Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Ethics in the boardroom

This Guardian piece pinpoints the problem with the with ethical fashion labels, that they still favour the young, ethnic look of the people who run them and have little to offer anyone who needs to go to work in an office every day. Do they have anything to offer someone who needs to to work in an office every day? Apparently not. A reader writes that she'd like an ethically made suit with pencil skirt, and they fail to find one:

The ethical fashion industry is still, despite huge growth in recent years, such a small part of the gigantic fashion behemoth that more specialised requirements can sometimes be tricky – and in ethical clothing, smart workwear definitely counts as specialised. A good suit requires sharp tailoring. Companies working in a genuinely fair trade way will not simply outsource to skilled workers but work to support local weavers and tailors and develop their skills over a long period of time. This is one of the many reasons why setting up an ethical fashion company is a long-term investment and not a route to a quick buck. And it means that while it is perfectly possible to find sharply cut ethical clothes, it does sometimes require a little patience and a lot of hunting.
. . .
Finally we must tackle shoes. Ethical shoes are always tricky – is leather always the least ethical option when plastic is often the alternative? It's a question I'd like to come back to in the future but suffice to say that the jury is still out. At any rate, most ethical shoes tend towards the casual – trainers, flip-flops and the like


Kelly said...

I'm a bit surprised by this. I obviously know that ethical clothes aren't usually "basics" but that seems odd to me. It seems like the most logical beginning for an ethical clothing company would be the basics that people build wardrobes on. With ethical foundation pieces, one could wear ethical clothing on a daily basis and could also reduce their consumption of clothing to be more "green."

Anonymous said...

you could try Julia Smith label - she does some lovely tailored suits.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the whole ethical non-leather thing-is it for vegans (in which case I will personally ignore-surely it's good to be using a meat by-product anyway) or is it something to do with the chemicals used in the process?

Ethical Dresser said...

'm not sure it's true any more that ethical = ethnic. However, it is probably true that most of the ethical brands tend towards the young (and skinny!). They also have a lot of jersey (because there's a lot more decent jersey out there in organic or Fairtrade cotton than there is decent woven fabric in the same).

I just had a sneak preview of Anatomy's range for SS09 - gorgeous tailoring, including that desired pencil skirt, made in the UK from peace silk and hemp.

There's also some lovely shirting around in Fairtrade cotton that hopefully someone will make some smart City shirts (a la Pink) from at some point soon.