Ethical fashion.

May 16, 2010 § 3 Comments

Buying clothes & accessories has never been something i’ve subjected to scrutiny, until recently. With the whole transition to veganism (which I haven’t fully conquered yet – it’s still too hard when eating out!) I started to think about the entire philosophy, that includes not WEARING animal products such as fur or leather. Eeeek! Many an ex-critter sit in bag or shoe form in my closet, and I still find it hard to think about all these tiny details when shopping (expensive handbags are fawned over for their beautiful, supple suede until I’ve realised what i’ve just said…ooooops!).

This post isn’t so much about veganism however, but more a general call for us to ask questions about what we wear, as well as what we eat.

I was interested in investigating brands that I purchase often to get some idea of where they source their materials, who manufactures the garments & if they’re Australian owned.

Even this simple information was hard for me to find, and it became clear yet again how relatively ‘behind’ Australia is in terms of alternative options for mindful folk such as organic garments, sustainable cotton plantations & companies that offer fair workers’ wages.  

I finally found an Australian website called Ethical Clothing Australia that details how the fashion industry even in this country has been known to compromise workers rights. Many garments are made by people who work from home and even though this may sound appealing, apparently they are faced with insane deadlines, meagre incomes & emotional abuse by employers. It’s spoken about in detail on the website and in this article, but the great thing is that they give you a list of ‘accredited’ brands that have boycotted unethical production practices – pleased to see that Cue, Lisa Ho & Jets make the cut, however it’s pretty limited & we’re still faced with a gap when trying to find clothing options that are soundly-made from A to Z and don’t resemble a hessian sack (although I have personally found this to be a flattering style – esp. over face!)

Ummmmm, yes please! Anyone? Anyone?

Then I thought about which brands feature heavily in my wardrobe, and I’m sad to admit that my conservative, boring & pseudo-mature persona has tended towards Country Road, errr Country Road, and some more Country Road. I am a walking CR clothing catalogue. Ok, granted I did get a huge voucher for them for x-mas, so I’m a little justified in my reliance on the brand. Other common ones are Marcs, Saba, some sports brands like Adidas & Puma, Cue, Sass & Bide etc.

This doesn’t bode so well for the ethical cause – no second-hand items or sustainable cotton – just a massive bunch of labels. What a whore!

So. Country Road. Here’s their website & most of this info is on there.

Basically they market themselves as an Australian label, but are in fact owned by Woolworths inc which is South African. Rotten liars I tells ya! So unfortunately they aren’t Aussie made & owned. However, I did find some pretty compelling info about the changes they are making to be more ethical & conscientious. I’m sure this was cleverly crafted by their PR minions to sound all proactive & wonderful, but at least they have a ‘Code of Labour Practice’ that they make suppliers sign, as well as independent audits and whatnot.

I was suprised because I’d heard bad things about Country Road & their practices, so i’m still a little wary of how much faith to have in their website & obvious self-promotion.

I was impressed by their anti-mulesing stance (cutting off the sheeps tails) which is talked about here, but this then means that they effectively boycott a large portion of the Australian wool industry.

There are so many considerations when it comes to thinking about fashion. Food, I’m more confident in my choices, however clothing seems to be a whole different kettle of fish (who puts fish in a kettle?).

I want to keep researching, but this is a bit of a starting point and I hope you aren’t becoming overwhelmed by all this eco-talk! I truly believe it’s important, and that’s why I’m going on and on and on about it…..zzzzzzz……

Anyhoo! Back to delicious culinary treats soon! xx


§ 3 Responses to Ethical fashion.

  • Jenbob says:

    Good article PayneTrain, you Country Road whore! Definitely need to cut the bad materials from my wardrobe, too many leather shoes! But PS the process of shortening the lambs tails is called docking…they don’t cut the tails, they put a rubber ring around the tail that cuts off the blood supply to that area and causes the tail to drop off after a few days. Mulesing actually involves cutting skin off, different process.


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