This post is a part of a series, you can find the next part here.
Can fast fashion be ethical? Ever?
I have a constant battle with myself over my desire to shop ethically and yet still stick to a pretty tight budget. I am a bargain hunter at heart and nothing makes me smile more than a fantastic and stylish steal. But how ethical are my bargains and at what cost to others do I get that rush of the bargain?
Charity shop shopping or second-hand shopping is often cited as a good option for those who wish to shop ethically on a budget. Whilst it might not be the most PC position to take I feel I should admit, I personally find charity shop shopping a little dull – I like to shop for the thrill of the “find”, more probably than the “chase”. So unless I find something within the first half an hour of a shopping trip, I usually give up and go home. That presents a bit of a problem when shopping in charity shops as it takes time and patience to find the prize piece. Indeed, there is one piece in my wardrobe that was a charity shop find that I wear nearly every day to work – an old Marks and Spencer blazer. But this was found by my mother who, I admit, has a lot more patience than me. Maybe I have been brought up in an age of instant gratification which doesn’t allow me the patience needed to trawl the rails of my local charity shops. But it doesn’t stop me reading blogs, like Jazzabelle’s Diary, and coveting their rather fabulous charity shop finds.
For those of us who, instead, shop the high street, the lure of fast fashion is all often too great to resist. I know that fast fashion is a vicious circle of, often/sometimes, poorly constructed clothes that loose their shape/bobble quickly and encourage one to go out and buy another. I have tried over the years to tame my love of the very cheap fast fashion that I favoured as a student and to add higher end, or better quality “fast” fashion to my wardrobe that will last longer. My style tends towards more classic pieces, so I know that for the most part, they will last from season to season in terms of trend, however what is often less sure, is that the quality will not allow them to last quite so well.
In spite of this, however, while I respect those who take the decision to “go ethical”, I’m not sure that I could ever completely give up my addiction to the thrill of the bargain hunt. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to make ethical decisions regarding my shopping habit when I can.
“Every little helps” – as the slogan goes, and so it does. I hope.
One ethical brand that has really captured my attention recently is Made. I had been aware of the brand for a while but only recently really got to know them better when I won a recent Twitter competition to win this ring.
The Made website tells the story and ethos behind the brand:
“All made products are designed by influential designers, then sourced and created within disadvantaged communities across East Africa.
Following the principles of fair trade we train local artisans in new skills, providing fair wages and support at every level. Via this ‘trade not aid’ ethos we believe we can help break the cycle of poverty and empower the people who create our products.”
These are my top picks from the Made online shop:
Do you strive to shop ethically? Are you a fast fashion addict like myself with a guilty conscious each time you are seduced into buy another cheap top? Are you proud of your bargain hunting ways? How do you try to resolve this dilemma? How do you suggest I try to resolve the dilemma?
This post will undoubtedly be expounded upon over time but for now, these are the most coherent of my thoughts.