Fashioning An Ethical Fashion Industry
London is such an ethical fashion centre now, with every main street store trying to be more organic and ecologically pure than the next. As evidenced by this week's series of programmes on "Is Green the New Black?", the ethical fashion industry is making great strides in developing public awareness of fashion that is responsibly made. A number of organisations have sprung up to provide support and networking opportunities for producers. Others want to put pressure on businesses to provide good working conditions. The Ethical Fashion Forum gives training and information to businesses and individuals interested in the social and environmental aspects of the fashion business. Labour Behind the Label is a campaign fighting for better working conditions for garment workers and encouraging consumers to ask for clothes which are responsibly made. One of its aims is to encourage retailers to guarantee that all clothes sold in their shops are produced under fair conditions, including the right to a living wage, the right to organise, and safe and healthy working conditions. Fashioning an Ethical Industry is an educational project aimed at fashion college students and tutors. Its admirable goal is to equip students to play an active role in raising standards in the companies they will be working for. They hope to make the teaching of social responsibility issues a key part of all fashion-related education courses. Their very accessible and interesting website provides a global overview of the garment industry, raises awareness of current practices and and explains all the hot issues. The fact is that consumers have power: the more that we demand that the clothes we buy are made under decent conditions the more likely it is that retailers will respond. The more people ask questions the more retailers will feel that they need to pay attention to the issues. For example: refuse to buy Uzbekistan cotton, pick your cotton carefully.