Fashion

ETHICS VS AESTHETICS

Thursday, 30th April 2015by culture HQ
Do you know where your favourite item of clothing was made, and would you still love it as much if you knew it were crafted by an underage worker in a sweatshop who earns virtually nothing for their labour?

IF YOU ANSWERED NO TO THESE QUESTIONS, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. LAST FRIDAY (APRIL 24, 2015) SAW FASHION REVOLUTION DAY TAKE OVER, WITH THE EVENT HELD TO COMMEMORATE THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE RANA PLAZA DISASTER IN DHAKA, BANGLADESH WHERE 1133 PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND OVER 2500 INJURED. IT WAS ONE OF THE MANY ACCIDENTS THAT PLAGUE THE FASHION INDUSTRY, AND A CATALYST FOR INDUSTRY-WIDE CHANGE. BY KATHRYN DI CARLO.

Fashion Revolution is a global combined action where instead of reveling in how aesthetically appealing your clothes are, you’re thinking about where it was made, by who and under what conditions. It’s a day that calls for transparency within the fashion supply chain – from farmers to factory workers, brands to buyers and consumers. The event is gaining momentum, with 71 countries participating in 2015. Fashion Revolution Day will shine a light on the most vulnerable in the supply chain and catapult them into the public eye whilst showing that change is possible and to ensure that a tragedy like what happened in Bangladesh doesn’t happen again.

The social media campaign following the event has fashion lovers taking a selfie with the label of their clothes showing and asking brands one simple question… #whomademyclothes?

We went along to Brisbane’s event, held in Fortitude Valley’s Lightspace, where ethical fashion brands gathered together to show their commitment to delivering ethically made garments.

NICO underwear was the first Australian label to achieve Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) accreditation. NICO’s creative director, Lis Harvey, said when she started setting up supply chains for the label a few things within the industry questioned her personal ethics and how she felt comfortable doing business.

“There is a lot of passing of things on to different people, which is fine as long as everyone is transparent,” Lis says, of the current state of the fashion industry. “What really scared me is that nobody wanted to talk about it, there was a lot of going along with it because that’s the way the industry works.

“We’re here today because the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse, and events like that are awful. In no way would I ever be okay with being associated with that kind of manufacturing.”

Founder of The Goodnight Society, Kathryn Tyrrell, says the manufacturing process of the brand is WRAP certified. Some sampling for the brand is done in a factory in Australia, with most made in a sweatshop free factory in China.

“I do sleepwear which is all about helping people to have a good night sleep and I just thought what’s the point of producing something when you know someone at the other end of the supply chain isn’t getting a good night sleep,” says Kathryn.

“They’re hardly making a dollar for an item of clothing that they make and I just thought, for me, it’s just not right – I don’t think that’s good business.”

Sustainability goes hand in hand with ethical clothing.

Creative Director for The Great Beyond, Nicholas Azar, hopes that everything is going to be more sustainable in the future.

“We need to be moving into a world where we think about everything we’re doing in terms of not just our little bubble, but as big as possible,” he explains, of this worthwhile cause. “We need to expand the bubble as big as possible and ultimately we’ll come to realise we’re altogether on earth and we need to look after it.

“The future of sustainable fashion is just going to be fashion and everyone is going to participate in sustainability to their greatest ability.”

The Great Beyond Brand Manager, Aicha Robertson, says change is coming. “Ethically made clothing pushes bigger brands into the idea that if you have one aspect that’s ethical you could change the world and help even, not just the clothing and the earth but also the people who create the clothes as well.”

CLICK HERE to see how you can get involved.

PS. As you may well know, culture Mag is the industry’s only green magazine. Just as we’re 100% Hairdresser, we’re also 100% committed to our role as passionate advocate for an eco-friendly and ethically sound industry… and our online space is no different. Keep checking back each week as we profile more of these incredible designers building toward a brighter future for all. 


Thursday, 30th April 2015by culture HQ