Would you like to know how your clothes are made?
What began with fair trade food has now blossomed into a full blown trend, where more and more people are concerned about where all their consumer goods come from.
Sweatshops are far from being a thing of the past. For decades the biggest brands in clothing have made the most of their multi-national status by setting their factories up in developing countries, where unemployment is high and they can make the most of extremely low rates of pay.
In countries like Thailand, big brands can hire a hundred people for the same money that it would cost for them to hire ten Americans on minimum wage. Compound this with corrupt government officials, as well as an extremely relaxed approach to workers’ basic rights and places like China are veritable gold mines for massive companies (where some workers take home as little as £120 for a full month’s work).
Slowly but surely, however, the buying public are waking up to the aggressive nature that these brands operate with, resulting in a growing interest in independent fashion manufacturers that specialise in chic clothes that are ethically sourced and sometimes even organic.
There are now more Ethical brands of clothing than you can shake an irate fist, so whether you’re looking for kids designer clothes or a new athleisure outfit, there’ll be an ethical clothing brand that’ll suite your budget and taste.
Krochet Kids Ltd.
The three men behind Krochet Kids started out crocheting their own garments for the slopes, before designing and creating garments for school friends. After studying in college, the three friends took their crocheting skills to Uganda and began teaching a group of women their craft. Over ten years later and the non-profit company now hires over 150 people in both Uganda and Peru. Their mission is to ‘Empower people to rise above poverty’ by paying them to create simple garments made out of high-quality materials – plus, their website is full of details on the people who make the clothes.
Mayamiko Clothing was set up in 2013. A non-profit organisation conceived by philanthropist Paola Masperi, it works in tandem with the Mayamiko Trust, a charity dedicated to supporting small communities of creative talents throughout Africa. Creating colourful, durable clothes that have inherited the quintessential African style (bold prints and patterns), Mayamiko’s Ethical Promises are illustrative of the respect they have for their artisans. Offering living wages to all of their employees, they work in safe working conditions, are given a nutritious meal each day and are even given support to set up their own businesses.
Gather & See
UK based founders Alicia Taylor and Stephanie Hogg had become disillusioned with the disparity between the clothes they were buying and where they originated from. They wanted to buy clothes that were ethically made but also on-point stylistically. Since launching in 2014, they have delivered their classic styles of clothes to 19 different countries whilst also being named by the Telegraph as one of the Top 10 Ethical Brands. Designed by independent, creative individuals and sourced ethically, their range is wide and surprisingly affordable, considering the quality on offer.