What is conscious? What is ethical? What is sustainable fashion? Does it mean it’s organic? Does it mean that it’s been made by artisans? The fashion industry is a maze, and through our articles by our experts Anisa Johnny and Roxane Uzureau, we have attempted to tell you how to navigate the industry, give you advice on when a brand is greenwashing as well as showing you how you know your product is sustainable. But why not ask the founder of one of ethical fashion’s biggest initiatives, founder of Fashion Revolution, Carry Somers what you can do to get a conscious wardrobe? We spoke to Carry in London and among many questions, asked her, how conscious fashion is doing today and what you can do as a consumer to be more ethical and if starting a new brand yourself, how to do it right.
Having already studied textiles and running her own brand for 20 years, the 2013 collapse of the factory building in Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, became the catalyst for Carry Somers to start this revolution. 2 days after the collapse – while having a bath – she decided that it was time to something about the lack of transparency in the fashion industry. She founded Fashion Revolution.
Speaking to her for our podcast, she told us that things are slowly getting better in the industry. Big brands, also luxury brands, are ‘waking up’ with CSR being more predominant, but also with the wish to score well on the Fashion Transparency Index. However, six years on, the industry still needs to have better policies, processes and procedures on how e.g. child labour is carried out, the use of toxic chemicals and lack of workwear.
Carry Somers also pointed out that the price point is still the very much the overriding factor, so for garments to be made properly, consumers need to pay more. However, it’s estimated to be only 50 cents per garment, for the factory owners to be able to secure the workers and for the factory owners. Food for thought – a definite need to do shout outs to the brands, but also for us consumers to look at own habits.
So now, what can you do if you want to be more conscious? When asked, Carry Somers listed the following:
- Evaluate your clothes in your wardrobe, what you have, what you are wearing and what you can potentially bring to a clothes swap.
- Look at how you can combine things differently, look at season’s trend and see how you can wear your existing clothes differently and all year round.
- Learn to mend and repair your garments (see FR youtube channel) and try to transform them through upcycling
- Get something unique and bespoke that will fit you perfectly, that you will love and that will last for a long time. It’s twice the price, but worth it, if you only have few items.
How do you start a conscious fashion label?
- Embed transparency from the outset
- Reveal the names and faces of your workers, through map coordinates if you don’t want to reveal them to your competitors.
- Participate in FR, bringing visibility to the workers and giving the workers recognition. There are ‘Get involved packs’ for brands and retailers on the FR website.
Make sure to all the amazing advice and update on how Carry Somer’s see the fashion industry today in our podcast now!