Hi, what is you take on ethical fashion?xx
I have a lot of thoughts about this, so bear with me.
Firstly, I believe that where it’s possible, we should make ethical choices. However, this comes with a lot of exclusions and exceptions, not because we should make unethical choices, but because many people cannot help but make unethical choices.
Unethical fashion is a product of a capitalist society, and similarly, the people who are able to afford ethical choices - paying $70 for a T-shirt - are also beneficiaries of this capitalist system. It’s not that they’re divesting themselves of the luxuries that allow them to live comfortably, it’s just that they can afford to spend more. I’m glad that it’s not exploitative or wasteful - but it’s really only possible if you have that kind of disposable income, and if you do, it means you’re benefiting from the system anyway. And it’s important to recognise that you’re one of the very few who can do that and not preach it to the many who cannot and who should not be made to feel guilty for not being able to afford the luxuries that you can.
Poor people are stuck in a cycle of being poor without any outlet really - not everyone can afford Reformation. They have to buy cheaper clothes, and cheaper clothes fall apart more quickly, so they have to buy more clothes… and so the cycle keeps going. This cannot be changed by a few individuals. The entire system needs to be dismantled - a system that keeps poor people always stuck in this cycle. People who cannot afford stores like Reformation - the poor and middle-class - should not be demonised or condescended to simply because they cannot afford the choices that rich people can afford and make a show of.
Finally, poor people have the right to dress well and look as good as they want. They should have the choice. There is already so little choice for people who can’t afford ethical fashion. It’s unfair to expect them to pay for clothes they can’t afford and limit the choices further. (There’s also the bit where clothes with “ethical fashion” are usually from small boutiques, frequently online but in any case not easy to come across - and this renders them very inaccessible, especially once shipping prices etc are applied.)
Basically, it’s great to make ethical choices if you can afford to do that, but be aware that an individual cannot make a huge ethical revolution occur without dismantling the entire system - these changes can’t happen overnight. It’s simplistic to pretend they can, and while it’s important to make sure that factory workers aren’t relentlessly exploited, it cannot be done by taking down H&M. The problem is much bigger than one store. Instead, laws must be put in place, and there needs to be a solution where people are not taken advantage of on either side of fashion consumption - the labour and the consumer. Furthermore, people who can’t afford ethical clothing should not be preached and condescended to. Ethical fashion correlates directly with your personal privilege.