadmap to navigate this frontier. Particularly helpful is the ‘integrity index’, an easy-to-use rating system that allows you to identify the ethics behind any fashion item.
In a post-Rana Plaza world where environmentally and socially responsible retailers are on the rise, Kate Black weighs in on how consumers can make a positive difference too. MagnifEco introduces the brands and designers that are leading the movement and offers a complete hair-to-shoe guide on everything sustainable living.
If something is so cheap that it seems too good to be true, it is! Sustainable Luxe offers three ways to directly avoid supporting the undesirable consequences of fast fashion: 1. Buy new clothing from environmentally and socially responsible retailers. 2. Buy vintage, consignment, and second-hand clothing. 3. Shop your own closet and take care of what you already own.
Equal parts memoir, manifesto, and how-to manual, this book chronicles Sofia Hedstrom’s clothes shopping detox, provides the reader with seven essential fashion rules for streamlining their closet, and explores over fifty ways to reinvent garments without having to shop.
Recycling and upcycling are rich and growing sources of innovative design in the fashion industry. In a world where the throwaway mentality is the norm, they are the ultimate expressions of the slow fashion movement. ReFashioned showcases 46 international designers who breathe new life into recycled materials and discarded garments, to create beautiful clothing and accessories that also make a statement about the fashion industry’s wasteful and exploitative practices.
DIY Fashion contains more than forty inexpensive, sustainable, and stylish beginners’ guides that teach you how to both make and repair various pieces of clothing, jewellery, and accessories. From customised hand-me-downs to elegant eveningwear, this book is packed with ideas that the reader can adapt to their own tastes.
Green Chic equips the reader to make green lifestyle choices in fashion, personal care, food and wine, transport, and entertaining. Matheson acknowledges that it is impossible to cover all aspects of sustainable living and she thus sticks to what she is knowledgeable in, and passionate about – this itself translates into some good advice for those beginning the transition to a greener lifestyle.
Sustainable Fashion is arranged in two sections. The first four chapters represent key stages of the lifecycle: material cultivation/extraction, production, use, and disposal. The remaining four chapters explore design approaches for altering the scale and nature of consumption; including service design localism, speed, and user involvement. Which each chapter is complete in and of itself, the real value comes from what they represent together – innovative thinking about textiles and garments based on sustainability values and an interconnected approach to design.
Sustainability is arguably the defining theme of the 21st century, and, with its vast social and environmental issues, is something that the fashion industry is grossly at odds with. Organised in three parts, this book examines how sustainability has the potential to transform both the fashion system itself and the innovators who work within it.
With increasing awareness about the environmental damage of the production, use, and eventual disposal of most clothing, many designers are keen to employ more sustainable strategies in their work. Divided into four sections – source, make, use, and last – this book uses case studies of best practice from various
international designers to show others how they can create fashion with less waste and greater durability.
Written by two industry pioneers, this book combines research and practice to offer flexible strategies, and easy-to-master zero-waste techniques that will help you develop your own cutting-edge sustainable fashion designs. Featured topics include: the criteria for zero waste fashion design; manufacturing zero waste garments; adapting existing designs for zero waste; zero waste designing with digital technologies.
Leading thinkers in sustainable design come together to create a challenging, sometimes uncomfortable, and always provocative, book for creative practitioners, professionals, students, and academics alike. This collection of essays provides the reader with a rich resource of future visions, critical propositions, creative ideas, and design strategies for working towards a sustainable tomorrow, today.
This book draws on internationally renowned dyer, costumier, and artist, India Flint’s two decades of experience and experimentation in natural dyeing techniques to present an expert, highly accessible handbook of sustainable plant dye methods using renewable resources – most of which can be found in the average home garden.
The global banking crisis has put the consumer at a crossroads: when money is tight, should we embrace cheap fast fashion to bolster our already engorged wardrobe, or should we reject this as the ultimate false economy and advocate a return to real fashion, sustained by the principles of individuality and style pedigree? Refocusing the debate squarely back on the importance of consumer rights, Siegle reveals the truth behind low-price, bulk fashion, and the importance of your purchasing decisions, advocating for a sustainable design era in which we are assured of value for money: ethically, morally, and in real terms.
Deemed the fashion industry’s version of Fast Food Nation, Overdressed sets out to uncover the true nature of the fast fashion juggernaut. What are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more importantly, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?
Stitched Up delves into the alluring world of fashion to reveal what is behind the clothes we wear. Moving between Karl Largerfeld and Karl Marx, it explores consumerism, class, and advertising to reveal the interests which benefit from exploitation. Hoskins dissects the industry’s vampiric relationship with our planet and with our bodies to uncover what makes it so damaging. She explores the use of clothing to resist. Can you shock an industry that loves to shock?
