The ethics of clothing are a complex concept, and when assessing ethical clothing, many different things need to be taken into account. The ethical clothing industry is, inter alia:
- Transparent action
- Free from child labour or forced labour
- Respect for workers' opinions and interests
- Taking into account the conditions of manufacture of workers
- The proper remuneration for the work done
- Taking care of the health and safety of the workplace
- Compliance with regular working hours
However, ethical fashion is also largely based on the consumer's own values. What's the most important thing to you? When do you feel you've made ethically correct choices with clothes shopping? Do you want to support finnish or handicrafts in general, or is organic production everything to you? Do you want to resolutely reduce the use of artificial fibres because of the climate impacts they cause, or do you value recycled materials the most? There is no one and absolutely correct answer to ethical choices.
Moona Kansanen, Founder of Entrepreneur, Piece Of Jeans Oy.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ETHICAL CLOTHING CHOICES:
1. Find out how and where the garment
is MADE Manufacturing conditions are one of the big meanings I refer to ethical fashion. Its transparency is important for ethical action. The seller is expected to act ethically and responsibly, which is no longer a so-called competitive advantage, but a prerequisite. Therefore, the manufacturer of the garment should state very clearly on its website how and where the products are manufactured, and whether the manufacture of the garment takes ethical considerations into account . Ethically manufactured garments are manufactured in healthy and safe working conditions for compensation for proper work without child or forced labour. Working hours should also be taken care of and overtime avoided.
Ethically manufactured clothing is often also linked to responsibility and quality. When the basics, such as working conditions, are in order, the atmosphere is comfortable, and the work is pleasant, the quality is also in line with it. In peace and proper, a well-made garment is of high quality and on average 30-40% more expensive than a fast-made fast fashion matching garment. At best, the effects of ethics are also reflected in prices. After all, it goes without saying to the consumer that, for example, a two-euro T-shirt can no longer leave anything in hand for the manufacturer of the garment. Such action is, above all, unethical.
Prices are often compared with the images of cheap fashion and not, for example, with the price of real and ethical work on a garment. However, the production of clothes still takes place quite a lot by hand, which takes time. If, during an eight-hour working day, one person could make four to dozen jeans, for example, would you think it would be a lot or a little, ethical or unethical? And how much would you pay an employee a day's wage? From here, you can calculate the time taken to manufacture and the employee's compensation per pair of jeans.
Ethicality is measured from the cultivation of materials to the end of manufacture.
2. FIND OUT WHICH MATERIALS THE GARMENT IS MADE
OF Which ingredients are ethical to wear in clothing? Raw material choices are always linked to the manufacturing site of the raw material and unethical production conditions, so it is not possible to make raw material choices ethically very simply. For example, materials based on the oil industry polyester and acrylic are among the most clear unethical materials. Their manufacturing method or manufacturer can often no longer influence the material even with its great working conditions by making it better and more ethical than it already is in terms of basic solutions.
Ethical fashion is also associated with animal rights. If animal rights and vegetarianism are important to you, you may consider leather products to be unethical, for example, since leather production is strongly associated with the meat industry. However, buying old leather clothing instead of a new one no longer brings the animal industry financially, and is more ecological as a material than, for example, oil-based artificial leather.