Starting your ethical shopping journey

Popular fast-fashion companies often come under fire for the conditions they provide their workers.

By Blessen Tom

Many videos went viral on TikTok about Chinese fast-fashion giant, Shein, early this year. They unveiled hidden messages from garment workers asking for help.

The brand denied the claims, blaming it on translation issues. But Shein doesn’t have the best record when it comes to taking care of staff in contracted facilities.

Past investigations have exposed poor working conditions, but no consequences for the brand. Yet consumers still love Shein, making it a giant in the fast-fashion world.

But do we have another option? The answer is ethical fashion – making clothes that impact people, animals, and the planet in a positive way, such as ensuring a safe environment for workers across the supply chain, using resources and energy efficiently and trying to avoid animal products.

Choosing ethical brands can make a difference, forcing brands to think twice about what they’re making and how they’re making their products.

Here are some tips to help you on your ethical journey:

  1. Look for certifications such as Fairtrade or Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) cotton.
  2. Check out the Tear Fund Ethical Fashion Guide or fair & good’s website. They’ve got great guides to help you shop.
  3. Buy fewer but better-quality items that are ethically made, clothes that you will keep rather than quickly throw away.
  4. Learn to sew.
  5. Reuse items and go thrifting – second -hand shopping.

New legislation tackling modern slavery is in the making here in Aotearoa, which will help businesses understand their supply chains, and know how their products are made and under what conditions.

The people who make our clothes deserve to be paid fairly, have safe working conditions and have their environment protected as much as we do.


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