Fashion Conscience Eco Concept Store
So I've been living in London for two months now, but only recently had a chance to explore the area I'm staying in, Dulwich, this week, and was pleasantly surprised to discover Fashion Conscience, an eco-concept store filled to the brim with ethical fashion!
From vegan leather bags and Fairtrade and organic cotton clothing to unique gifts and home accessories by local artists, Fashion Conscience (whose very accurate slogan is 'Seriously Stylish, Seriously Ethical!) is definitely South London'best-kept secret! The products on offer are really varied, with something for every style, age, and budget - in fact, I walked away with two fantastic books by ethical fashion activist and People Tree Founder Safia Minney (Slow Fashion and Slave to Fashion), and have a strong eye on the beautiful handcrafted and upcycled jewellery on offer, as well as a huge selection of cruelty-free and all-natural beauty and skincare products!
The brands that Fashion Conscience stocks include:
People Tree ThoughtMonkee JeansEmily & FinChinese LaundryVivienne WestwoodNomadMadeKomodo
And so much more! Right now, there's also a huge sale on both in-store and online at up to 60% off original price! Visit the Fashion Conscience website for more info. *Side note - I am not being paid or gifted or affiliated to write this post, as cheesy as it may sound I just adore what these guys are doing!
Here is an excerpt from the shop's 'Ethical Policy' which I think is a brilliant set of values:
'FASHION-CONSCIENCE aims to stock the most fashion forward ethical designers but never to the detriment of ethical and environmental policies which form the heart of our online ethical fashion store. We love fashion, which by its nature is constantly moving, fickle and hugely wasteful. To counter this we believe in wearing items for their functional lifespan and being more discerning when making your purchases - try to only ever buy an item you truly love and will wear to death. Then recycle what's left of it. We only stock designs which have an ethical and eco dimension - be it recycled, organic cotton, non-toxic, fair trade, sustainable, vegan, hand-made, UK-made or non-exploitative. To help you determine the ethics of each item in our eco store, each products ethics are explained in their ETHICS tab/label. Many of our designers and products have official accreditation from internationally recognised bodies.We trust our designers to inform us correctly of their practices, and ethical and eco-status of the materials used. We regret that we cannot always inspect their manufacturing processes closely for ourselves. Many people have different interpretations of what is 100 per cent ethical fashion. We believe if you are making an honest genuine move in the right direction to less harmful, exploitative practices, that is better than no move at all.'
Finally, I love that the online store has a clear set of symbols to differentiate each 'category' of ethical fashion sold, to make it easier for consumers to understand. Here are the symbols below:
Made with fair trade principles in place, the manufacturers and designers endeavor to ensure that workers, from harvesting materials to manufacture, are paid fairly and not exploited in 'sweatshop' or equivalent conditions.
This denotes fabrics or processes which are sustainable. For instance some of our designers organic silk carries the SBV mark (Sustainable Biodegradable Product) as it is 100% biodegradable and is finished in accordance with Skal criteria, or elements may be sourced from sustainable FSC managed forests.
Companies who are actively reducing carbon emissions in their manufacturing process, limiting the carbon footprint of their product through it's carbon travel miles or offsetting their carbon emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects, credits or tree planting.
Companies who are investing in the development of local communities where the product is manufactured. This could be by assisting in education, building of infrastructure, demanding adequate health and safety standards, as well as paying fair prices.
The use of natural, vegetable or Azo-free dyes and processes in the manufacture, or natural adhesives.
For items made from organic materials; which are free from non-natural pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fertilisers.
An item which is 100% or partially made from recycled or vintage materials.
Quite simply, made in the UK thus reducing carbon miles within the manufacturing process and supporting UK workers and factories who operate under European health, safety, minimum wage and employment laws.
Supports, rather than exploits and harms wildlife, and conservation projects.
I think that one of the main problems with ethical fashion, other than cost and availability, is the outdated stereotype that ethical brands only cater to hippy styles. The perception that caring about the environment is only for hemp-wearing, weed-smoking, incense-burning Buddhists is totally incorrect, as proven by brands like this one. For ethical fashion to succeed, good design has to be of paramount importance; after all, people only buy clothes that they like the look of, not just the values. What do you think?