From farm to factory to your closet: how to help fight child labour in the fashion industry.
We are calling for transparency across the fashion Industry
The act of buying clothes used to be an infrequent event, something you did for a special occasion, or when the seasons changed. Clothing was intentional, durable and made to last. Then, in the late 20th century, things began to change. Trends sped up, clothing became cheaper to make, and people began making more frequent purchases.
Enter fast fashion, cheap and trendy clothing inspired by celebrities and the runway. It required a cheaper workforce to keep up with the demand, leading to lower labour standards and problems like child labour in production. Children are employed because they are easier to exploit, and their hands are smaller for finer work. More inexpensive clothing options meant more clothing produced, thus more waste.
An awesome West Coast company, Silver and Gold clothing sources their stock only in B.C. or a women-run, ethical facility in Cambodia (check it here). Their clothing is natural and organic, which means you can feel good about the environment too!
This Toronto-based company works with family-run farms in Egypt to safeguard fair pay and safe working conditions. A portion of their profits is donated to build primary schools in farming communities focused on girls’ education with a 2:1 female/male ratio.
Outdoorsy? Just want to be cabin-chic? MEC is an excellent place to start. They have set goals around accountability, product manufacturing, Fair Trade and environmental impact. They expect their factories to meet criteria around these goals.
The focus of Girlfriend Collective/Reformation centres around a commitment to a smaller environmental impact and fair treatment of workers. Looking at factors such as quality, price, speed, reduced environmental impact and working conditions, this company strives for a system built on sustainability, accountability and transparency.
Based primarily online, thredUP re-circulates second-hand clothing, either in their central store locations, online, or in pop-up shops. thredUP’s goal is to publicize the holistic social and environmental impact of second-hand fashion to achieve sustainability within this industry.
Tonlé uses scrap fabric waste from mass manufacturers to create handmade clothing and accessories with Cambodian workers. Through this supportive setting, Tonlé seeks to address both social and environmental issues.
Christy Dawn pieces are all manufactured by local artisans in Downtown Los Angeles using leftover fabric in order to minimize environmental impact. Further, instead of creating thousands of garments at a time, Christy Dawn sews together a limited number of pieces in order to put the environment first and prioritize quality and vintage craftsmanship.
In response to the collapse of the Bangladesh factory in 2013, PACT Organic Apparel, based in the U.S., works to facilitate a socially sustainable option for clothing production within the confines of Fair Trade, while also respecting environmental resources through ways of not using harmful dyes and pesticides. PACT also works with farmers to grow organic cotton!
tentree helps you become a more ethical consumer, paying close attention to environmental stewardship and responsibility. tentree inspires people to look at not just what goes in one’s body, but also what is worn on one’s body!
Always research companies, but you can also keep your eye out for sustainability labels like Fairtrade, B Corp, Canada Trade Organic Association and Ecocert. Certifications such as these require companies to stick to specific ethical standards to keep their accreditations.
When you’re shopping, ask yourself...
Where is this from?
Who made it?
Under what conditions?
Does it seem this company has a handle on these issues?
In today’s world, fast fashion has taken over as trends come and go quickly. Here are a few ways to keep up your style and your ethics!
a. Use your Twitter to take action
Hi @_______, I recently learned that child labour can occur within supply chains and I want to be a more #ConsciousConsumer. To help me, can you share what you are doing to ensure your clothing and accessories are child labour-free? #NoChildForSale
b. Send an email to your favourite brand