Ethical fashion for workers’ rights and a sustainable future - by Daria Beswick

Thursday, 09 Dec 2021

Fast fashion is the underbelly of fashion in the developed world. People can’t afford to buy what they see on the catwalk and in the top designer brands, so they're catered to by companies who are prepared to cut corners for the average consumer. They keep this ‘fast’ fashion cheap by looking the other way when it comes to the people who are actually doing the work. Often these workers get paid low wages and work long hours in places that would horrify us. Another downside of fast fashion is that these manufacturers are some of the biggest polluters in the world. Only after the oil and gas industries. 

The bottom line is that when we become aware of the possibility that our fashion bargains come at a huge and unreasonable cost to other human beings, and the planet we all live on, we need to own our purchasing power. Something ethically and well made out of quality material comes at a cost, and then there’s the need to pay a liveable wage to our fellow humans. If we believe that everyone should be treated with dignity then we shouldn't buy new cheap fashion items, otherwise our actions will not match our beliefs, showing others it is okay to support fast fashion.

Ways we can shop ethically include researching the items that we are looking to buy. Ethical companies are very happy to supply this information. Also, answering any questions that you might have. If you can’t find answers, that should be a red flag. Op shopping or purchasing second hand items is another great way to value the work that has been put into an item. This also helps to protect the environment.

Through our Modern Slavery Working Group, the Human Rights group at BDC aims to address the importance of workers’ rights and raise awareness for the exploitation of children in labour around the world.

It’s hard to be perfect in this area, and we can only act on what we know, but once we understand the implications of our decisions it is up to us to do the best that we can in our own situations. You can’t say you are against cruel working conditions while you are then happy to bag a bargain at the local store that seems too good to be true… because it probably is!

Daria Beswick 

Year 8 student, BDC