Friday, 5 March 2010

Ethical Fashion?

I'm taking part to an ethical fashion night next Thursday at the William Morris Gallery, and whilst I'm looking forward to this event, I've come to realise that I'm not quite sure what "ethical fashion" means... and I have been worrying that my products are not ethical enough. Peeking at the V&A website for information, ethical covers a wide range of  issues such as working conditions, fair trade, sustainable production, environment preservation and animal welfare.
Cotton culture accounts for 22.5% of the use of the world's insecticides and 10% of persticides, as well as consequent environmental damages. For instance the Aral Sea has shrunk to just 15% of its fromer volume, thanks to cotton production and dying (V&A and Ethical Fashion Forum). These figures are really shocking, and I'm glad that I use mostly upcycled vintage fabrics or organic cotton sateen printed to my own design. But with leather, it is more difficult to establish provenance or animal welfare. So I'm working on some new accessories made from all my scrap bits, but is this ethical enough?
It is also shocking that in the UK alone 1 million tonnes of clothing are thrown to landfill sites. On the plus side, my designs are well-made, one-of-a-kind pieces, created as modern heirlooms.

Little birds... made from a souvenir scarf from New Zealand!

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