Tracing a T-Shirt’s life from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory and back to a US storefront before arriving at a used clothing market in Africa, this book uncovers the political and economic forces at work in the global economy, and illuminates the many complex issues which business people and global citizens are touched by every day.
A quest to discover where his clothes came from and who made them takes author Kelsey Timmerman on a journey from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China and back again. This book intimately describes the connection between impoverished garment workers’ standards of living and the all-American material lifestyle, ultimately bridging the gap between global producers and consumers.
The authors draw on their forty years’ experience at Patagonia, and knowledge of current efforts by other companies, to articulate the elements of responsible business for our time. This book shows companies how to thread their way through economic sea change and slow the drift toward ecological bankruptcy. Its advice is simple but powerful: reduce your environmental footprint, make legitimate products that last, reclaim deep knowledge of your business and its supply chain, and earn the trust you’ll need by treating your workers, customers, and communities with respect.
The decline of the American welfare state and its strong unions, and the rise in global and flexible production has incentivised apparel manufacturers to move production to wherever low-wage labour can be found, while maintaining arms-length contractual relations to protect them from responsibility. This has led to a massive rise in apparel imports to the United States and to a decline in employment. The puzzling exception is Los Angeles. Behind the Label examines the players in the LA apparel industry, evaluating the misdistribution of wealth and power.
From the sweatshops of Cambodia to the traditional ateliers of Vienna, from the life of a globetrotting supermodel to the warehouses of large fashion retailers, Threadbare presents the connections between the international garments trade and human trafficking and the international sex trade. This beautifully illustrated comic series paints a concerning picture of human rights in a globalized world, and offers a practical guide to a growing problem few truly understand.
This book is a collection of essays by a diverse group of contributors from all areas of the fashion industry. It not only proposes solutions to the industry’s environmental problems, but also addresses the financial outcomes of sustainable practices and offers individual business perspectives. It is an invaluable and groundbreaking resource that proves that style and sustainability can co-exist.
The “Made in” labels in our clothes do precious little to convoy the constellation of treaties, countries, and people at work in the assembly of a simple pair of jeans. Snyder reports from the far reaches of this trillion-dollar industry, pondering questions of equity, sweatshops, and corporate social responsibility through narratives of the real people who make our clothes.
Who makes your clothes? The local shoemaker, dressmaker, and milliner are long gone, and this question is no longer an easy one to answer. Clare Press explores the history and ethics behind what we wear: examining the entire fashion ecosystem, from sweatshops to haute couture, unearthing the roots of today’s buy-and-discard culture.
Threads of Labour presents new empirical research by a network of garment workers’ support organisations and makes sense of global supply chains from the bottom up, ensuring that workers’ voices reach those who are already trying to reconfigure global capitalism in more humane directions.
Through a lively range of perspectives, the authors engage their readers in a dialogue on sustainable fashion that generates new ideas on how to produce fashion with a sense of ethics, organic or renewable resources, and socially responsible manufacturing techniques. The format of the book is an anthology, divided into three sections: “Connecting with Consumers on Issues Relating to Sustainable Practices”, “Production and Economic Processes in the Global Economy”, and “The Environment, the Planet, and the Materials Used in Fashion Making”.
FILMS ABOUT ETHICAL FASHION
Alex James: Slowing Down Fast Fashion
Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price
River Blue: Can Fashion Save the Planet
The True Cost
SHOWstudio Sustainable Fashion Panel Discussion
Unravel: This is the Final Resting Place of your Cast-Off Clothing
Why We Need a Fashion Revolution
From Seed To Garment
Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt
The Shirt on Your Back
ETHICAL FASHION BLOGGERS
Sustainability in Style
One Who Dresses
The Honest Consumer
Future King and Queen
My Green Closet
The Sustainable Edit
Ethical Fashion Blog
The Curious Button
Life Style Justice
Green Looks Great
The Green Hub
ETHICAL FASHION NGOs
Founded in response to the collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory in April 2013, Fashion Revolution envisions a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity, and profit in equal measure. It is a global movement that unites people and organisations around the world to work towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced, consumed, and disposed of. With the belief that collaborating across the supply chain – from farmer to consumer – is the only way to do so, Fashion Revolution is leading the way to a world in which all our clothing is made in a safe, clean, and fair way.
Ethical Fashion Forum
The Ethical Fashion Forum is the industry body for sustainable fashion, representing over 10 000 members in more than 100 countries. It aims to develop a collaborative movement, which will transform social and environmental standards in the fashion industry within a decade. It intends to do so by supporting and promoting sustainable practices, facilitating partnerships, raising awareness, and providing the tools and resources needed to reduce poverty and environmental damage.
