Green shoots of recovery

April 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm 3 comments

Good to see the Observer addressing an issue that has been troubling me for a long time – that you only ever seem to hear about women’s clothes receiving the ethical treatment.

I’m glad that the article has highlighted the stirling work of a couple of retailers I have tried to champion – namely Adili and Howies – but in my view there’s still an elephant in the room that nobody likes to talk about, and that’s money.

Now, I appreciate that buying ethically-produced clothes has to, and indeed should, have us reaching a little deeper in our pockets to fund living wages and reduce the environmental impact of the fabrics used in our garments. But ethical clothes for both men and women often strike me as being overly expensive – as if some producers have realise the recent pricking of our collective conscience has simply signalled an opportunity to make a fast buck.

I, for one, would love to see some ethical clothes in the shops that showed true value for money – I reckon it’s only when this happens that we’ll see people buying into ethical clothes in any meaningful or sustained way.

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A look that suits Hip to be square

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Shauna from Quail  |  April 7, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Good post. As an owner of an eco and ethical fashion label (for both men and women) I now primarily produce fashion to sell to wholesale buyers who operate shops. Prices are pretty much dictated by the shops because they need a huge markups to cover their rent, employees, electricity, taxes etc.

    Before selling getting into wholesale, I was an online retailer and had very competitive prices but was forced down the wholesale road by the recession and competing with the vicious cycle of mass produced fashion.

    Ethical brands are not making a fast buck.

  • 2. Richard  |  April 8, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Great to hear from someone on the front line. I think the message is that we’d all be better off if everyone was paying fair prices for their clothes. Good ethical brands would hopefully then achieve the goal of being more competitive in comparison to mainstream clothing, and so be able to avoid having to sell through retailers whose overheads bump prices up.

    Even if brands still needed to sell to wholesale, the existence of a fairer pricing climate should force retailers not to mark their products up excessively.

  • 3. Shauna Chapman  |  April 14, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Right on.

    At the end of the day it takes fabric + buttons/zips + labour to produce a garment. If a guy is tempted by a £9 pair of jeans it’s pretty much impossible to produce something that cheap not to mention probably the most naff pair of jeans on the planet!!!

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