Guest post by Kestrel Jenkins of Make Fashion Fair
We hear it every day now, in the midst of the harsh economic times: “Buy this affordable garment! It’s cheap, so you don’t have to feel bad when you put it in your shopping bag! It’s inexpensive! Don’t worry, because it’s GUILT-FREE FASHION!”
People Tree's fair trade pioneering style
I guess the frustration I have with this marketing strategy for fast fashion relates to what the meaning of guilt actually is. Who defines what “guilt-free” should be, and why does guilt have to correspond with dollars and cents? What about moral or ethical guilt? Which should outweigh the other when fashion is involved?
Should the producer be considered in the guilt-free shopping formula, or is it solely the consumer’s wellbeing and financial conscience that matter?
The Andean Collection's artisans and fair trade designs
As author of Sustainable Fashion and Textiles Kate Fletcher puts it, “Fast isn’t free – someone, somewhere is paying.” And most likely, in these situations, the environment is paying its damaging fees as well. It seems that a fundamental disconnect has developed between the producers of beautiful garments, and our awareness as consumers.
October is FAIR TRADE MONTH, a time to celebrate our fabulous farmers and growers and producers, whether they are cultivating, sewing, weaving, or crafting somewhere around the world, or in our own necks of the woods.
For me, Fair Trade and ethical fashion are ways to reduce the “guilty” impact of my garment purchases. In honor of FAIR TRADE MONTH, let's remember the impact Fair Trade and Ethical Business can have on fellow friends and eclectic environments around the globe, and utilize our purchasing power as consumers to redefine “guilt-free fashion”.
Kuyichi organic denim and fair trade fashions
If you are interested in learning more about FAIR TRADE and/or ETHICAL FASHION and their meanings, check out Global Action Through Fashion's Research Guide, which also outlines a listing of ethical brands and designers available in today's market.
Want to style yourself ethically? Get inspiration from MAKE FASHION FAIR