Poverty has a female face. There are over a billion people living in extreme poverty; most of them are women and girls. A significant portion of these women and girls work as a crucial, yet severely exploited body of the global fashion supply chain. The Circle was thus founded by Annie Lennox to inspire and connect these women by creating a space where they can come together to share experiences, harness their skills, draw on their resources, influence and bring about lasting change.
Donate at: http://www.thecircle.ngo/join-us/donate/
Labour Behind the Label
The garment industry turns over almost $3 Trillion a year. Yet garment workers, 80% of them women, work for poverty pay and are forced to endure labour and human rights abuses that systemic throughout the industry. Labour Behind the Label is a campaign that works to empower these workers and improve their conditions by raising public awareness and putting pressure on both consumers and companies to push for change and take responsibility for workers’ rights throughout the entirety of the supply chain.
Donate at: http://labourbehindthelabel.org/donate/
Clean Clothes Campaign
The Clean Clothes Campaign is dedicated to improving working conditions and supporting the empowerment of workers in the global garment and sportswear industries. They work with a global network of partners to educate and mobilise consumers, lobby companies and governments, and offer direct solidarity support to workers as they fight for their rights and demand better working conditions.
Donate at: https://cleanclothes.org/action
Environmental Justice Foundation
At the core of the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is the belief that we all depend on the natural environment for our livelihoods and well-being, and that environmental security is a basic human right. For millions of people around the world however, environmental degradation means hunger, poverty, and vulnerability. EJF works with, and for, those on the frontlines of environmental destruction to investigate, document, and expose environmental and human rights abuses to secure lasting global change in our four campaign areas: oceans, climate, pesticide, and cotton.
Donate at: https://ejfoundation.org/get-involved
Pesticide Action Network UK
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is the only UK charity focused on tackling the problems caused by pesticides and promoting safe and sustainable alternatives to pesticides in agriculture, urban areas, homes and gardens. In addition to this, PAN supports projects with partners across the globe to demonstrate the effectiveness of organic and low input production as a means of providing farmers with economically viable, and environmentally sound livelihoods.
Donate at: http://www.pan-uk.org/support-us/
War on Want
War on Want partners with grassroots social movements, trade unions, and workers’ organisations all around the world to empower people to fight for their own rights, ultimately to achieve their vision of a just world. Some of the issues they are involved in championing are: workers’ rights; economic justice and corporate accountability; justice for Palestine; land, conflict and resources; and food sovereignty.
Donate at: http://www.waronwant.org/donate
The oldest human rights organisation in the world, Anti-Slavery has over 175 years of experience in successfully combatting slavery around the world. It has been involved in the development of all major laws against slavery, including the UN 1926 and 1956 Conventions and numerous other laws that put slavery in the legal framework as it stands today. Modern slavery is a complex and ever-changing problem. Anti-Slavery works at both the structural and grassroots levels to change policy and practice, to foster behavioural change, and create new social norms to enable abused and exploited people to claim their human rights.
Donate at: https://www.antislavery.org/donate/
People Tree Foundation
The People Tree Foundation works alongside People Tree and the Fair Trade Company to bring benefits to an even greater number of farmers and artisans through scaling up training, technical support and environmental initiatives, and through raising awareness and campaigning for fair and sustainable fashion.
Founded in New Delhi in 2006, Samarpan Foundation works to provide global support and assistance of any kind where there is humanitarian, ecological, environmental, and animal welfare need. It is a community of outward-focused volunteers, guided by the principle of doing what needs to be done to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. A significant portion of the organisation focuses on providing some of Delhi’s most vulnerable women with the means to empower themselves both financially and socially. This is achieved through adult literacy classes, and stitching and embroidery skills training courses – upon graduation of which, the women are offered the chance to work in Samarpan’s fair trade manufacturing centre.
Donate at: https://samarpanfoundation.org/donate
SOKO Kenya Community Trust
SOKO was set up in 2009 to provide the fashion industry with a manufacturing unit with social and environmental issues at the heart of its business. It’s goal has always been to prove that it is possible to run a self-sustaining manufacturing business whilst paying fair wages, proving needed social services, providing a pleasant place of work, and a commitment to limit its environmental impact. SOKO’s Community Trust was set up in 2013 to provide people with the practical skills needed to see sustainable improvements in their lives and lift themselves out of poverty. Its projects include: a stitching academy; a hub for graduates of the academy to receive career development support and mentoring; and a travelling financial and health support and training programme.
Donate at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/soko