#AskHJJ: Being 100% Ethical?

#AskHJJ

I’m very excited to introduce my new ethical series, #AskHJJ! Readers can submit their questions to me via email, Facebook, or Instagram. Once a month on my social media, I’ll put out a post where you can ask me questions of ethical things you’re curious about, or simply use the #AskHJJ.

I began talking about ethical fashion on here as a way of educating my friends (plus you), so it only felt appropriate the first questions come from them!

HJJ_ASKHJJ_A1

Short answer? No…not yet.
But let me rewind a bit.

In my Beginner’s Guide to Ethical Fashion I said that ethical fashion isn’t an all or nothing deal, it’s a growing process, a movement. I still mean this.

I respect all and any company that practises their business in an ethical way. But it’s incredibly difficult to achieve COMPLETE ethical, socially-compromising free practice.

For example:
Ethical fashion can be broken down into two main categories. I’ve given you the short list before in the ethical guide, and the definitions guide. But since this is an #AskHJJ post, I’ll give a more extensive list for argument sake.

  • Social Causes
    – Paying fair living wage to workers
    – Paying fair wages for overtime hours
    – Hygienic, safe working conditions for workers
    – Workers given training if working with dangerous machinery
    – No child labour
    – Thorough background checks to prevent fraud of child labour
    – No forced labour
    – Unbiased hiring practices (no imitation, threats against physical or sexual harm, blackmail, discrimination towards age/race/gender/orientation, etc)
    – No excessive work hours, including limited overtime
    – Access to medical care in case of work injuries
    – Company fights for workers’ rights
    – Forbidden use of outsourcing labour to sweatshops
    – Access to working water sprinklers, fire extinguishes, fire exits
  • Environmental Causes
    – Fabric/materials used are organic, sustainable
    – Fabric/materials used are sourced ethically
    – Fabric/materials are cruelty-free
    – Product is made to last, surpass fast-fashion cycle and retain high quality
    – Dyes used on graphic prints or fabric colouring are eco-friendly
    – Dyes used were used without harvesting from insects
    – Company minimizes carbon foot print
    – Company decreases water consumption
    – Company decreases electricity consumption
    – Company uses alternative energy source such as wind power, solar power
    – Uses no harmful chemicals when treating, cleaning, finishing product
    – Thread used is ethically sourced and made of sustainable material
    – Metals used in hardware (such as eyelets, zippers, etc) were ethically sourced

Hypothetically speaking, if a company could establish all of the above, that’s AMAZING! But are they 100% ethical?

Not quite yet. At least, not without the help of other industries.
If you take a step further back, being ethical is not limited to fashion. It’s a lifestyle, it’s in everything: from the food you eat, the desk you draw on, the way you commute.

If an ethical company uses a computer to maintain their online shop, if customer service uses smart phones to answer customer calls, if a clothing company uses tablets to answer customer emails, their technological devices was probably not ethically made.

The food you eat isn’t completely ethical either. If you’re cruelty-free or vegan, you may avoid meats altogether. But the fruits, vegetables and even fish you’re consuming, may not have been harvested ethically.

Conclusion

It’s easy to be discouraged. It’s easy to read about how in every corner of many industries, marginalized people are openly being taken advantage of…It’s no industry secret.

Being curious and asking questions is so important. Question where something is made from, how is it being, who is making it, and how does this effect everything on Earth and everyone on Earth. Combining your arsenal of knowledge, productive curiosity, and a power of empathy, will make you powerful yourself. It starts with maybe one person in a small town, one indie company in a big industry, to start a change, but as a society we have the power to make a big change.

Additional links:

Links à la Mode #10, December 17

SPONSOR: Amazon’s Shopbop findersKEEPERS, 3×1 Jeans, Vince Sweaters, Stone Fox Swim, SALINAS, OYE Swimwear, Black and White Blouses, Statement Jewelry, Evening Gowns, Men’s Belber

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5 thoughts on “#AskHJJ: Being 100% Ethical?

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