This post is by Kasi Martin, founder of The Peahen, a blog that seeks to uncover and expose ways to make ethical standards in fashion mainstream.
I’ve been keeping tabs on ethical fashion designers lately, attempting to build a dense bookmark folder with labels to cover.
When I was hunting online for ethical talent, I noticed distinct aesthetic looks that have evolved by region. In the traditional fashion realm you can count on the Americans to sport mesh, without the sport; the Brits to rock a brand of Chuck Taylor, sartorial grunge; and the Italians to prudently tailor their looks to the nth degree. This trend of design by region is also taking shape in ethical fashion.
Style by region, country, city – heck, even block – is nothing new. So why does this matter? Because ethical fashion is in its formative years there’s more potential to impact the industry, and potentially end our our grip on poorly regulated supply chains and mass manufacturing.
At this point, I’ve done a good amount of ethical shopping to see that Australia, Scandinavia, Berlin and London are turning out the most ethical talent. Broadly speaking, the concentration of ethical design is coming from either progressive governments or competitive business environments that incentivize sustainable and ethical practices. It’s worth examining why, and taking note.
Here are the countries that are doing it right and what can be learned:
What Australia and New Zealand Do Well
Branding and selling the ethical lifestyle.
Chances are, if you happen upon a random ethical brand online there’s an AU in your html bar. That’s because for Aussies, ethical is part of an enviable lifestyle – not just reserved for the mountain climbing, granola set as in the U.S. Aussies have even created an established measuring system to see if brands meet their high standards. Check out Good on You to audit brands in your wardrobe.
Similarly, New Zealanders are closer to the source of inexpensive fashion labor, and likely feel the negative repercussions of their actions in the supply chain process much more. Take the brand KowTow, for example; they partner directly with workers in Kolkata to ensure fair labor benefits.
Find out the three other countries and their ethical fashion labels at The Peahen.