In the wake of the Bangladesh clothing factory collapse which killed over 1000 people, this event couldn’t have been more perfectly timed (even though it had been planned way before anyone knew the tragedy was imminent). It was refreshing to be in an environment where people were eager to learn more about where and how their clothes are produced. Its definitely been a learning process for me over a number of years and there is still a lot more for me to discover, due to my goal of one day having my own ethical fashion business. I think that for most people there is a simple desire to wear stylish clothes at an affordable price that have been produced without exploitation or serious harm to the environment. However I’m not sure if most people are aware that this is often not the case and even when there are no major disasters like Bangladesh in the news, the general clothing manufacturing process for a lot of mainstream retailers, not just Primark, are pretty shoddy. Anyways I’m no expert so my aim on here is not to name and shame. Rather, i’d like to celebrate the brands that are producing beautiful clothes and putting social responsibility at the heart of their ethos. The Ethical Fashion Show held at St Pauls, Hammersmith, enabled me to do that and I saw some of my favourite brands showcased plus a panel discussion with some industry veterans. The event also raised funds for a social enterprise in Kenya, Rehema, and my highlight of the night was buying one of their stunning printed dresses which I will show in another post!
Panel discussion with Tamsin LeJeune (Managing Director of the Ethical Fashion Forum), Mark Bloom (founder of ethical brand Komodo), Caroline Nodder (Editor in chief of Drapers magazine), Liz Parker (Campaigner from Label Behind the Label), Maggie Jones (shadow minister for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport) and Sandy Black ( professor at University of the Arts London).
Bold Rehema printed bags and Kimono
It was an inspirational and fun night and am sure people left with the knowledge that its not that hard to be find ethical and stylish clothing. We just all need to spread the word about the amazing brands that are out there and put pressure on the mainstream companies that have been taking the piss for far too long. A significant step has been made this week with several major retailers signing the Bangladesh Fire and safety Accord but theres still a lot to be done. I remain optimistic and hope to see a continued transformation of the industry.