All You Need to Know About the Ethical Designer Fashion Movement

The media are continually reporting on the state of ‘fast fashion’ but designer brands also come under pressure to invest in sustainable methods of production as consumers become more and more aware of their footprint on the planet. While designer brands aren’t manufacturing mass volumes in such a speedy state, there is always a reason to look at ways to design, source and manufacture clothes in a way that benefits both people and communities whilst reducing the impact on the environment.

What is Ethical Fashion?

According to the Ethical Fashion Forum, the ways to produce ethical fashion falls into three categories. These are commercial, environment and social and an intention to specifically tackle the following issues:

  • Countering fast, cheap fashion and damaging patterns of fashion consumption
  • Defending fair wages, working conditions and workers’ rights, and supporting sustainable livelihoods
  • Addressing toxic pesticide and chemical use, using and/or developing eco- friendly fabrics and components
  • Minimising water use
  • Recycling and addressing energy efficiency and waste
  • Developing or promoting sustainability standards for fashion
  • Providing resources, training and/or awareness raising initiatives
  • Protecting animal rights

Best Ethical Fashion Brands

Stella McCartney

Ethical fashion is higher than ever on the agenda for luxury brands. Stella McCartney is credited with spearheading the movement, with her AW17 campaign which she described as a way to ‘to portray who we want to be and how we carry ourselves; our attitude and collective path. Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet which is why there is waste.’

A committed vegetarian, Stella never uses fur or leather in her designs which makes her a leader in sustainable fashion. As a spokesperson for PETA, Stella has also said  ‘we address… ethical or ecological… questions in every other part of our lives except fashion. Mind-sets are changing, though, which is encouraging.’

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood has built her whole brand around a theme of rebellion and her current rebellion comes in denouncing fast fashion and joining forces with the Ethical Fashion Initiative. One of her slogans, as part of the ongoing campaign is,  ‘This is not charity, this is work’ – blending the idea of social work and fashion into a t-shirt.

Christopher Raeburn

Not a typical mainstream designer fashion brand, Christopher Raeburn have earned their designer stripes through innovative signature which is based on the waste created by the fashion industry.  They offer bespoke products, which is essentially what luxury designer fashion is.

These ethical fashion brands offer just a few promising examples of an emerging harmony that is developing between social-problem solving and design thinking and social-problem solving. This is here to stay, it is not a trend. If you are a designer fashion brand it’s imperative that you address your ethical policies and corporate social responsibilities. Consumers are now demanding more and more transparency and are increasingly aware of the negatives of mass-produced clothes. Get in touch with Think Positive for more information and learn how to enable your customers to make responsible choices.


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