What does it mean to be "ethical" in fashion?
In 2016 I moderated a panel on responsible fashion in Edinburgh at the National Museum of Scotland, as part of the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival (EIFF). Inspired by a question we received (Carry Somers, Anna Telcs, and Lynn Wilson and myself) from the audience, I created and circulated this poll through Social Alterations.
Of course, a lot has changed since 2020, but the question still stands: What are you wearing?
I love this question because it really drives home the mess of responsible fashion work and activism.* Is there some perfect outfit to wear that will absolve us of the issues at work in the global fashion and apparel industry? Well, I say no. For me (today, at least) it’s less about individual consumption and more about education, regulations and the rule of law.** But for other advocates and activists, it is all about consumption patterns. And for others still it’s a little of both of these positions, or something completely different. And this got me thinking…time for a poll!
So I'm pulling out this survey from the 2016 Social Alterations archives to ask you again in 2020: What do you think it means to be "ethical" in fashion?
What are you wearing? You can select more than one option from the non-exhaustive list below! And please share this poll widely. I will review the findings and share the results with you in a blog post.
Original post here:
*I'm currently wearing black M&S trousers, Winter Blundstones, a white second-hand blouse and a black (velvet!) blazer I scored at a clothing swap decades ago.
**You see I say this now, but every time I go clothes shopping I end up overanalysing absolutely everything until I’ve talked myself out of buying anything at all. Hence the mess that is responsible fashion research and activism…we all still have to get dressed! My answer to the question on the day of was boots (Clarks) and trousers (Gap) from the high street, a shirt that was given to me from a friend (I don’t know the brand name), and a second-hand jacket (brand name Aritzia).
Do you consider yourself a responsible fashion advocate or activist?
What are you wearing? (You can select more than one option)
Clothing from a clothes swap
Clothing that was a gift
Clothing that has been mended to last longer
Clothing you borrowed
Clothing you've had for ages and ages
High street clothing (clothing bought in town centers/conventional shopping malls)
Union made clothing
Your thoughts: What do you think it means to be ethical in fashion?
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